Noor Zahi Salman, the wife of killed Orlando radical Islamist terrorist Omar Mateen, who targeted and shot to death 49 at a “gay” club in Orlando, may face some sort of charges related to the massacre, a couple sources with knowledge of the investigation told CNN.
So far, the talk is preliminary. As CNN put it: “Investigators are trying to determine whether Salman should face charges for not reporting what she knew, a source said.”
Those charges would not be as a co-conspirator, but rather for keeping silent about her husband’s stated desire to commit an act of jihad – a statement Salman told FBI agents he made, post-Orlando massacre. She also told the agents she did not know of his specific plans to attack patrons of the Orlando club, Pulse.
Salman, Mateen’s second wife, married him n 2011. She told authorities she noticed Mateen’s behavior had changed in the lead-up to the terror attack, and she tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade him against committing any acts of violence.
Salman also said that when Mateen left the home they shared in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Saturday, the day of the massacre, he lied to her about where he was headed, CNN reported.
But other sources, mostly unnamed because of their ties to the investigation, said to CNN that Salman knew more than she’s now letting on, and that she had at least some specifics of what her husband had planned in the way of an attack.
Authorities said Salman actually traveled with Mateen to various spots so he could scout the pros-cons of an attack. For instance, Salman traveled to Disney World with Mateen on April 26, and it’s now known that site was actually one of the spots he considered for attack.
Disney security officials, meanwhile, gave a statement to the FBI saying they believed that April 26 trip was Mateen’s way of conducting surveillance on the community, in consideration of a terror strike.
Law enforcement also say that during these travels to Disney and other potential terror strike areas, Mateen purchased several of the weapons he used in the Orlando attack. It’s not known if Salman was actually with Mateen when he bought the weapons, but law enforcement officials are trying to determine if she knew of those purchases as they occurred because it would shed light on the extent of her knowledge of her husband’s plans.
Both agents with the FBI and officials with the U.S. Justice Department are part of the investigation into Salman, to determine what, if any, charges she might face. Among the talked-about charges is one called misprision, which is when an individual deliberately conceals knowledge of a pending crime.
“It appears she has some knowledge of what was going on, visiting some of the other sites,” said Sen. Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “We don’t know whether she was involved and knew about the purchase of the guns, which took place only about a week before the attack. But she definitely is, I guess you would say, a person of interest right now and appears to be cooperating and can provide us with some important information on who this guy is, what his motivations were and what his plans were.”