U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on NBC News the administration was going to remove all mention of Omar Mateen’s pledges of allegiance to ISIS on the now-infamous emergency 9-1-1 calls he made during his gunfire massacre at an Orlando “gay” club.
She didn’t really explain, except to say it was an anti-propaganda issue.
“What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups and further his propaganda,” Lynch said, on NBC. “We are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance [to ISIS].”
An FBI agent, Ronald Hoppeer, meanwhile, told reporters at a Monday press conference releasing the full, unedited version of the tapes might “inflame” others to commit their own acts of terror, he said, the Hill reported.
“We’re not going to propagate violent rhetoric that comes from other people, whether it comes from here or overseas,” Hopper said. “We’re not going to continue to put their names out front.”
A partial transcript of the back-and-forth between Mateen and emergency officials is due for release Monday. And while media around the world widely reported Mateen’s statements on this call included pledges of allegiance to an ISIS chief, Lynch said what’s going to be released to the public won’t contain those remarks.
Critics of the scrubbing say the feds are bending over backwards to show radical Islamism – something President Obama is reluctant to use as a phrase to describe acts of terror committed by radical Islamists – is not as big a threat as some in the fields of politics, national security and military intelligence would suggest.
“This is not just a simple wording issue,” said Ric Grenell, a former aide to U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, on “Fox & Friends” on Monday. “The fact that Loretta Lynch is somehow redacting the specific enemy that is being called out here is a PR move.”
Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor, also said on the same show that it’s not helpful in the investigative process to hide or conceal root causes.
“Why didn’t they do this with the Mafia, to spare Italian-Americans? Why? Because if you did,” Giuliani said, “you would never make the connection [that ultimately] brought them down.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan called the redaction “preposterous” and unhelpful.
“We know the shooter was a radical Islmist extremist inspired by ISIS,” he said. “We also know he intentionally targeted the LGBT community. The administration should release the full, un-redacted transcript so the public is clear-eyed about who did this and why.”
And Florida Gov. Rick Scott slammed the administration, saying Team Obama was turning a blind eye to the realities of counter-terror warfare.
“This seems like it is another example of not focusing on the evil here,” Scott said. “This is evil. It’s ISIS. It’s radical Islam. … We all would like answers. [Lynch] should release everything that doesn’t impact the investigation.”
Mateen was shot and killed by police after he murdered 49 and injured 53 at Pulse, the “gay” hot spot in Orlando. But in the lead-up to his own death, Mateen made a 9-1-1 emergency call in which he declared his support for ISIS leader Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Lynch, during another interview on “Face the Nation” on CBS, said investigators are trying to determine why exactly Mateen targeted the “gay” community.
Released portions of the transcript of Mateen’s emergency telephone call during the shootings show the Justice Department went so far to scrub the Islamic references as to switch out the word “Allah,” the Muslim name for that faith’s god, for “God.”
As Town Hall reported, Mateen spoke Arabic during the call and offered a prayer of “praise be Allah,” calling for “prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of Allah.” But in the edited version of the transcript released by the Justice Department, that prayer reads: “Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [In Arabic].”
The FBI announced Monday it was not releasing any audio of the call, a decision Town Hall’s Katie Pavlich writes: “Could it be because Americans will hear Omar Mateen speaking Arabic and saying the words we hear so often, ‘Allahu akbar,’ debunking the narrative again that the attack on Pulse night club had little to do with jihad?”