The F.B.I. failed to act on a tip in January from a person close to Nikolas Cruz warning that he owned a gun and might conduct a school shooting, the bureau acknowledged on Friday, in its first admission that it might have been able to prevent the deadly attack at a Florida high school.
Florida Governor Rick Scott called for F.B.I. director Christopher A. Wray to resign over the failure.
“The F.B.I.’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable,” said Mr. Scott. “The F.B.I. has admitted that they were contacted last month by a person who called to inform them of Cruz’s ‘desire to kill people,’ and ‘the potential of him conducting a school shooting.’
The revelation comes at a particularly bad time for the bureau, which for the past several months has faced relentless criticism for political bias in its handling of investigations of both President Trump and democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The F.B.I.’s admission that it did not act on a tip that Mr. Cruz had a “desire to kill people, erratic behavior, and disturbing social media posts,” could open up a new avenue of attack for political opponents seeking to discredit the bureau’s work.
In an unusually sharp public rebuke of his own agents, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday that the missed warnings had “tragic consequences” and that “the F.B.I. in conjunction with our state and local partners must act flawlessly to prevent all attacks. This is imperative, and we must do better.”
The work of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel’s office overseeing the investigation into Russian election interference, has been the focus of much of the attacks on the bureau. After the shooting, conservative news media said that the F.B.I. could have prevented the attack if it had not been spending so much time looking into Russian election interference.
Mr. Mueller released another indictment Friday alleging Russian nationals and companies committed federal crimes while seeking to interfere in the United States political system.
The information should have been assessed and forwarded to the F.B.I. field office, the agency said. Click to contuine reading.