In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre, questions are rising in multiple corridors over whether or not the FBI has been handcuffed by political correctness when it comes to investigating terrorist sympathizers.
Following the shooting early Sunday that left 49 dead, FBI officials revealed they had previously investigated alleged gunman Omar Mateen twice and even placed him on a watch list temporarily after he had contact with a suicide bomber and made statements that concerned his colleagues at a security firm with sensitive federal contracts.
But government officials did not try to revoke his security license or hinder his abilityto get new weapons.
Chad Jenkins, a former counterterrorism expert with the bureau, told Circa the Obama administration has severely limited the FBI's ability to fully investigate individuals suspected of harboring terrorist sympathies.
"We're seeing the recourse of a pendulum swing within the political correctness to limit ourselves, the lead federal agency who is supposed to protect our citizens here in the united states and we are definitely handcuffing them when they go out to do their jobs on a daily basis," Jenkins said.
Concerns about racialprofiling and Islamaphobia have prompted the Obama administration to create new rules restricting how the FBI can conduct terrorism investigations.
In 2012, the Department of Justice issued new training guidelines for federal agents, warning them that suspects' who voice support for radical groups are protected under the First Amendment right to free speech.
The guide also warns that an investigation cannot be based solely on a suspect's race or religion.
These guidelines hindered the FBI's investigation of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two 2013 Boston Marathon Bombers, after agents interviewed him in 2011.
And again with Mateen. FBI director James Comey on Monday said agents had interviewed Mateen once in 2013 after his coworkers voiced concern over statements he had made in support of terrorist groups.
The FBI interviewed Mateen again in 2014 when his name came up in connection to an American who traveled to Syria and became a suicide bomber for Al Nusra, an Al Qaeda offshoot.
Charles Grassley, (R-Iowa) Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry, asking whether the agency could have done more to stop the attack.
Comey said the FBI did everything they could in their previous investigations of Mateen.
U.S. Rep. Louis Goehmert (R-TX), a former Texas prosecutor, said the fault lies with the White House, not the FBI.
"The FBI did not drop the ball, they were acting within the limits that this president and his administration has allowed them to act within," he told Circa.
Jenkins said the FBI needs more support from the administration if they are going to be able to effectively combat lone wolf extremists.
"The agents who did this investigation of Mateen there's nothing but guilt laying on them right now and it's because they couldn't do anything else."
But President Obama on Monday deflected such criticisms, saying self-radicalized home-grown terrorists who don't communicate directly with terror groups like ISIS or Al-Qaida often can evade detection, blaming social media and the internet for disseminating hateful propaganda.
"This is an example of the kind of homegrown extremism that all of us have been so concerned about for a very long time," the president said, blaming . "this kind of propaganda and perversions of Islam that you see generated on the Internet, and the capacity for that to seep into the minds of troubled individuals or weak individuals."