In the wake of the tragic event that took place at an Orlando nightclub early Sunday morning that left 50 dead and 53 wounded as of the time of this writing, it has been discovered that the shooter Omar Mateen was on a "watch list" over his association with "suspicious people."
What will likely attract attention, and potentially lead to inquiries into why nothing was done in response, is that only a few days ago a pro-ISIS group released a hit list with the names of more than 8,000 people on it, mostly Americans. One report said that more than 600 people from Florida were on the list, and many of those targeted live in Palm Beach County and on the Treasure Coast.
Former FBI agent Stuart Kaplan said at the time that the concern is that the list will inspire "lone wolf" style attacks, and predicted that the release of the list "is going to create some hysteria." It did not, instead it may have resulted in the worst mass shooting event in US history.
To be sure, this is not the first time the ISIS-linked group called the "United Cyber Caliphate" disclosed a comparable list of Americans it wanted dead: in late April we reported that ISIS had released a hit list of 3,600 New Yorkers it wanted killed. Perhaps since nothing ensued in the aftermath, the authorities ignored this latest threat, which in retrospect may have been a mistake.
A pro-Isis group has released a hit list with the names of more than 8,000 peoplemostly Americans. More than 600-people live in Florida, and one security expert believes that many of those targeted live in Palm Beach County and on the Treasure Coast.
The "United Cyber Caliphate" that hacked U.S. Central Command, 54,000 Twitter accounts and threatened President Barack Obama is the same pro-Isis group that's reportedly created a "kill list" with the names, addresses and emails of thousands of civilian Americans.
Reports of the list came to light online when Vocativ reported the list was shared via the encrypted app, Telegram, and called on supporters to kill. Former FBI agent-turned lawyer Stuart Kaplan says the threat is especially alarming, because the people on this list are civilians who don't have the security necessary to protect themselves.
"It's going to create some hysteria," he said. Kaplan believes civilians from our community are on the list.
"I would suspect a head of a hospital or, perhaps, a local community leader. Those are the individuals that may appear on the list--or just a local banker or local school teacher--someone who, for some reason, was in the public eye."
Kaplan is concerned the list will inspire "lone wolf" style attacks.
"If in fact a sympathizer gets ahold of this list and is readily able to identify you as being his neighbor and, then, decides (because they're a sympathizer) to go out and do something horrific to you, there is no way to calculate the potential or to prevent that."
The list has not yet been made public.
We reached out to the FBI, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and Martin County Sheriff's Office to see how credible they view the threat and what action they might be taking.
We are awaiting their response.
According to the Martin County Sheriffs office,the FBI is aware of this and the agency will work closely with the Joint-Terrorism Task Force to keep citizens safe.
It remains to be determined if Omar Mateen had any direct links to ISIS, or if his "lone wolf" attack, largely as predicted, had another catalyst.