Why would the FBI try to hide this? Is it because it would have proved right away that Mateen was a terrorist? Sure seems like it.
The domestic terrorist behind the Orlando nightclub massacre was motivated by a Pentagon drone strike in Iraq a month before the shooting, according to police transcripts made public last week.
Conversations between Omar Mateen and an Orlando police negotiator on June 12 were kept secret by FBI and local police until Friday. The secrecy contributed to misleading media accounts of the terrorist’s motives in the days after the killings.
The transcripts were released by Orlando police Friday after a Florida court hearing held in response to a lawsuit filed by several news organizations.
Mateen killed 49 people during the attack on the Pulse, a gay nightclub, and wounded 53 others. Police eventually stormed the club and killed Mateen in a shootout after talks aimed at convincing him to surrender failed.
During an exchange in the early morning hours of June 12, an Orlando Police Department negotiator identified only as “Andy” asked Mateen, who was speaking by cell phone from inside the club, to tell him what was going on.
“Yo, the air strike that killed Abu Wahid a few weeks ago… that’s what triggered it, okay?” said Mateen, who earlier in the conversation identified himself as a follower the Islamic State terror group.
“They should have not bombed and killed Abu Wahid,” the former security guard declared. “Do your fucking homework and figure out who Abu Wahid is, okay?”
Additionally, Mateen praised one of the bombers of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and another domestic terrorist whose name was transcribed as unintelligible in the released transcript.
At other points, Mateen told the negotiator that the United States needed to stop all bombing in Iraq and Syria.
Initial reports from several news outlets reporting on the mass shooting variously described Mateen as gay, a “homophobe” and a “wife beater,” despite his having made claims of allegiance to the Islamic State.
The New York Times, for example, stated in an editorial three days after the shooting that the “precise motive [of Mateen] remains unclear.” The editorial then said it was “evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians.” Investigators later dismissed as a false claim that Mateen was driven to the killing spree by gay self-hatred.
The Orlando attack was the deadliest terrorist incident since the September 11, 2001, attacks. The FBI would later reveal it investigated Mateen twice but claimed there was a lack of evidence he was linked to Islamic terrorism.
The Orlando attack came just over a month after the Pentagon announced on May 9 that a U.S.-led coalition air strike killed Abu Wahib, a middle-level Islamic State military leader in charge of Iraq’s Anbar province on May 6.
Wahib was blown up along with three other jihadists in a drone strike on the car they men were riding in. The terror leader had been a high profile figure who appeared in several gruesome execution videos.
A defense official said the raid that killed Wahib employed a missile-firing unmanned aerial vehicle against the terrorist’s car. The fact that a drone was used in the attack also may explain the government’s reluctance to release the transcript.
The secrecy surrounding the transcripts of Mateen’s comments appears based on Obama administration fears that publicizing the jihadist’s statements would fuel further attacks.
The administration has sought to play down domestic ISIS-inspired terror attacks as disconnected from the Islamic ideology. The number of ISIS-linked attacks has increased over the past year.
FBI and Orlando police spokesmen declined to comment when asked why the full transcript was not made public earlier.
Heather Fagan, deputy chief of staff in the Orlando mayor’s office, said the transcripts were withheld by the FBI during the Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation and released last week.
“The Department of Justice and the FBI recently advised the city of the FBI’s determination that the 911 calls no longer need to be protected as their release would not compromise the ongoing investigation into the Pulse nightclub massacre,” she told the Free Beacon.