Two Killers Eluded FBI Hunt for 'Lone Wolves'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2009 8:02 AM CDT
Two Killers Eluded FBI Hunt for 'Lone Wolves'
The FBI evidence response team arrives at the US Holocaust Museum after a gunman opened fire at the museum in Washington Wednesday, June 10, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – 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. (Read more James Von Brunn stories.)

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