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Head Of Las Vegas FBI Says Lessons From Shooting Make Strip Safer


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(Editor's note: This conversation originally aired March 5)

The head of the FBI in Nevada says lessons from the Las Vegas mass shooting have led to important security improvements on the Strip.

Special Agent Aaron Rouse told State of Nevada that since the Oct. 1, 2017, attack, new, behind-the-scenes security enhancements make a similar incident less likely.

“The changes that are being made will, in the long run, significantly reduce the chances of this happening again,” Rouse said. “But you can never say never. And security requires vigilance.”

While there is no way to protect something like the Las Vegas Strip completely from violence, Rouse is confident that the gaming industry is doing all that it can.

“I have a much better degree of confidence that the casino industry, the hotels around here, they take this very seriously," he said, "They don’t want anything bad to happen to any of their patrons and they’re working diligently to improve security procedures and they’re working with law enforcement to do it.”

The FBI recently issued its final report on the case that confirms gunman Stephen Paddock was acting alone when he killed 58 attending a music festival.

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The agency has taken some heat for the length of the report. It is three pages but Rouse insists it provides the information the FBI has on Paddock and his motives.

“I understand that the length of the report was off-putting to many people but understanding that this is a summary of the findings. The amount and volume of work that went into the creation of these findings was nothing short of Herculean,” he said.

He also said the entire report with all the attached paperwork can be requested through the Freedom of Information Act. 

In the report, Paddock's background and upbringing are described, along with his desire to be infamous, and his wish to leave this world on his own terms. However, Any motive remains unknown.

Rouse understands the survivors' desire to understand that 'why' but he says a study of active shooters shows that 21 percent of them don't share their motivation with anyone.

He also reassured the survivors that "the very best effort of the Federal Bureau of Investigation went into this." 

Rouse also pointed out that the bureau started the investigation looking for the same answers as all the people impacted, "we believe we've provided as close an answer as we could possibly come in this report,"

Now that the shooting investigation is closed, Rouse said his office is giving additional attention to internet crime. Among the initiatives:

  • Reaching out to young people and making them aware of the risks they run by making hoax threats or cyberbullying. Rouse and the U.S. attorney for Nevada will be meeting with students this spring about the Think Before You Post effort from the Justice Department.
  • Making more people aware of business email compromise, when a cybercriminal uses an official-looking email to dupe its recipient to transferring money online.
  • Urging victims to report ransomware, when a hacker gains access to a computer system or data and holds it for ransom. Rouse said too many victims pay off the criminal and then find themselves victimized again.

Rouse urged victims to report online criminal activity and offered some general tips to avoid cybercrime:

  • Back up data on a separate system not connected to a main computer.
  • Update software and implement automated patching.
  • Use two-step password authentication.
  • Make passwords difficult to guess and change them often.
  • Consider trusted password management software.

Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse, heads FBI in Nevada

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