Weld, who served as U.S. attorney and then assistant attorney general in the DOJ's criminal justice division, suggested that the DOJ could take a cue from a program that worked in Massachusetts. The "Drop-a-Dime Project," a nonprofit tip line created by community leaders, was used by law enforcement to pursue tips about crime in Boston's black neighborhoods and to achieve breakthroughs in drug investigations.
"We'd get all kinds of tips," Weld said. "The residents of Dorchester and Mattapan were only too happy to help. There may be some people out there leaning toward ISIS, people who would want to shelter the people going around killing other people. But for every pair of ears that would be sympathetic, there will be pairs that will not be sympathetic."
When he reentered politics this year to seek the Libertarian nomination, Weld spent the better part of two weeks assuring activists that he no longer favored new measures to restrict access to guns. Other libertarians went further, with the pro-gun gay group Pink Pistols arguing that "just as one might have a designated driver who stays sober, one might have a designated carrier with a concealed-carry permit who goes armed and does not drink." Tom Palmer, a gay libertarian thinker based in D.C., wrote today that "gun control advocates disarmed the victims at that night club."
Weld, meanwhile, focused on the possibility of collecting better intelligence on ISIS sympathizers. In doing so, he seemed to find agreement with former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat. In an interview with Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times, Frank argued that tighter gun laws needed to be combined with more collaborative monitoring of radical Islam.
"The overwhelming majority of Muslims don’t do this, but there is clearly, sadly, an element in the interpretation of Islam that has some currency, some interpretation in the Middle East that encourages killing people — and LGBT people are on that list," Frank said. "I think it is fair to ask leaders of the Islamic community, religious and otherwise, to spend some time combating this.’’
Looking at the evidence reported since Saturday night, Weld argued that Orlando suspect Omar Mateen could have been apprehended before he acted.
"What’s outrageous from a law enforcement perspective is that if this guy Omar Mateen was talking about killing people, if he was interviewed by the FBI, if he was ranting and raving so bad that people knew about it, they should have known," Weld said. "Someone who’s come to the FBI’s attention twice – his name should never disappear. If you had a task force of 1,000 FBI agents working on these cases, that would be doable."
At one point in the interview, Weld referred to Islamic State adherents in America as "enemy combatants." He clarified that American citizens would be prosecuted through the normal legal system, adding that his experience has been that task forces going after the mafia, Yakuza and IRA were able to infiltrate and weaken those organizations.
"In the '70s and '80s, we focused on taking out the top levels of la Cosa Nostra — and we did it," Weld said. "The plug-ugly soldiers were running the show by the time we finished. And man, were they stupid."