(CNSNews.com) - "We've got three examples now of folks on the radar -- Major Nidal Hasan, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and now Omar Mateen, who were on our radar, who were looked at, are then dismissed," Former CIA Director Michael Hayden told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday.
Hasan killed 13 people and injured more than 30 others at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009; Tsarnaev, along with his brother, killed 3 and injured 264 others at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013; and Mateen, the New-York-born son of Afghan immigrants, opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday morning, where 49 people died. Police then killed Mateen as he exited the club.
Mateen was investigated by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 following tips from people who knew him, but apparently he was not considered a credible threat.
Hayden on Monday said he intends no criticism of the FBI: "It's quite possible that when they looked into these individuals, they weren't in the place where they finally ended up in," Hayden said.
"We're getting pretty close to the limits as to what the state can do without changing our nature as a society," he added.
Hayden said Facebook and Twitter are getting better at taking down sites that urge jihad. "Where do you draw the line between independent thought and something the state has a right to forbid?" he asked.
Washington Post reporter David Ignatius asked Hayden if remarks by public officials about excluding Muslims, keeping them out of the U.S., and "other talk that makes Muslims feel that they are separate and unequal could makes this problem of home-grown terrorism even worse?"
"David, of course it does," Hayden replied, criticizing Donald Trump by name.
"To the degree we drive these individuals into further isolation, to that degree we increase the threat."
New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, joining the "Morning Joe" conversation, argued Hayden's point that we're getting close to the limits on what the state can do.
"Why would we allow anyone to purchase an assault rifle?" Bruni asked. "We are not at the limits of what we can do, because we have not done all we can do to keep those dangerous weapons out of people's hands."
The suspect in the nightclub shooting was armed with an AR-15 rifle and a handgun, both legally purchased. Mateen had no criminal record, and he worked as a security guard
Mateen had no criminal record he worked as a security guard.
"Why do you need an assault weapon for?" Bruni asked. "How is that a part of American's right to arms to defend themselves? he asked.
"That's why the death toll climbed so high."
It's not yet clear how many of the 49 nightclub patrons who died in the Orlando shooting were killed by Mateen and how many may have been killed by police who stormed the building after a three-hour standoff.
At a morning news conference, a reporter asked one of the law enforcement officials, "Is there a chance that the people might have been "struck by friendly fire?"
"Well, I've said it's all part of the investigation, but I will say our SWAT officers, about 8 or 9 officers that opened fire, their backdrop was a concrete wall and they were being fired upon. So that's all part of the investigation."
All the victims have been removed from the bar, and the process of identifying all of them and notifying families continues, officials said.