The shootings of George Tiller and a National Holocaust Museum guard came despite a renewed FBI effort to preempt solo acts of political violence, the Wall Street Journal reports. Identifying such extremists—while respecting their civil rights—is a challenge. Both James von Brunn and Scott Roeder expressed their views online, but neither set off any warning bells at the bureau's "Operation Vigilant Eagle," a 6-month-old initiative in response to evidence of stepped-up activity among violent extremists.
“The FBI does not have the capability to know when a person gets up in middle America and decides: ‘I’m taking my protest poster to Washington or I’m taking my gun," says a former counterterrorism official. The lone-wolf initiative has emphasized finding individuals who had been shunned by groups as too radical, or who left groups they deemed insufficiently radical—something neither von Brunn nor Roeder did.