Skip to main content

tv   School Shootings and Safety Hearing  CSPAN  March 14, 2018 2:25pm-3:25pm EDT

2:25 pm
we need and we're the ones paying the price. but i promise you this, if they fail to make gun control laws, then in a couple of years when they are voted out, we will. earlier today, the senate judiciary committee held a hearing on gun violence and school safety. the hearing comes on the one-month anniversary of when 14 high school student, and three teachers were killed at a high school in parkland, florida. >> we welcome everybody to a very important oversight hearing. and we are here this morning to
2:26 pm
discuss another national tragedy and to reflect on the loss of 17 innocent lives. the february 14th, 2018 attack on marjory stoneman douglas high school at parkland, florida, was an evil act committed by a troubled young man. he will account for what he has done in the court of law, but today, we will also call the government to account for its role or absence of el role in the tragedy. federal state and local officials each received tips about the alarming behavior of the parkland shooter. the failure to act al allowed a parkland shooter to maintain and possess firearms.
2:27 pm
in the wake of the parkland attack, this committee has the obligation to find out what happened. we must hold our government to account for its failures and to make sure that plans are in place to avoid future tragedies. but we must rally around consensus, evidence-based solutions that will protect the nation's most valuable resource, its young from violent attacks. i hope that political opportunists will not interject extreme agenda to into this deb. it may be good for the political effect effects of both parties and the fund-raising for midterms, but it is not good for america, and the safety of the citizens. i saw this happen after new town. after new town, i worked with my colleague sandra cruz to introduce legislation that would have improved are reporting to
2:28 pm
the the nics background system to provide the prosecutions of a dangerous people who lied to try to buy firearms and authorized a government study to solve the problem of mass shootings. that law could have helped prevent tragedies like southerland springs and parkland is shooting. the majority of the supporters of the the bill on a bipartisan basis, and tragically, it was held hostage bipartisan politics, and it did not pass, and senator cruz and i reintroduced the preserving committee of the act last week and i have worked with senator hatcher here of this committee, and on the right, i drafted the
2:29 pm
stop school violence act which is going to provide needed funding for increased school funding. that bill has now cosponsorship bipartisan and 36 senator, and i am co-sponsor of the fix nic bill and also to stop bump stocks if necessary to get a bill done. today, i want to introduce the marjory stoneham douglas school act to provide funding for the national assessment threat efforts to conduct cutting edge research into the prevention offal school violence, and we will also enable the threat assessment center to train r more of the nation's schools, and how to assessment threat and sbe
2:30 pm
early intervention, and the secret service has trained 93,000 government officials and school edadministrators and teachers and law enforcement officials to implementing the effective threat assessment program, and this threat is fwo going to allow unstable individual likes the parkland shooter from carrying out intended attacks. the bill will en a able the national threat assessment center to share its own proven techniques, and research with more of the nation'sle school systems. it is a fitting memory to the survivors of the parkland attack, and it will help to prevent future violence and i invite all of the colleagues to support the bill as a cosponsor, and i think that it is clear that the number of bills that the senate can come together to reduce support for school violence and mass shootings. and some of the schools have
2:31 pm
said that we are not taking action and holding hearings and marking up the bills on this issue. this is the second hearing on mass issues and related legislation that we have had in four months. that is more hearings than the last chairman held on this issue at this point in that tenure despite the d.c. sniper attacks, the virginia tech shootings and other attacks during that time period. as for mark-ups, i have had discussions with senate leadership and members of the committee on both sides of the aisle on how we can enact legislation to prevent violent attacks. often as the democratic colleagues know, that legislation on the controversial issues such as gun issues are of concern to the entire senate. it is common for bills on the issues to bypass committee and to be brought straight to the senate floor. that is the strategy that the democrats used when they brought
2:32 pm
up senator manchin, and senator toom toomey's bill on the universal background checks when they were in the majority. that bill went to the floor without hearing or mark-up, and it was debated to the full senate. it is similar approach now as the senate works together to consider what should be done can about school safety, and preventing the mass violence. in the meantime, we are holding this hearing which i believe is a great opportunity for the entire senate and indeed the country, and i hope that today's hearing can shed light on what government can do better to prevent future attack, and since the parkland shooting, i have instructed my staff to investigate what went wrong, and so we have officials from the fbi immediately brief the committee's majority and minority staff, and we also heard from the representatives from facebook, instagram, and
2:33 pm
google and youtube and these companieses are outlining the efforts to work closely with the law enforcement, and to quickly respond to inquiries in the parkland case, and similar cases. the briefings to the committee and google and facebook officials noted that the fbi did reach out the them, and to help identify and locate the shooter. if the fbi would have done so, both companies would have been able to provide detailed information, including ip addresses and that would have provided the fbi with physical addresses, and it highlighted the efforts to be technology and user feedback to identify contents to be used for law enforcement for future investigation. and i want to thank the companies for the willings on the meet and discuss these very important issues and for sending
2:34 pm
their representative to the hearing today. i want to thank ryan petty, the father of elena petty who is a victim of the parkland shooting and catherine posada who is a language a arts teacherer at a marge e ri stojory stoneham dou school for being with us to today. we mourn the loss of that community and that school and we look forward to your perspective and testimony on this issue. the committee also will invited broward county official scott israel to testify, and he has declined. i have seen that sheriff all over the television discussing the shooting, and so it is disappoint ing th disappointing that he has refused to speak to the country through this committee. michael carroll, the secretary of the florida department of schools and family was invited. his department investigated and
2:35 pm
interviewed the shooter before the shooting, and he, too, dropped the ball. he, too, has are refused to the attend the hearing. and by thumbing their noses sheriff israel, a tnd the secretary have let the american people down and the citizens of florida that they serve. as we will discuss during the hearing, broward county sheriff, and the department of child and families are integral to the parkland fact pattern, and that fact-pattern is of course, as you all know, very, very disturbing, and in september of 2017, the shooter posted a comment on a youtube video that read, quote, i'm going to be a professional school shooter, end of quote, and the creator of the video flagged the comment, and reported it to the fbi, and the september 2017 tip was routed to the fbi's west virginia call
2:36 pm
center according to what the fbi has told the committee, the responsible fbi agents did not believe they had enough agents to identify the shooter who made the youtube post. the fbi then closed the case. then on january the 5th, this year, the fbi received a call from the shooter who knew the woman well, and she described a troubling young man who posted pictures of mutilated animals and guns on social media, and the shooter described the shooter as homicidal with homicidal ideals. and then gave the names to four people in his social immediamed accounts saying quote, i want to the kill people, end quote. and the caller also expressed her concern that he may try to
2:37 pm
get into a school and shoot the place up, end quote. the call-taker concluded that there was no imminent threat because the tip did not protect a target date, and if the fbi had followed oun that tip, it would most likely have sent agents to interview the shooter. either way, it appears that the fbi did not communicate about local law enforcement, and to have a responsible for this as well, and on the 18th, the florida department of family opened up an investigation about the shooter, and at that point, the department of families concluded that he is a vulnerable adult due to mental illness, end of quote. that the department's investigation d also mentioned that a mobile crisis, mobile crisis unit was deployed at henderson health, and determined
2:38 pm
that the shooter was not a risk to himself or others. on november 12th 2, 2016, that department closed the investigation, and it appeared that local officials, it appears, that local officials in florida include ing ting the br county sheriff may not have taken the necessary steps to involve involuntary commit. if he had been involuntarily committed into the next system, he would have been prohibited from purchasing firearms. in total, they must proclaim what went wrong, and how it went wrong, and what steps it takes to ensure that these failures never happen again, and so we must determine the best evidence-based a approach to the protecting school safety. senator feinstein. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. this hearing comes on the o
2:39 pm
one-month anniversary of the heinous attack on the marjory stoneham douglas high school by a 19-year-old who legally purchased the weapon used. 14 high school student, and three faculty members were shot to death that day, and today, they memory is honored by students, and parents across the country marching and reflecting during a 17-minute moment of silence. i want to begin by giving my sincerest and deepest condolences to each of the families and owlf their loved ones, and to my two colleagues who will be speaking shortly, senators nelson and rubio. i just had the opportunity along with the chairman to meet mr. r ryan petty, and his son. all i could do is to give them a big hug, and this is a terrible are thing about this, and all you can do is to give the victim
2:40 pm
a big hug. just this past saturday, in my home state of california, the nation woke up to heartbreaking news of a gunman who took hostages in a military veteran's home, and the gunman brutally took down three victims, and each of whom worked at the veteran's home. jennifer was pregnant with her first child. the lives were abruptly ended and the family's grief is devastating. these event, ladies and gentlemen, have become too commonplace as gun violence in this country gets worse and worse. and guns and assault weapons continue to flood our streets by the millions. when i first joined the senate in 1992, following a mass shooting at a law firm located at 101 california street in san francisco, we worked to pass an
2:41 pm
assault weapons ban. this ban was law for ten years. as the chart shows when the legislation was enacted in 1994, it worked. compared to the decade before the ban was enacted, the number of gun a massacres fell by 37%. and the number of people dying from gun massacres fell by 43%. now, here's the thing. in the decade that followed the expiration of the ban in 2014, things got measurably worse. gun massacres increased by 183%, and there was a 239% increase in deaths from those massacres. this is stunning. the fact is that since the ban expired, we have seen more and
2:42 pm
more children, families, communities, victimized by mass shootings from military-style assault weapons. i can go on and on with numbers. let's just go to sandy hook. i thought, who could take a gun, a powerful military weapon converted for civilian use and go into a school of 6-and 7-year-olds and kill 20 of them and 6 staff outright, but ladies and gentlemen, it happened. it is still happening. since sandy hook, there have been 239 school shootings nationwide. with 438 people shot, and 138 people killed. this averages out to five school shootings per month. this is outare ray jorageous ind
2:43 pm
states of america. apart from school shootings in sandy hook, approximately 7,000 children have been killed by gun violence. just yesterday, we all received a sobering remind er of this figure when 7,000 pairs of donated shoes were neatly laid across the capital lawn to the represent the children lost since sandy hook. i are regrregret it did not get press, but those shoes were, there and those deaths happened. this congress cannot continue to do nothing, because nothing means more lives are lost. including the youngest and the most vulnerable among us. we must act. we cannot continue to sit in this room and other rooms week after week and simply do noth g
2:44 pm
nothing. high school students who have lost their friends are literally begging us to take action to get these guns out of the streets and out of our schools. there are options. we can talk about getting better background checks. initiating purchases, excuse me, limiting purchases of magazine, and banning bump stocks, and raising the age of who can buy a semiautomatic rifle. provide a legal process for securing a restraining order when somebody has a mental illness. i would very much like to see an assault weapons ban. we have rewritten one, and weiti would like to be the first one to recognize the nra's power in these united states of america. ladies and gentlemen, the
2:45 pm
statistics are reaching the point of killings that do not justify millions of these weapons floating over our streets and being used in our schools of this country. i hope this committee will take some consequential action. thank you very much, chairman. thank you, senator feinstein. we now have the opportunity to hear from the two senators from the floor, and we are sorry that you to be here under these circumstances. we will start with senator nelson. mr. chairman, thank you for the courtesy that i have to go to the commerce committee, and so after my statement, if you will excuse me, senator thune and i need to kick that committee meeting off momentarily.
2:46 pm
mr. chairman, madam ranking member, my fellow senators, we have had our fill of this in florida for the last two years. 49 souls lost at the pulse nightclub and five at the fort lauderdale airport with a rapid-fire handgun and now an ar-15 at the school. senator rubio and i have joined together as we have worked well together on so many other pieces of legislation that will affect this, things that are steps in the right direction and like what the florida legislature d did, and the significant three-day waiting period, but that is it.
2:47 pm
she is 21 and arming some school personnel and yes, getting at the bump stocks, and sen r or the rubio and i trying to offer federal incentives in legislation that we filed to maikel schools safer, trying to catch the red flags and get them to the attention of the authorities and other pieces of legislation. and when you have been through what we have been through, you realize that the difference of a assault rifle and a handgun is a difference. all you have to do is to talk to the surgeons in orlando, and broward county, and they will tell you that a handgun bullet of which they handle many sh, t
2:48 pm
can save their life are unless it hits an organ like the heart, but they can't save the life if somebody is hit by an assault weapon bullet, u because it is three times the velocity, and the energy when it hits the target and if it tumbles and hits an organ like the liver, it is going to vul verize the liver and it is going to come out the other victim as big as an orange, and that is the difference between these weapons. and when you add an assault weapon with the banana clip that has now got 30 rounds, and by the way, i'm a hunter, and i grew up on a ranch. i have hunted all of my life, and i still hunt with my son, and then there are some game that you hunt that you are
2:49 pm
limited as to the number of bullets or shells. you put a banana clip in the assault rifle and you are out to do massacres just what we have seen. and another in the common sense that i am a cosponsor of senator feinstein's legislation. and what about all of the assault rifles out there. senator feinstein is absolutely common sense. you can't go and eliminate all of them, but her legislation is on the going forward basis, and it is common sense to get the assault rifles and the banana clips off of the streets. and the other piece of legislation that is so common sense is the background checks.
2:50 pm
there are so many ways to get around it. and we have a constitutional amendment in the state constitution from the late '90s in florida that says that background checks are mandated and people get around it but people get around it by doing the gun shows and the non-federally licensed dealers one to another. they get around it. and so if you require a universal background check, then you're going to catch things and then you will add what senator rubio and i have been trying, the red flags. you can add the restraining orders would be picked up. you can even get at the terrorist watch list or somebody who had been on the terrorist watch list, but was not when they purchased the weapon like omar mateen that had he had that check he would not have killed
2:51 pm
those 49 people in orlando because he would have been caught in that background check. universal background checks. common sense. i know the politics here, mr. chairman. and it's tough and of course, what i'd like to see as i have supported in a bipartisan way with my colleague, any little step that we can get, but at the end of the day you're not going to stop these massacres until you get at these two common sense things that i've suggested and oh, would i like it not only to be in that school. no more massacres, but that would be the last massacre forever. thank you, mr. chairman, and if i may be excused to go on to the commerce committee? >> of course, you're excused. >> thank you.
2:52 pm
>> senator rubio? thank you, senator nelson. >> thank you, mr. chairman and to the ranking member for holding this hearing. unlike any of the issues that we've confronted in the seven years here, this one has had a dual impact both as a policymaker for school-aged children including two girls in high school and each time the pictures come up of the students and their families i know i'm familiar with the stories because they're the stories that could very well have been the classmates of the children that my kids go to school with and like parents all across the countries, one worries every day now about what could happen when you drop them off in the morning and no american family should carry that burden and our heartbreaks for the families that are carrying it now. and the hopes that it happens to no one ever again. today across the country and in a few minutes, students from across america will be
2:53 pm
exercising their first amendment right to speak out about changes about with we regulate our second-amendment right. it's an interesting lesson in civics and in our constitutional process which of all of the committees in the senate this one understands better than any, and unlike any other committee in the senate this committee understands the difficulties and the political back and forth that occurs, and the strong, well-intentioned differences of opinion that exist about how to regulate the second amendment, but the one thing i do have common ground on is i know of no one, i know of no one in this country who wants to see another community or another state endure such senseless violence. in the aftermath of the shooting i spent time talking to school administrators and law enforcement and families, student, state officials, everyone we could talk to to learn, to ultimately identify what could have stopped this? and i want to unequivocally state to you that the tragedy
2:54 pm
was the result of two things. the first, is of a multi-systemic failure by government agencies at the federal, state and local level, and second, because of vulnerabilities in our existing laws that need to be addressed. one of the family members i've spoken to regularly and whom i admire for his strength and his dedication is ryan petty, alaina's father who will be speaking to you. he lost his daughter and patrick lost a beloved sister and a friend to many. you'll have the opportunity to hear from ryan and miss katherine posada, a teacher at the school and i encourage you to listen to what ryan has consistently said to work together to take meaningful action to which we can agree. the shooter was the worst-kept secret in parkland. that's perhaps the most stunning of all. the school knew he was dangerous. the fire was told he was dangerous and someone close to
2:55 pm
the shooter feared he would carry out a shooting to both the sheriff's office and the fbi and he utilized social media plat forms and on one occasion he said he would become a professional shooter, not only did he buy multiple guns. he stepped foot on the school, and shattered a community. he slipped through every crack and we have to find ways to address those vulnerabilities. there are insufficient programs in place to report people like the shooter and to coordinate law enforcement, school officials and mental health. that's why i believe we must pass the stop violence act to strengthen school security and provide school training to identify these threats and create threat assessment and crisis intervention teams so that all of these entities can come together and compare notes. i believe that it happened here they would have acted. also, we need to provide law enforcement and family members who have someone they know who is dangerous and threatening. they have today very limited
2:56 pm
options and what they can do about it which is why i hope they can pass a law that incentivizes states to what florida has done and that is to create gun violence protection orders that provides due process and a mechanism by which dangerous individuals can not be prevented from buying any gun, but also lose the ones they have now before they take action. third, and something that hasn't received enough attention is i believe that we need to spend some time examining the policies that could potentially discourage schools from reporting dangerous students. now i want you to understand, i do not want students being arrested especially for things that would not be a crime to an adult and for things that are typical of the school experience and whatever, but i do think this guy should have been arrested because he specifically threatened students and their lives. he was a dangerous individual and broward county's policies that serve as a framework for the federal guidance to date, we cannot determine how exactly the
2:57 pm
reports related to the shooter were handled. we have a diversion program called promise, but i've been told by the superintendent he was never in that program and the only other route that remains is that the law enforcement route, and yet, it's not clear that law enforcement was ever referred to law enforcement to act, and if he had been arrested or committed he would have failed a background check and he would never have owned that gun or any other gun and we would not be meeting here today to talk about this terrible tragedy. there are other things i believe i should do and i support senator corn in's bill to fix nics act and it's an important improve am that we must make. i also support senator toomey and senator coons' denial notification acts. these are all important things. i thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i hope you will consider us willing partners both senator nelson and i to move forward on this, and i want to close this note. out of track dee and heartbreak the families of the 17 victims
2:58 pm
in parkland came together and they decided they would set aside for a moment and set aside their differences on all sorts of other issues so they can fight hard on the things they agreed on. i believe that should serve as an example to this body. there are things we agree on, we should pass those things and there are things we should disagree on, i hope we debate and perhaps we can find common ground on those, as well, but we should first act on the things we can agree on and take action so this never happens again to anyone anywhere. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator rubio. i appreciate it very much and we call the first panel and before i introduce the first panel, i'll wait until your name gets up there so you know where you're going to sit, but i'd like to have you stand and i would like to swear you before you take a seat.
2:59 pm
do each of you affirm that the testimony you're about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing, but the truth so help you god? thanks for each of you assigning to that. sit down and i'm going to introduce you now before you speak. mr. brandon is the acting director of the bureau of tobacco, firearms and explosives. he began at this agency within the department of justice as a career special agent in detroit in 1989. mr. brandon has also been in the united states marines since 1978 to 1982. david bowitch is the acting deputy director of the federal
3:00 pm
bureau of investigation and began his career as a police officer in new mexico in 1991, and then joined the fbi in 1995 as a special agent that served as a s.w.a.t. team member. dr. lina alfari is the chief of the secret services national threat assessment center. dr. alathari received her ph.d in cognitive psychology in 2002 and previously served as a supervisory research psychologist at this agency where she conducted research on threat assessment and cases of targeted violence. she is well known for providing guidance based on her research to the u.s. government agencies and international security agencies and schools and businesses. i thank each of you for being here and particularly for the time you had to prepare for our
3:01 pm
testimony and possible questions and director brandon, we'll begin with you and mr. bowditch and dr. alathari. >> chairman grassley and ranking member feinstein and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss atf's response to the shooting at the marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida, on february 14, 2018. on behalf of the men and women of atf i extend deep felt condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of those who were killed or injured that day and to the survivors and their families. we have the utmost respect for the teachers, staff and students at the school and the bravery that they have demonstrated. as you're aware of the parkland shooting investigation is ongoing and the alleged shooter has been charged in florida state court. because the investigation is ongoing and the case is pending in court, i am limited in the information i can provide today about the case, but i can generally outline atf's role in supporting our local, state and federal partners in response to
3:02 pm
the shooting. the first atf agents responded to the high school within minutes of the shooting report. these agents assisted in clearing the building of students while the search for the gunman was ongoing and in securing the scene. atf quickly traced the firearm recovered at school and it was an ar-15-type rifle and the determining the aled shooter had obtained the rifle a year ago from the federal firearms licensee. they immediately responded to ffl and secured additional evidence. in the process they determined that the ffl conducted the required background check prior to completing the sale and the alleged shooter passed that check. other atf agents continued contacting other ffls throughout the area to determine if the alleged shooter had acquired firearms to ensure that they were located and secured. as the investigation continued and the atf agents assisted in several several warrants.
3:03 pm
they resulted on the recovery of firearms. the information of the traces resulted in atf agents conducting additional interviews of the ffls who sold those firearms and securing additional evidence about those transactions. through this process, atf helped identify all firearms known to have been purchased by the alleged shooter and ensured that those firearm his been recovered and secured. atl personnel engaged in the parkland investigation and included more than 40 special agents and dozens of special agents and support staff from the tracing center and from the crime gun intelligence centers. discussing following the parkland shooting has focused on the unfortunate reality that law enforcement agencies had received several tips about the alleged shooter's mental health issues and possession of firearms. these disclosures are gut-wrenching for all law enforcement. we are universally committed to responding appropriately whenever there is information
3:04 pm
received about the potential for violence. as soon as i learned of the possibility that tip information from the public had not been effectively acted on, i ordered a review of atf's policies and procedures for do you meancumen from the public. atf's process of reviewing tips from the public had been in place for several years. that process includes direct tip calls to agents in field divisions throughout the country and tips information received through the toll-free national tip lines and through e-mails and online tips and via text messages through a mobile device application that we deployed in 2016. the duty agent in each field division is designated to document, assess and investigate tips directly received from the field while joint support operation center which is staffed 24/7 is responsible for handling tips received through e-mail and text messages and for all tips received after business hours and on weekends. while this process has served
3:05 pm
atf well, following our internal review, we determined that our procedures could be improved by centralizing responsibilities for these functions in each field division's crime gun intelligence centers and by leveraging new technologies, using existing resources, we quickly developed and have now deployed actually last week an effective system known as i-tip to document, disemanate and track tips from the public and updated our protocols and policies to ensure effective followthrough on these tips. mr. chairman and members of the committee, thank you again for the opportunity to discuss this matter with you today, but before i close, however, i would like one last thought. why large-scale shootings understandably draw intense public scrutiny, violent crime involving firearms happens every single day as you well know in our cities and towns, large and small across our great nation. atf's commitment to combatting this daily carnage by using our
3:06 pm
expertise to be the best possible partner to our local, state and federal law enforcement partners is unwavering. i can assure you that the men and women of atf are ready and are working every day to find ways to stop the daily toll of firearms-related deaths. i am happy to answer any questions that the committee may have. thank you. chairman grassley and ranking member feinstein, members of the committee, it is my privilege to appear before you today as the acting deputy director of the fbi. this is my first formal appearance before any congressional committee and i wish that it were under different circumstances. on february 14, 2018, at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida, a former student shot 17 innocent people and caused significant physical and emotional harm to countless others. this tragedy abruptly ended the
3:07 pm
lives of kids who had their lives and their dreams ahead of them and stole their futures. to the families, the victims, friends and friends of those who were killed and injured on that day, director wray, myself and the rest of the fbi extend our deepest sympathies you. though nothing can be said to undue the heart and loss that you teal, please know that the fbi continues to work closely with our state and local law enforcement partners in florida to ensure that justice will be served. unfortunately, as was disclosed by the fbi shortly after this terrible incident, the fbi did receive two separate tips that we now know were related to the shooter, nikolas cruz. as the fbi director has made clear the fbi could have and should have done more to investigate the information it was provided prior to the shooting. while we will never know if we
3:08 pm
could have prevented this tragedy we clearly should have done more. our investigation continues into exactly what the fbi knew prior to february 14, 2018, and what we did and what we did not do in response. to summarize the rules of the investigation to date, let me walk the committee through the relevant time line as we understand it. it is important to understand that the fbi receives tips from the public through our public access line or pal and it's the call center for all calls and electronic tips made to the fbi's 56 field offices. the access line is responsible for receiving and vetting information from the public, then disseminating it to the field as actionable tips and leads for special agents and intelligence analysts to follow up on. to understand the volumes of leads we receive during 2017
3:09 pm
alone the p.a.l. handled approximately 65,000 calls and 735,000 e-mail tips. on september 25, 2017, we received an e-mail tip from a person in mississippi who indicated that a person unknown to him posted on his youtube channel the following text, quote, i am going to be a professional school shooter, end quote. the posting was from the user name nikolas cruz. in response to this tip, the p.a.l. opened what the fbi calls a guardian lead, and assigned it to our jackson, mississippi, field office. upon receipt of the guardian lead, the fbi agent along with a local task force officer interviewed the tipster on october 2, 2017. at the time of this interview the tipster provided a copy of a screen shot of the subject's post. the agent conducted searches of both fbi databases and open sources believing the true poster of the -- the true identity of the poster could not be determined the guardian lead
3:10 pm
was closed on october 11, 2017, with no additional investigative activity. a few months later on january 5, 2018, the fbi received another tip by way of a call to the p.a.l. from someone who identified herself as a close friend of the cruz family. the caller provided information about information about cruz to include the following, statements about cruz harming himself and others, references to isis, that he had threatened his mother with a rifle, that he had purchased several weapon, that he wanted to kill people and she believed he was going to explode, that he was mutilating small animal, that the caller was concerned that cruz might shoot up a school. the caller also noted they cruz was 18 years old, but had the mental capacity of a 12 to 14-year-old. she indicated she was very concerned and had contacted the parkland police department and just wanted someone to look into this matter. upon finishing this call the fbi
3:11 pm
operator conducted a search of our databases and found the closed guardian lead out of mississippi. the operator then consulted with her supervisor and the matter was closed. the information was never forwarded to a field office or to any of our state and local partners for review or action. as the fbi learned of the parkland shooting accident our personnel researched the holdings and discovered the two tips. this is not the kind of news i want to deliver to this committee, to the families or to the public, but we are committed to transparency in all that we do on behalf of the american people. while i cannot fathom the anger and the sense of loss of the victims' families and friends, i again, want to express on behalf of the men and women of the fbi our deepest sympathies and regret. when we make mistakes we will not hide from them and we are committed with your help to doing whatever is necessary to
3:12 pm
correct our mistakes and regardless -- and so that tragedies like this cannot be repeated. thank you, and i look forward to your questions. bowditch? dr. alathera. >> good morning, ranking member grassley, ranking member feinstein and distinguished members of the committee. i want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss school safety and the important work the secret service anti-program has done in the prevention of targeted violence. on behalf of the men and the women of the secret service and the national threat assessment center, i want to express my sincere sympathy to the victims and families impacted in both the tragic shooting at marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida and the mental health clinicians killed at the pathway home veterans facility in california. over the last 20 years our center has been conducting research, training and consultation on the prevention
3:13 pm
of targeted violence in full filling its congressionally authorized mission, it has published reports on attacks targeting government officials and facilities, public spaces and k through 12 schools and institutions of higher education. what we have learned from these efforts has enhanced our agency's own investigations to adapt to the changing dynamics of those who come to our attention and the risks they pose to the larger community. to address these emerging trends our agency adapted its own operational protocols to ensure that we partner with state and local law enforcement and others to share information that we uncovered during our investigations so that we might prevent a threat to the places where we work, live and learn. due to expertise and studying school-based violence and the support of the department of homeland security's efforts in this area, antac has recently initiated projects specifically
3:14 pm
related to school safety. the first will be the creation and distribution of an operational guide that will provide school personnel, law enforcement and others with guidance on the creation of comprehensive, targeted prevention plans in schools. we will also be conducting a new research study examining incidents of targeted school violence. the overall goal of these projects is to provide guidance to thousands of school personnel, law enforcement and others with evidence-based best practices and prevention and early warning detection. we know that previous research has significant impact in this area. in 2002, in partnership with the department of education, antac received the state school initiative report that examined 37 incidents of k through 12 school shootings. the findings of this report and the accompanying guide set the standard for the creation of threat-assessment programs in schools. as evidence of the immediate impact this study had following
3:15 pm
the release of the findings of the report a school in new bedford, massachusetts, was able to use this information to react quickly when a student came with information about a potential attack. the administrators, teachers, resource officers and local police department were able to quickly identify the students involved in this alleged plot and make arrests. following the incident the chief of police attributed this success of this coordinated effort to u.s. secret service recommendations based on the findings of the safe school initiative. in subsequent years, antac was in collaboration with other federal agencies. all of the reports are available on the secret service.gov website. based on our research we know that threat-assessment programs are most effective at reducing the risk of violence when immremed in a comprehensive manner.
3:16 pm
>> at outlined if my testimony, the major functions of a school threat assessment program is to identify observing behavior and gathering whether they pose a rick of violence and identify intervention strategies to manage that risk. sense the release of the ssi, antac has been providing in-depth training to school personnel, law enforcement officers, mental health professionals and others on the prevention of targeted school attacks. to date, an tac has conducted 444 such training to attendees and we continue to do so. we also provide consultations for schools, law enforcement and other agencies on the development of threat assessment programs tailored to their own missions and resources. the goal of antac's activities is to promote best practices, information sharing and the standardization of threat assessment. chairman grassley, ranking member feinstein and
3:17 pm
distinguished of the committee, the secret service thanks you for the opportunity to discuss the antac program and ways to prevent future acts of vileness at our will skoos. i i would be happy to answer any questions you may have. >> before we start the five-minute round of questioning i would like to make sure that some documents are inserted into the hearing record. i have six, first, a letter from sandy hook promise, an organization formed in response to the sandy hook massacre and senator hatch's bill on school safety as an effective way of preventing school shootings. number two, a time line for the shooter, mr. cruz's firearm purchases. >> number three, a copy of the florida department of children and family investigation into cruz, for a transcript of the fbi's january 5, 2018, call
3:18 pm
about cruz and the broward county sheriff call log regarding cruz and the broward county sheriff time line on the events on the day of the shooting and if there is no objections, i'd like to submit these documents for the record and then one other statement about the fbi and letters that we wrote to them on march 2, 2018, following up on the briefings that the fbi gave my staff on february 23, 2018. i should say not just my staff, but the staff of the entire committee both republican and democrat, although i requested a response by march 12th, and i've not received one, and i expect better from the fbi especially when it comes to questions related to the parkland shooting, and this hearing and hopefully the imminence and necessity of passing some
3:19 pm
legislation quickly i will start with my question and then senator feinstein, and then i have a list of the republicans and i'll ask senator feinstein to give me a list of the order of the democrats. i'm going to start with director bowditch. january 5, 2018, tip was so specific it provided clear detail about cruz's potential to be a school shooter, however according to the briefing that you provided the committee -- i'm sorry. >> thank you. >> however, according to the briefing that you provided the committee, the fbi believed cruz was a local matter because the january 5, 2018 tipster said that she had called parkland police department about cruz. did the fbi reach out to law
3:20 pm
enforcement to give them a warning about cruz, and if not, why not? press the red button. >> no, sir, i did not. i don't know why the call taker did not do so. she conferred with her supervisor, and she made some sort of a presentation about what was contained in that call, and there was discussion about the fact that the local department had been notified. you're absolutely correct, senator, the call was very explicit. however, they made the decision to close it, no lead value and no call was made to the local jurisdiction. >> is that fbi employee considered to be a diligent person? >> senator, i -- i don't know the employee personally. >> that's good enough. if you can't answer it don't answer it, but i think we ought to be finding out.
3:21 pm
director brandon, i want to ask you about bump stocks. in its advanced notice of proposed rule making the atf proposed a rule-making process, quote, that would interpret statutory definition of machine gun -- >> we are going to leave this hearing at this point. you can see it in its entirety at cspan.org. going live now to the u.n. in new york where the security council is meeting this afternoon in special session, that recent poisoning episode of a former russian spy and his daughter in the uk. earlier today british prime minister theresa may told the house of commons that britain is expelling 23 russian diplomats in the wake of that incident. the prime minister said in a statement that russia's actions represent an unlawful use of force.
3:22 pm
3:23 pm
3:24 pm

76 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on