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Former Boston Police Chief Sees Parallels Between Attacks In Orlando And Boston04:21
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Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub early Sunday. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)
Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub early Sunday. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)
This article is more than 3 years old.

Comparisons may be inevitable between the two assaults of terror in Boston and Orlando. The man who led the Boston police at the scene sees some lessons learned and challenges that may defy solution.

Similar Tactical Responses

Watching the news in the aftermath of the Orlando attack Sunday, tourniquets were one of the things Daniel Linskey, former superintendent-in-chief of the Boston Police, noticed.

"They're putting tourniquets on people's legs, and that's saving people's lives," said Linskey. He oversaw the immediate response to the marathon attack and saw two lessons learned here in Boston adopted by police in Orlando.

"They were applying tourniquets on victims, and the other thing I saw was they're putting victims into police vehicles and driving them to the hospital instead of waiting for the ambulance, which is the traditional response."

Linskey, who now works as a security and crisis expert at the Kroll Corporation, previously trained some 2,000 officers in Florida in tactical operations.

"Often times, the streets get blocked with vehicles and the ambulances can't get through," he said.

Tailing Potential Terror Suspects Is 'Huge Resource Issue' 

One similarity between the two cases is that the suspects had been on the FBI radar beforehand.

What was known and what was missed about the alleged shooter Omar Mateen echoes the questions asked here after the Marathon bombing about the Tsarnaev brothers, especially after it turned out that the FBI had received warnings from Russian intelligence officials in 2011 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a potential jihadist.

This undated image shows Omar Mateen, who authorities say killed dozens of people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday. (MySpace via AP, File)
This undated image shows Omar Mateen, who authorities say killed dozens of people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday. (MySpace via AP, File)

"The FBI first became aware of Mateen in 2013 when he made inflammatory comments to co-workers alleging possible terrorist ties," said Ron Hopper, the FBI special agent in charge of the investigation in Orlando.

That's significant, because that's when Mateen claimed — to the concern of co-workers in Florida — that he knew the Tsarnaev brothers, a claim the FBI determined was a fabrication after they conducted two interviews with him.

"I think the fact he mentioned the Tsarnaev brothers is going to be cause for investigative follow-up to see if there was a relationship," Linskey said. "Was he involved in a circle of friends or even an extended circle of friends?"

Inevitably, because of Mateen's claims to know the Tsarnaev brothers, it means going back over old ground, including a man the FBI investigated in Orlando in 2013. Ibrahim Todashev — who was a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev and who, the government says, admitted to committing murder with Tsarnaev — was shot to death in the middle of an FBI interview in Orlando after investigators say he attacked them.

In another resemblance to the marathon bombing case, here's the father of Omar Mateen, Seddique Mateen, sounding like the American uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers did in 2013.

"I condemn what he did. I wish I did know that what he was doing. If I did catch him, I would have arrested him myself," he said.

What happened early Sunday morning and what FBI investigators might have missed in their investigation of Omar Mateen will be the focus of lots of reviews and police after-action reports, as well as inquiry by the Congressional Intelligence Committee.

Today Mateen is at the top of the pyramid, the terrorist who actualized. Following him backwards, going down each level, we can see the decisions, the steps he took, to climb upward. But at the base of the pyramid are hundreds, Linskey says thousands, of potential Mateens — and no easy way to tell them apart.

"It's a huge resource issue to be able to follow these people and be on them 24 hours a day, where you can totally surveil all of their activities," Linskey said. "There's probably a thousand cases going on right now where there's active cases of ISIS supporters or people active in 50 states."

It is a situation in which people see progress in the deployment of tourniquets and faster response to mass murder.

This segment aired on June 14, 2016.

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David Boeri Twitter Senior Reporter
Now retired, David Boeri was a senior reporter at WBUR.

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