Bruce Joiner, a security guard who was wounded in the 2015 Muslim terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, is suing the FBI. Joiner argues in court documents submitted on Monday that the bureau is liable for damages he incurred, alleging that an FBI agent “solicited, encouraged, directed and aided members of ISIS in planning and carrying out the May 3 attack.” 

Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi of Phoenix, Arizona, drove to the Curtis Culwell center in Garland where the “Draw Muhammad” contest was being held in May 2015. The contest was held in the contest of the deadly Muslim terrorist attack in Paris in January of that year when jihadis entered the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo -- a French satirical magazine -- that had published a cover featuring a cartoon of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Simpson and Soofi were armed with three pistols, three rifles, and approximately 1,500 rounds of ammunition.

If the case against the FBI is not settled, there is a possibility that hundreds of documents from both local and federal sources would be released and offer details about the incident. Questions have arisen as to why an FBI agent was in a vehicle directly behind the attackers and did nothing to stop the attack. a deadly according to court documents filed Monday.

When Simpson and Soofi reached a checkpoint outside of the center in Garland, Joiner and other guards stopped them. It was then that Simpson and Soofi opened fire. They were quickly shot to death by the guards. Joiner was the only person who was wounded in the attack, having taken a bullet to his left leg. The Islamic State took credit for the attack, thus making it the first ISIS-orchestrated attack on American soil.

Bruce Joiner

Joiner is seeking in excess of $8 million in damages, while arguing that the FBI allowed the attack to unfold. “The FBI helped the terrorists obtain a weapon that was used in the attack by lifting a hold during a background check, incited the terrorist to attack the Garland event, and even sent an agent to accompany the terrorists as they carried out the attack,” said court papers.

The lawsuit alleges that FBI Director Jim Comey lied in a “post-attack cover-up” about Comey and the bureau knew about what was likely to happen in the attack. “In the aftermath of the attack, former FBI Director James Comey lied to the American people by claiming that Simpson was a needle in a haystack’ that was ‘invisible to us,'” the filing alleged. “Even after it had come to light that an undercover FBI agent had been communicating extensively with the terrorists during the week prior to the event and had accompanied them as they carried out the attack, the FBI continued to assert that “[t]here was no advance knowledge of a plot to attack the cartoon drawing contest.”

A “60 Minutes” report revealed in March of this year that an undercover FBI agent was in the car directly behind the terrorist pair when they opened fire, and was taking photos of the car about 30 seconds before the first shots rang out.  Once the shooting began, the agent fled but was briefly detained by Garland police officers. A video still by WFAA-TV of Dallas recorded the detention.

WFAA-TV screen capture of arrest at Garland TX

On the basis of a related court case, it is now known that the FBI had been monitoring Simpson for a number of years. In addition, the FBI agent in question was undercover and had direct contact with Simpson and Soofi in the months prior to the incident. 

Attorney Trenton Roberts, who is of counsel to Joiner, theorizes that the FBI may have been willing to allow the attack to go on. Roberts told the Washington Examiner in April that the “Draw Muhammad” incident was either a botched operation or an instance when the bureau wanted the attack in order for the undercover agent to advance within ISIS. 

Sen. Ron Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, have both made inquiries about the incident. Among the theories they may examine is that the weapons purchased by Simpson and Soofi may be connected to the Obama-era "Fast and Furious" fiasco in which the federal government knowlingly sold firearms to Mexican drug cartel members.

Author Robert Spencer,  an expert on Islam who helped organize the Garland event with activist Pamela Geller, wrote on his website Jihad Watch that he and Geller were ignored when they asked the FBI for an investigation into the role of the FBI agent on the scene. While the FBI had advance knowledge of the attack, Spencer charged, it did not have agents on hand to halt the violence. “They had one man there, and one man only,” he said. “The jihadis were not stopped by FBI agents, but by our own security team. If the jihadis had gotten through our team, they would have killed Pamela Geller and me, and many others.” Spencer said that the jihadis would have wanted to kill Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who was at the event as a keynote speaker and is a known critic of political Islam. Geller hired a SWAT team and paid an additional $10,000 to local police for protection, had been named by ISIS as the main target for “slaughter.” In a related incident, ISIS terrorist Usaamah Rahim, who was fatally shot by Boston police officers after trying to attack them, was found by the FBI to have plotted to behead Geller.




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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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