ORLANDO, Fla. — A report on the FBI shooting of Ibragim Todashev answered a number of questions, but one mystery remains: the identity of the special agent who shot Todashev seven times.

ORLANDO, Fla. — A report on the FBI shooting of Ibragim Todashev answered a number of questions, but one mystery remains: the identity of the special agent who shot Todashev seven times.


The anonymity is consistent with the agency’s practice of not revealing the names of agents who shoot suspects, regardless of whether the shooting was justified. In contrast, Florida requires local and state law-enforcement agencies to identify police officers and deputies involved in shootings.


The agent would not let Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton conduct a tape-recorded interview for an independent investigation of the deadly fight that erupted in May after Todashev "hesitantly, but indisputably, admitted complicity" in a triple homicide in Massachusetts with possible links to the Boston Marathon bombing, according to Ashton and the FBI’s and Department of Justice’s findings.


Two Massachusetts State Police investigators who took part in the interview in Todashev’s home in Orlando received anonymity from the FBI as well, records show.


Spokesmen for the FBI and its parent agency, the Department of Justice, said they could not comment until they reviewed the policy on naming agents.


Ashton said he received access to the FBI’s shooting-investigation records under an agreement that he would not disclose the names of the agent and the two Massachusetts investigators. Their names were blacked out on the reports made public Tuesday.


Ashton did not express concern about the FBI’s granting anonymity to the participants. But he said a single, independent investigation by local authorities would have allayed concerns about the objectivity of the probe.


"It would have been better if the FBI had brought in local law enforcement as the investigative agency," Ashton said in an interview this week with The Orlando Sentinel. "When you have an agency investigating itself, there is a natural tendency to assume they’re going to cover. And even if that’s not the case, it’s just better to have an independent investigation."


Ashton said he is confident he received sufficient information to clear the unnamed FBI agent, but the ACLU of Florida disagreed.


"The report from the State Attorney’s office has partially lifted the cloud of secrecy that has surrounded the FBI shooting of Mr. Todashev, but the important questions (remain) about who is held accountable when the FBI kills someone and about the balance between the public’s right to know the facts…," Howard Simon, executive director in Miami of the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in an e-mail to the Sentinel.


"It’s especially hard to imagine that anyone can call this investigation ‘complete’ since the investigator had no direct access to the agent who fired the fatal seven shots killing Mr. Todashev."


The shooting remains under investigation by the FBI. A separate review by the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division found no fault.


The rare instances of FBI agents being identified include a 2002 shooting in Maryland. Special Agent Christopher Braga shot an innocent 20-year-old man in the face thinking he was a bank robber. The FBI paid $1.65 million to settle lawsuits over the shooting, according to newspaper accounts.


That was one of 150 agent-involved shootings from 1993 to 2011 that the FBI’s own reviews deemed justified, according to reporting by The New York Times after Todashev’s death.


Other federal agencies identify agents involved in Florida shootings.


In 1999, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration tried but failed to withhold the identity of Jerald Lucas, a rookie DEA agent who shot and killed a suspect during a cocaine deal in Orlando. Finding that nothing in state law exempted the disclosure of Lucas’ name, Lucas was identified and testified before an Orange County grand jury, which cleared him, records show.


In discussing his and the FBI’s investigations, Ashton pointed out differences in how federal authorities interviewed witnesses and handled evidence.


The FBI does not use voice or video technology to record statements from FBI agents involved in shootings. Instead, agents in deadly force cases are interviewed by other FBI agents, who take notes and later write summaries for the agents under investigation to approve and sign, according to Ashton.


"We normally get a recorded statement," Ashton said. "We find that the sort of nuance and detail that you get from a recorded statement is far superior to what you get from a summarized statement."


And the FBI team "shoot team" dispatched from Washington did not conduct forensic testing considered routine by Central Florida homicide standards until pressured by Ashton’s staff, the state attorney said.


That included an analysis of blood on a coffee table the unnamed FBI agent said Todashev flipped on to his head, gashing his scalp and triggering the conflict that ended with Todashev’s death.


"The initial response I got from one of the … the shoot-team investigators was, ‘Well, I don’t think there’s enough blood there to test.’ (And) I looked at her with absolute incredulity," Ashton said.


"I got the impression they had no intention of testing any of that. We insisted they look for latent prints on the pole that (Todashev) supposedly held. Both to determine if we would find his prints but also to exclude the possibility of having the agent’s prints on it so people wouldn’t claim they planted it."