21:21 GMT12 August 2020
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    Orlando Gay Nightclub Massacre (77)
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    US domestic security agencies sorely lack the numbers and resources to adequately monitor more than 40,000 people already on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) watch list, let alone those who are not, as made evident by the Orlando massacre, experts told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – On Sunday, 29 year-old Mateen opened fire in a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando killing 49 people in the worst mass shooting incident on US soil. Mateen was previously investigated by the FBI in 2013 due to inflammatory comments he made to coworkers.

    “The most fundamental lesson of the Orlando terrorist attack is that US security agencies are being overwhelmed,” former CBS news producer and author Barry Lando, an expert on Middle East terrorism, told Sputnik on Monday.

    In France, former French intelligence counterterrorism chief Louis Capriolo recently pointed out that it took 18-20 police or security service officers to keep an eye on any one subject 24 hours a day, Lando noted. Other experts have even argued that number is conservative, he added.

    “Do the math: The FBI’s terrorist watch list had 800,000 entries by September 2014 of whom 40,000 were US citizens or lawful permanent residents. To keep full-time surveillance on those 40,000 would require 800,000 agents,” he said.

    Omar Mateen, the 29-year-old, New York-born son of Afghan immigrants to the United States, had been interviewed by the FBI but was then taken off the agency’s “terrorist watch list,” Lando pointed out.

    “A watch list doesn’t mean you can actually ‘watch’ someone 24 hours a day. That is more than twenty times the total of all agents and support professionals – 35,000 — employed by the FBI,” he explained.

    The same pattern had been repeated true in Europe, where most of the recent jihadist terror attacks were also carried out by people who, at one time or another, had been on such suspected terrorist lists, Lando recalled.

    “How can the FBI, or anyone else predict when someone who really is no threat, suddenly, for some reason, flips, decides to take radical action?” he asked.

    The grossly inadequate resources available to Western security sources in monitoring potential terror suspects meant that more atrocities like the Orlando night club massacre on Sunday were inevitable, Lando warned.

    “Orlando is just the latest tragedy. There is no way it will be the last,” Lando concluded.

    California State University Emeritus Professor of Political Science Beau Grosscup, author of several books including “The Newest Explosions of Terrorism” added that the search for simple, straightforward solutions to the terrorism crisis posed a growing threat to civil liberties.

    “There are many lessons here but the central one is there is no ‘security fix’ to terrorism… especially in the Age of the Internet,” Grosscup warned.

    If one assumes there is a security fix to terrorism, he added, then the logical end game is to construct a “lock down” society.

    The Orlando massacre has become the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States, surpassing the death toll from the 2007 incident at Virginia Tech, which claimed 32 lives.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    Orlando Gay Nightclub Massacre (77)


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    terrorism, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States, Orlando
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