Almost everything we think we know about homeland security is outdated.
Latest in Orlando
The candidates’ response to the Orlando attack says something deep, not just about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but about the electorate itself.
The country’s reaction to the heartbreaking massacre in Orlando has been dispiritingly predictable. When guns—and seemingly no other weapon—are involved in a national tragedy, initial talk of unity rapidly devolves into talking points on both sides. Often the political talk is for naught: Monday, the Senate voted down four measures aimed at curtailing the sale of guns to suspected terrorists.
Almost four years ago, I wrote the following in a post on lone shooters:
Following a terrorist attack, questions unavoidably arise as to whether the FBI did enough to prevent it. It is not only the press speculating, the FBI is asking itself the same questions—the Inspection Division is currently interviewing dozens of agents and analysts and combing through emails and case files in search of an answer.
Today, the Senate will vote on proposed gun control legislation. While it is unclear if Senate Democrats will be able to garner enough support from Republican colleagues to pass any of the Democrat-backed proposals—which are being presented as amendments to the Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill, which was already on the floor—here, we offer a round-up of the various proposals.
I. Preventing the Sale of Guns to Suspected Terrorists
The Orlando Shootings in Perspective: How the Recent Attacks Fit within the History of Anti-LGBT Violence
Editor's Note: Discussion of the Orlando killings has focused on the role of the Islamic State and the self-radicalization of so-called "Lone Wolves." The killings, however, also are an act of unspeakable violence against America's LGBT community. Events as horrific as the Orlando attack are thankfully rare, but violence against the LGBT community is not. D.C.-based analyst Marc Meyer offers an assessment of such violence and how it has changed over in recent years.
It is still the early days following the events of Orlando. It is possible that, as facts emerge, it will be clear that there was nothing more the FBI could have done to prevent the attack. However, there are lessons to be learned on from the 2009 attack in Fort Hood regarding which questions we should be asking. I have a forthcoming chapter in a book on insider threats (edited by Scott Sagan and Matt Bunn, Cornell Univ. Press) which examines where the FBI went wrong in preventing the Fort Hood attack and why.
In the wake of the Orlando shootings, many have suggested that the presence of Omar Mateen on the terrorist watch list is grounds for ... well, lots of things, ranging from denying him a firearms purchase to placing him under greater surveillance, etc. It is useful, in my view, to review some of the facts regarding the operation and management of those watch lists -- if only to put these suggested supplemental activities into context.