FBI Releases Orlando Shooter’s Calls to 911 and Police — With ISIS References Removed
Speaker Ryan: "Selectively editing this transcript is preposterous."
Today the FBI released partial transcripts of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen’s calls to police — but those transcripts did not include Mateen’s declaration of allegiance to the Islamic terrorist group ISIS. The scrub of Mateen’s declarations is deliberate, admitted U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
“What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda,” Lynch told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday.
“We will hear him talk about some of those things, but we are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance and that. It will not be audio, it will be a printed transcript,” continued America’s top attorney. “But it will begin to capture the back and forth between him and the negotiators, we’re trying to get as much information about this investigation out as possible. As you know, because the killer is dead, we have a bit more leeway there and we will be producing that information tomorrow.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) blasted the move to censure references to ISIS from the Madeen 911 call transcripts, and called on President Obama to reverse the decision. “Selectively editing this transcript is preposterous,” Ryan said, “We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS. We also know he intentionally targeted the LGBT community. The administration should release the full, unredacted transcript so the public is clear-eyed about who did this and why.”
Lynch’s argument is similar to that made by President Obama, who avoided mentioning “radical Islam” after Mateen’s shooting, despite his declaration of allegiance made to police in at least one 911 call during his shooting that killed 49 people and wounded more than 50. Obama reversed that policy after being heavily criticized by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and other top Republicans, saying the term multiple times on June 14 in scathing remarks even as he questioned the value in doing so.
Lynch also told CBS that “we’re trying to uncover everything we can about this killer’s motivations, what led him to this particular place, this particular club. Why did he target the LGBT community, a community that so often is the victim of hate crime, in both an act of hate and terror?” She went on to say “we have had a lot of conflicting information over the course of the investigation. So that information will be coming out. And we do want to be as transparent as possible in this investigation, so people can see not only what he was thinking, what he was doing, but also the kind of information that we’re looking at.”
According to Lynch, Mateen did not mention anything related to targeting members of the LGBT community in his three calls to police. However, this did not stop her from saying, “we know that he apparently had some concerns or issues with the LGBT community. As I mentioned before, this is a community that is often targeted by acts of hate. And so we’re very concerned about that issue as well.”
“It was also Latin night at the club. So, again, we’re very concerned about the motivations that led him to that particular club at that particular place. And we want to make sure that those communities know that we are there to protect them as well.”
A confusing picture of Mateen has been created as more information has been released in the eight days since the shooting. Mateen’s father said he wasn’t religious, but that he had expressed anger at seeing two gay people kiss. Mateen was seen frequently at Pulse and used an app popular among same-sex attracted men.
Mateen also acted in a mentally unstable way, according to a former co-worker, and he physically abused his ex-wife, who said he was gay.
However, he also posted on social media about Islam and, according to multiple outlets, was heard by hostages at the club expressing anger over U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan.