​Could the FBI Have Done a Better Job Identifying Nikolaus Cruz?

Ben Bennight is a 36-year-old Mississippi bail bondsman and YouTube vlogger. Last fall, according to an article in BuzzFeed by Brianna Sacks, he noticed a disturbing comment under one of his frequent video blogs on YouTube. It said:

I'm going to be a professional school shooter.

The user's name was Nikolas Cruz.

Bennight took a screenshot of the comment and emailed the image to the FBI, Next day they came to talk to him. In other words, they were in Bennight's office the next morning, on September 25, 2017. That's pretty impressive. What followed is less so.

The FBI apparently couldn't find out anything about the user who left the comment and closed down the file.

This Wednesday, some 30 minutes after Nikolas Cruz was taken into custody, which would have been around 4:30 in the afternoon, Bennight got a voicemail on his answering service. It was from Special Agent Ryan Furr of the Miami FBI Field office. It said, in part:

I just wanted to follow up with you on that and ask you a question with something that's come up, if you wouldn't mind giving me a ring.

A few hours later the FBI was once again at Bennight's front door in Mississippi, asking him for any information he had on Nikolas Cruz. He couldn't help them and they left. This Thursday, at a press conference, FBI Special Agent Robert Lasky said the FBI was unable to gain any information on who Nikolas Cruz might have been from the comment about being a professional school shooter that was left on Bennight's YouTube channel.

Did the FBI blow this one big time? To know the answer we have to first know that the person who posted that comment is the same person as the Broward County shooter who is in custody. The FBI either knows this, or they don't. It seems they don't. Not yet at least.

The next step is to understand how YouTube and therefore Google collect information on people who comment. What kind of information is in Google's databases that could provide answers? And will Google share it or will they be forced to? Will the courts intervene?

Will this become an iPhone-San Bernadino-style standoff between Google and Federal law enforcement? If so, that will be up to the courts should subpoenas and or lawsuits become part of the picture, as far as Google and Youtube are concerned.

As debate rages on gun control, what role do School Superintendents have in all of this? Teachers had warned about Cruz. Should they have called local police and/or the Feds? Could more have been done to place Nikolas Cruz on a high-priority list at local and federal law enforcement? One that would have banned him from purchasing firearms? But would say a legal requirement like that mean an unending stream of marginal cases being added to the FBI's already enormous databases? And innocent students waking up at 5 AM with GMen pointing guns in their faces?

And finally, there is even talk that Cruz might have had a relationship with a white supremacist group in Florida, called ROF (Republic of Florida). And the Daily Beast is gleefully reporting that there are images of Cruz (which they posted ... they look suspiciously photoshopped and are impossible to identify as anyone in particular) wearing a MAGA hat. Well done Daily Beast, just what we need right now, in addition to the mourning and the angry debate over gun control.

Posted by Keeley at February 16, 2018 11:17 AM
Comment #424463

If the FBI had spent only a fraction of the time on the follow up investigation of Cruz, that they spent on investigating a Russian/Trump collusion, the 17 people would be alive.

At least two calls to the FBI; the second the month before the shooting, by a person close to the shooter. Now we find there were at least 20 calls to the Brevard Cty Sheriff’s Office and absolutely no follow up or notification of the FBI.

It turns out that see something, say something is nothing more than a slogan used by cops or politicians.

To add to the tragedy; the left immediately begin their calls for gun control. Showing only their Saul Alinsky goals of never wasting a crisis. The left are liars and this is why no one trusts anything they say.

Posted by: Blaine at February 17, 2018 9:23 AM
Comment #424464

Why does the FBI need to be involved at all? This should have been handled by local authorities. What gives the FBI jurisdiction in this instance?

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 17, 2018 10:18 AM
Comment #424470

Who has time to do any real law enforcement work when you’re busy trying to prove Donald Trump wiped a bugger under his desk in the second grade.

Posted by: dbs at February 17, 2018 3:09 PM
Comment #424472

This case had two separate inquiries. First, the local sheriffs department had been called many times for domestic violence reports and also had been notified by concerned citizens. Secondly, the FBI was notified last September of Cruz’s Youtube video and as late as last month of his intentions to shoot uptrend school by someone close to him. Since it involved a report being made across state lines, regarding the Youtube incident, I woul imagine the FBI would be involved. Also, it would be considered a domestic terrorist act to shoot up a school, which would again become the FBI’s case.

Posted by: Blaine at February 17, 2018 4:44 PM
Comment #424513

First of all shame on all you conservatives babbling about the Russian investigation and possible Trump collusion with the Russians. Using this tragedy to gain political points is disgusting. The meddling in the 2016 election is real and a dangerous precedent is being set by conservatives who defend this type of interference in our nations politics.

Second what kind of police state is enough for you guys? What crime was committed when someone said “I’m going to be a professional school shooter”. DO you really want the FBI that big in size and scope that it has the man power to track every school kid that says something foolish. Its ok for him to train with the NRA and the junior army reserves, they didn’t think he was crazy.

