Jeh Johnson emphasizes public’s role in preventing violence: ‘We are not a police state’

Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in an interview on Sunday stressed the public’s role in preventing violence, saying the FBI has "a lot" on its plate.

“I think that it's for the FBI to tell us whether there are adequate resources," he said on ABC’s “This Week” when asked if the bureau has the manpower to follow up on tips.


“They are the premier federal law enforcement agency of our country. They’ve got a lot on their plate,” he added.

His comments come after the FBI on Friday acknowledged that it failed to follow "protocols" when it received a tip earlier this year regarding the suspect in a deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

The bureau said a person close to the suspect called the FBI's public tipline in January and raised concerns about him.

But the FBI never reported the tip to its Miami field office or investigated it.

“There is also a role for the public to play,” Johnson stressed on Sunday.

“Even with all the resources of the FBI, we are not a police state. The police, federal law enforcement cannot be on every street corner, in every school, at every kitchen table,” he said.

“So when we see someone turning to violence — and this was apparently the case here — people should be encouraged to say something when they see suspicious behavior.”