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tv   Washington Journal JEFFREY RINGEL  CSPAN  February 16, 2018 9:12pm-9:39pm EST

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>> did you meet with any victims? pres. trump: the doctors have done an incredible job. they are an incredible recovery. first responders, everybody, the job that they have done is incredible and i want to congratulate them. incredible job. >> did you speak to the president -- victims, mr. president? pres. trump: i did, indeed. there sat that something like this could happen. the job that the doctors and nurses did, first responders, law enforcement, really incredible. the speed of a pickup the victims over to the hospital was record-setting. in one case of 19 minutes. from the time of the shot.
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it is an incredible thing. thank you for a much. >> do gun laws need to be changed, mr. president? >> on washington journal we talked to a former fbi agent about the florida school shooting. an hour.alf "washington journal" continues. host: joining us from new york is jeffery ringel, a former fbi agent in the new york field office. we will start with the shooting in florida. if you look at the front pages of the newspapers --
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fueling debate over law enforcement response. what is your reaction? apparently he said on youtube that i'm going to be a professional school shooter. the youtube user was nikolas cruz. the fbi was alerted. what is your reaction? not seen today's papers, but something like this, the fbi gets leads that come into the office from someone who see something they do not like and report it to the fbi. the fbi try to identify nikolas cruz on facebook or youtube. they could not. there are different steps and different levels of investigation. there are different investigative steps that can be taken at each level. in this case, someone reported ube, the fbi can do
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so much work but it is in the assessment phase. they could not use legal processes like grand jury topoenas or search warrants get further into identifying who cruz was. host: the washington post says after that tip 2 fbi agents interviewed the caller, mississippi bell bondsman -- bail bondsman bennight. what he made when you can only do so much? guest: there are three levels of investigative steps. in this case, the caller called it in from mississippi. that is an assessment. the fbi can use public databases, fbi databases, law enforcement databases to run the name, the handle, or anything that could hope fully identify was.ruz
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there have been other reports, similar reports, on a person named cruz. that would give investigators more when doing their investigation. without concrete information, and i have seen this from investigations i have had where ,omeone makes a generic threat "i am going to blow up the tunnels." it doesn't identify what state, what tunnels, when, where, how. the fbi did everything they could do with their doctrine and procedures to identify him. when they could do nothing further they have to close the lead out. five months later he walked into the school in florida. when the fbi is trying to connect dots? here is the wall street journal, shooter showed warning signs. the team left behind worrying
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warning signs that in hindsight seem to have gone unheeded. classmates said that he was obsessed with guns. campus security considered him trouble. why is that information not given to the fbi? whenbi cannot access it they are following up on a tip? what needs to be done? tost: when people are going local law enforcement and saying my teenage neighbor is troubled, and that is all they tell the police, the police don't have much more that they can do. they can talk to the individual. if he is underage they might need to have a parent involved. they can do some of their investigation. the information goes to local law enforcement, the first place this could be addressed. fbi,you talk about the that is federal. we are looking across state
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lines and nationally. if local law enforcement is told in highs individual school is troubled, the school security and local police could possibly come up with a plan to talk to cruz, figure out who he is and what he's up to. until certain tripwires are crossed, law enforcement has their hand tied. they can talk to the individual and look at the individual. the fact that cruz purchased a weapon and local law enforcement was monitoring him, that would be a tripwire that was crossed. they stuck what he was saying and that he purchased the gun, moreaw enforcement can be proactive and get more investigative steps. law: how would local enforcement know that he just purchased the gun? would that be the fbi tells them? guest: the fbi is not told -- i take that back. when someone buys a weapon there should be a background check. gun dealer hase
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to do to make sure the individual does not have a criminal record. that would go through the fbi database on criminal records. that is all. the fbi does not track people who buy weapons. they just provide the background check for a criminal check for gun purchases for the gun dealers. tosounds like cruz was able buy the weapon and leave that day. there is no waiting period. host: having no criminal record, he cleared an instant background check via the fbi database? .uest: correct in the fbi is not contacting local databases saying this is who in your area just bought a weapon. other than locals that identify him as a disturbed individual, nobody else knows who cruz is as wise law enforcement goes.