Repubs are so caught up in the money from the NRA they have turned around laws designed to keep weapons away from the mentally ill. Yep they repealed it this past Wednesday! Then want to blame the FBI or tell us the problem is the mentally ill, what a bunch of F**ktards.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 18, 2018 7:25 PM
Comment #424514

Not being able to manage your own finances is enough to deny gun ownership according to j2t2’s link.

How many personal and corporate bankruptcies do we have each year in the US? Are they all to be denied gun ownership?

How many millions of credit card holders and student load holders default on their loans?

Really? Is that enough to deny a constitutional right?

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 18, 2018 7:37 PM
Comment #424518

Thank you j2; now you are on the conservative side spreading your leftist drivel. We are to be ashamed for gaining political points, yet, before the coroner had removed the bodies from the Florida school, democrats were calling for republicans to ban guns. You’re a real piece of work, aren’t you?

You now come out defending the FBI for not following up on leads given to them. Now you’re concerned about the FBI wasting man hours, but you have no problem with spending millions of dollars and 10’s of thousands of hours chasing after a fake Russian/Trump collusion.

You link to leftist sites like HuffPost that are as radical as they come

“Independent Sen. Angus King (Maine) and Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) voted with Republicans. All five face re-election in 2018.”

These are the 6 socialists who also voted against Obama’s over reach of power. What gives Obama and the SS department the right to determine who has the right to own a gun? The SS department can flag you on a no weapons list for an eating disorder, or because you have financial problems?

A quote from your link:

“This regulation unfairly stigmatizes people with disabilities. If the regulation is not repealed, it will allow the agency to very unfairly deprive Social Security recipients of their Second Amendment rights,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). “The regulation would result in disability recipients being reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System as ineligible to own a firearm, and thus have their Second Amendment rights violated.”

“Grassley added that the rule could apply to such disabilities as “an eating disorder.”

Posted by: Blaine at February 18, 2018 8:43 PM
Comment #424534
We are to be ashamed for gaining political points…..

Blaine I guess you were to busy hunting for an excuse for Trump to belittle the FBI to notice the Russian investigation and the school shooting are unrelated. How many more indictments before you realize you are wrong about the Russian investigation?

When is a good time to call for such a ban Blaine? Instead of the phony prayers and thoughts the Nazi/Conservatives claimed to be sending why not take the time and do something to keep the next group of kids at the next school alive.

Still trying to attack the messenger, I see, with your phony line of BS . Had you managed not to cherry pick the article you would have seen the vote was 57 to 43 with 4 dems voting with the repubs. So what is you point Blaine do you consider this bipartisan?

Oh wow Grassley a f**king Nazi making the law sound as if it was actually doing what he said it was. You guys fall for anything the NRA tells you to don’t ya. Instead of repealing the whole thing why not correct the wording such that eating disorders are not a mental illness that would preclude owning a gun. Because the mentally ill should be allowed to have firearms that is special. On the one hand you say that is the problem on the other hand you seek to empower the mentally ill. Why have you left felons out with this logic?

I wonder with you guys have placed the second amendment on a pedestal. We live in a country that allows the police to take send SWAT into your house and take your money with out a crime being committed , a country where protestors have to protest in special fenced in areas away from the politicians, “free speech zones” and all you guys seem to manage to say is so what.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 19, 2018 12:49 AM
Comment #424543

And now Conservatives are nazi’s because they don’t support banning firearms?

Then you give actual examples of government abusing individuals and their rights, then wonder aloud why people hold their right to defend themselves against such abuses, so high?


Posted by: kctim at February 19, 2018 9:00 AM
Comment #424544

I’m glad j2t2 isn’t one of our elected officials. Could you imagine one of our elected officials going on TV and saying some of the stuff j2t2 says? I can’t imagine voting for someone like that. The sad thing is, there are people like that being elected.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2018 10:22 AM
Comment #424545
And now Conservatives are nazi’s because they don’t support banning firearms?

No kctim they are Nazi’s because Blaine thinks the 4 dems mentioned in the comment above are socialist, I exaggerated as he did. Why is it you didn’t comment on Blaine’s outright lie?

I can’t imagine voting for someone like that. The sad thing is, there are people like that being elected.

Trump, Weary what kind of bubble you been living in the past year? Trump accused Ted Cruz’s father of being involved in the Kennedy assassination FFS.

You guys are so anti=PC up until it is your sacred cow taking it in the shorts then you whine as loud as any of the PC crowd has every whined. It’s a two way street you whiners.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 19, 2018 10:47 AM
Comment #424550

Probably because Democratics are Socialists! The truth doesn’t change because you call it something else, j2t2.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2018 11:43 AM
Comment #424551

You are wrong, jt2t. Trump said look at that photo. He asked a question. He never accused Cruz of anything except handing out fliers and being in a photo.

Talk about being brainwashed! Geesh! You’re getting as bad as ohrealy!

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2018 11:46 AM
Comment #424552

“What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it.”

“I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?”

He made no claims. No mention of R. Cruz assassinating Kennedy. He asked questions. The rest is all a fable made up in your head.

What would happen if someone accused Obama of associating with someone who damns America? Oh wait! Yea, we know what happens when someone who associates with Obama damns America! The left ignores it and sweeps it under the rug! Nuttin’ to see here, folks! Move along, vote (d).

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2018 11:54 AM
Comment #424553

Was it Cruz’s father? Do you even know?

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2018 11:56 AM
Comment #424558
Probably because Democratics are Socialists!

Yeah and repubs are Nazi’s by the same measurement used by Blaine.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 19, 2018 1:09 PM
Comment #424560

By the same measure of Democratic’s actions. They are socialists, j2t2. The Democratic party have proven that. Sanders openly claims the mantle and Democratics had to cheat to beat him.

Quit lying to yourself, j2t2. Come to the light. Use the force, man!

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 19, 2018 1:40 PM
Comment #424566

Oh no, liberals are socialists! The go to criticism of conservatives for decades. Harry Truman didn’t shrink from defending his principals. Liberals of today shouldn’t either.

“Socialism is a scareword they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Socialism is what they called public power. Socialism is what they called social security. Socialism is what they called farm price supports. Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance. Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations. Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.
HARRY S. TRUMAN, speech, Oct. 10, 1952

Read more at http://www.notable-quotes.com/t/truman_harry_s.html#UlrLQuzVPzq5miK2.99

Posted by: Rich at February 19, 2018 10:51 PM
Comment #424567

Can’t resist providing this summary of the issues from Truman:

“Well, I have been studying the Republican Party for over 12 years at close hand in the Capital of the United States. And by this time, I have discovered where the Republicans stand on most of the major issues. Since they won’t tell you themselves, I am going to tell you. They approve of the American farmer—but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home—but not for housing. They are strong for labor—but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor a minimum wage—the smaller the minimum the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all—but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine—for people who can afford them… They consider electrical power a great blessing—but only when the private power companies get their rake-off…. They condemn “cruelly high prices”—but fight to the death every effort to bring them down. They think American standard of living is a fine thing—so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.”
HARRY TRUMAN, speech, October 13, 1948

Read more at http://www.notable-quotes.com/t/truman_harry_s.html#UlrLQuzVPzq5miK2.99

Posted by: Rich at February 19, 2018 10:59 PM
Comment #424568

Something more from conservatives favorite Democratic president:

“The Republicans … will try to make people believe that everything the Government has done for the country is socialism. They will go to the people and say: “Did you see that social security check you received the other day—you thought that was good for you, didn’t you? That’s just too bad! That’s nothing in the world but socialism. Did you see that new flood control dam the Government is building over there for the protection of your property? Sorry—that’s awful socialism! That new hospital that they are building is socialism. Price supports, more socialism for the farmers! Minimum wage laws? Socialism for labor! Socialism is bad for you, my friend. Everybody knows that. And here you are, with your new car, and your home, and better opportunities for the kids, and a television set—you are just surrounded by socialism! Now the Republicans say, ‘That’s a terrible thing, my friend, and the only way out of this sinkhole of socialism is to vote for the Republican ticket.’”

Posted by: Rich at February 19, 2018 11:09 PM
Comment #424570

The only new idea the right wing has had in the last 80 years is to move further to the right to make crazy not seem so crazy, but it still is. If they had been able to maintain segregation, most of those who call themselves conservatives now, would still be advocating the New Deal programs they supported before integration. Now, spreading poverty is an important goal of right wingers all over the country, not just in the old plantations.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 19, 2018 11:45 PM
Comment #424580

So, basically, Truman is saying YES, it is socialism, but despite the loss of freedom, look how comfortable and convenient it has made your life.

You could throw in the leftist hate of today and their ridiculous claims of racism and spreading poverty towards anybody who dares disagree with them, and Truman still wouldn’t be as extreme as today’s left.

Posted by: kctim at February 20, 2018 9:39 AM
Comment #424583

I love how Democratics sit back and blame conservatives for every woe they an think of. You’d think they had nothing to do with governing for the last 70 years.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 20, 2018 11:52 AM
Comment #424590

Hurrah for Rich…he has finally discovered a democrat president (Harry Truman) who praised socialism. We wonder if Rich knows about Franklin Roosevelt too.

And Rich, democrats must never forget to honor and hail the great Woodrow Wilson. He was an open and proud racist, as well as a leading progressive that helped instill in Roosevelt many of his socialist ideas known as the New Deal.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 20, 2018 4:42 PM
Comment #424594

Woodrow Wilson (D) actually segregated the military and federal government. He started separating blacks from whites in the government and the military.

With that and presiding over the negation of individual rights under the constitution via. the 16th and 17th amendments, he should be the Democratics poster boy from now on. They should be hanging huge portraits of him from every building.

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