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host: for the local people, his neighbors, the police alerted to officials, isl there something that they can do that gets somebody like him on the radar screen so that when he that thaty a gun information is alerted to somebody? guest: i understand what you are saying. take a step that. you have an angry 18-year-old, 19-year-old. the neighbors don't like him because he is angry. laws. not broken any he is authorized by the weapon. he has no criminal record. even though people may not like , he has notaying been deemed mentally incapable by any authorities. he does not have a criminal
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record. those are the two places that law enforcement with look to be able to stop someone from purchasing a weapon. even though on social media no one is tracking his social media beforehand because unless they have an investigation on him, nobody is looking into his social media, what he is saying, or what he is doing. host: do you have thoughts about mental health laws in this country questio? usa today says if someone is defective, mentally he or she is prohibited from possessing a firearm under getting someone adjudicated mentally defective or committed, do you think there are enough laws on the books for that process to happen? guest: i do not know enough about the mental health laws. taking a step back, when they had the university of virginia
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student a young doing well in school, the pressure of school, he killed a bunch of people. was.get how long ago that if we were to put a black mark on everyone that goes to counseling because they are going through stress because they are having a problem -- i thinking a former military people that have come home and get backunseling to into society because of ptsd or stress that they encountered overseas. toall of a sudden we were say, now that person is on our record and forever they are not going to be authorized to get a aapon or authorized to get security background check because they had mental health problems, that will prevent people from seeking the help they need. is a double-edged sword. i think that there can be more in fornd more stops put purchasing weapons. i would like to see a longer
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wait between when you go in to purchase the weapon to when you can take it out of the store. also, other restrictions, but the mental health problem is tough for law is enforcement to address and tougher for the government to address. you are stepping into people's individual rights. from usa today says 1998-2014 the fbi rejected over 16,000 potential gun buyers because it backgrounds on mental health adjudication. 1.2 millionroughly background checks resulted in denial. good morning. you are on the air with jeffery ringel, former fbi agent. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have a question and a comment. didn't someone from tennessee who had the same instagram
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account get in touch with the know they've is this individual who had been posts onorrendous instagram? to thei am not privy current investigation. i think that i read something similar, but i cannot say for sure. host: do you think that background checks work, the current process? guest: for weapons? host: yes. guest: i think it is one step of many that need to be done. at the very least background checks will stop people with convictions from getting a and possibly people who have had domestic abuse charges leveled against them and/or convicted. i think that is one step that needs to continue. yes. host: maryland. caller: good morning.
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i think that the missing pieces the mental health institution. everyone knew that cruz was a bomb.g time with a needed to do was involuntarily lock him up into a mental institution and evaluated him for months until he was deemed to be well enough to be on the street. we need to strengthen our mental health infrastructure. each state has to look into it. that is the missing piece. if they would have locked him up and voluntarily, humanely, we would have fixed that problem. i think that that is the missing piece. guest: it is interesting. when you lock someone up in voluntarily that is jailing them. the civilw get into rights issue. under reagan we got rid of the mental institutions.
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that is a big thing to do. , eachk that we can offer state needs to offer, battle mental health services to its population. that is costly and will not necessarily stop everything. who's to say that cruz would have availed himself to these services an? getting back to putting people in voluntarily into mental health services, in new york involuntaryhours commitment, but then they have to let you go. host: good morning. caller: i was feeling sorry for the young man because i know most of the time there is a
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problem. i'm going to think that there was a problem before the gun. the fact that he was in this world, all alone by himself, even the children i'm hearing on the tv know that there is more that could be done in supporting people like him who have fallen through the cracks. i am hoping that someone looks into the bullying and has a hotline for that. i don't know if he was bullied or not, but i do know that the young man looked like he was disturbed. host: you have any thoughts about bullying? online, social media, how social media is being used in our society and the impact that that has on criminal activity or crimes being committed? guest: in my opinion, i think gives peopleedia the capability of being a
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keyboard hero. people can save things without actually having to see the person they are making statements to. insulte can be brash and people online and say things they would never say face-to-face, because that would be too difficult. also, social media is sometimes used to help promote from infamous to being individuals that are lost in looking for something. they use social media as their last hurrah to get their last shot at fame. ande that often with teens the jihadist terrorists that are the last minute will claim to be isis or al qaeda and they go from obscurity to front-page news for seven days because of that. host: let's talk about security clearances. we invited you on to talk about
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that. explained to our viewers the process for someone to get a security clearance and what that means and what level of clearance is available. guest: security clearances basically all the rise of person writee access to read and classified information. the different levels can be confidential, whatever is being written if released to the wrong person could damage the u.s. national security. the next higher that would result in the release of that information to the wrong individuals would create grave damage. top-secret, that information if released would result in extremely grave damage to national security. there are different levels of information that the security
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clearance holder has access to. in order to get a security clearance, it depends on which agency you are working for. if you're working for the military, the dod will do your security clearance background check. if you're working for the department of energy, they are responsible for your security background check. anybody out of the executive branch, white house personnel and federal judge appointments and u.s. attorney appointments, will be handled by the fbi. form thatll take the every applicant needs to fill out, a very long, detailed seekerthat the clearance needs to complete. the person needs to put down everywhere they lived within the last 10 years so that there is no break in time.
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they have to list for the last seven years any employment, any foreign contact, any foreign business, any foreign travel, off of your family members, your spouse and ex-spouses, your financial situation, military service, a sickly it's a background on who you are. -- basically it's a background check on who you are. the background check is to determine if you are person of good character to be trusted with the nations secrets. thatf-86 -- that sf-86 will go to a particular field office. if i'm in new york and they are investigating me it would go to the new york field office. they would be responsible to cut leads to the other field offices
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to follow up on people i listed form. they would go to my brothers in colorado, my sisters in washington, my cousins in texas, who'd be approached by the fbi agents in those field offices and questioned about my credibility, trustworthiness, and anything about me. host: why would they interview a landlord? somebody who doesn't have day-to-day contact with a person? what are they trying to get at? what types of questions are they asking? i pay my rent on time? did i cause problems? throw wild parties? were there incidences that the police had to be called to my apartment and why? where their problems with me? did i consort with suspicious people that looked funny?
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what was my schedule? normal or a person that went out mysteriously in the middle of the night? a landlord is a great person to investigate because they don't know me personally, but they have observed by actions. that is what the fbi wants to see, who am i and what am i doing? see how you react to director christopher wray testifying on capitol hill. this is his exchange on the security process and timeline for former senior staffer rob porter. [video clip] fairlyprocess involves standard protocols and agreements that have been in place for 20 plus years. i am confident that in this particular incident the fbi followed established protocols. >> was the white house informed that this could affect the security clearance? yes or no? >> i cannot get into the content
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, but what i can tell you is that the fbi submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in march. and then a completed background investigation in late july. soon thereafter we received request for follow-up inquiry, and we did the follow-up and provided that information in november. we administratively closed the file in january. earlier this month we received additional information and pass that on as well. do you make of the process and timeline of the fbi's background check on rob porter? guest: it sounds good. [laughter] host: it sounds thorough? guest: i'm sure that it was
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thorough. it is not the fbi that issues the security clearance. the fbi is working for the client, in this case the white house. the fbi does the background investigation and verifies and vets all of the information form.on the in the process, they will talk to multiple people to get a better idea of who the person is looking for the security clearance. and this is what i've asked people that have done this work and they clarified it some point when the fbi has completed their work or come across something that causes concern, they go to the client and say this is what we found. you have to make the decision because you issue the security clearance. in this case, they were talking to the 2 ex-wives and the
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accusations of domestic abuse. that would be something that the it would note, go back, run to ground, make sure that it is accurate and not just what we -- that someone is not just angry that there is validity and the allegation can be substantiated to some level. then they go to the client and say that this could be a problem. again, the fbi does not issue the security clearance. host: in this case, it is just an accusation. there were no criminal charges against rob porter. if he did have them, are you automatically disqualified? guest: that should disqualify you. the general standard is that any case where there is an allegation or anything that intent is upon your good character, something that makes you prone to blackmail or shows , the party that is
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sponsoring your clearance should drop you. host: you don't have to be convicted? guest: it is up to the person that is requesting the security clearance. i think that i read yesterday that 6 people on interim clearances in the white house have been let go. the white house should want to make sure that everyone they bring in is pristine with no problems. if something were to happen at a later time and information is through a person pushed and given a clearance despite warnings and fbi investigation, if that person turns out to violate the security procedures it makes everybody look back. it could possibly put people up for criminal charges. host: louisiana, democrat, good morning.
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i don't understand how these people could be in a position of having sensitive information about security and not have a security clearance. if president obama would have -- [indiscernible] host: more than 100 staffers securitynterim clearance is one year after the election. is that unusual? guest: the use of interim clearances is not unusual in itself. when you people come into the government these background checks take from six months to nine months, generally.they could even take longer if you are a person who has a lot of things that need to be investigated. they should be wrapped up after


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