Pearl

Pearl

Monday, June 20, 2016

Before the Redaction: Early Reports on the Orlando Terrorist's Content of Phone Calls to the 911 Operator

Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen mentioned Boston bombers in 911 call:
Statement from Mass. State Police:

"During a conference call with federal law enforcement officials a short time ago, Massachusetts State Police and other local law enforcement authorities learned that the Orlando nightclub gunman, during his rampage, pledged allegiance to ISIS and referenced the Tsarnaev brothers, the terrorists who exploded bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon. In light of that information, the Commonwealth Fusion Center continues to share information and intelligence with federal authorities investigating the Orlando terrorist act as well as with police assigned to the Boston Regional Intelligence Center.

"As previously stated, the names of the gunman and his wife did not appear in any databases of potential terrorist suspects maintained by local authorities; however, law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts continue to work with federal authorities to learn more about the nature of the statement about the Tsarnaev brothers attributed to the Orlando terrorist.

"No further information is available at this time."
Orlando Gunman Omar Mateen Called 911 From Bathroom, Says House Intelligence Panel's Rep. Schiff : NPR
SCHIFF: Well, we had a number of briefings from the FBI over the last couple days. He was interviewed both, I guess, in 2013 and 2014 on the basis of concerning statements he made to co-workers. The FBI evidently ran down those statements and those leads - was not able to develop the evidence to bring some kind of a charge of material support for terrorism or any conspiracy case. And this is the reality, the FBI fans out across the country when people do see something and say something. But it doesn't always result in the bringing of charges. And it's simply not enough when people express even very offensive views, very radical views if there's no evidence that they're acting to effectuate them to bring about the violence.

I think the FBI director will address this probably later today. And certainly we're going to be scouring over those files again to see were there some things that were missed, some steps that could've been taken. But there's often going to be the case where people known to us...

INSKEEP: Right.

SCHIFF: ...That are a matter of concern are not apprehended - can't be apprehended and go on to commit acts of violence.

INSKEEP: OK. Two questions based on the briefings you received. This is a man who during the incident we're told - our justice correspondent Carrie Johnson who's with us in the studios confirms to us that he made a 911 call. He in some manner pledged allegiance to ISIS, we're told, during the attack. First, based on your briefings, do you know that that's actually what he did? Do you have any idea of how he worded it on that 911 call?

SCHIFF: Well, what my understanding is that he did call 911. It sounds from the press conference as well today that was during the period where he was holed up in the bathroom with hostages. And during that call, my understanding is that he pledged allegiance to Baghdadi and to ISIS.

INSKEEP: Oh, the caliph. OK.
Significance of Orlando gunman calling 911 during standoff:
The FBI said investigators are following up on about 100 leads in the Orlando attack that killed 50 people, including the gunman, Omar Mateen. It is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

The 29-year-old shooter opened fire around 2 a.m. ET at Pulse, a nightclub that's described itself as Orlando's hottest gay bar. He called 911 during his nearly three-hour standoff with the police, holding several hostages and pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Orlando shooting survivor: I can still hear everybody yelling, gunshots firing
"I think that's very significant because ISIS tells its followers that they must pledge bayat, they must pledge allegiance to ISIS before they die. We saw that in San Bernardino, and now we've seen it here," former CIA deputy director and CBS News senior security contributor Michael Morell said Monday on "CBS This Morning." "So I think it's very important because it shows that he was in touch with that ISIS messaging."
Orlando Nightclub Attack: What We Know:
President Obama says it appears Omar Mateen was radicalized by extremist propaganda disseminated on the Internet. Here’s an excerpt from his remarks at the White House made after he received a security briefing:

We’re still at the preliminary stages of the investigation, and there’s a lot more that we have to learn. The one thing that we can say is that this is being treated as a terrorist investigation. It appears that the shooter was inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated on the Internet. All those materials are currently being searched, exploited so we can have a better sense of the pathway that the killer took in making a decision to launch this attack. … At this stage, we see no clear evidence that he was directed externally. It does appear that at the last minute he pronounced allegiance to ISIL, but there’s no evidence so far that he was, in fact, directed by ISIL, and there are also, at this stage, no direct evidence that he was part of a larger plot. In that sense, it appears to be similar to what we saw in San Bernardino, but we don’t yet know. (emphasis added to President Obama's own words)
I don't know why the FBI decided to close the corral gate after the cattle have left by redacting the comments of this terrorist, but if it's to prevent word getting out that this was an act by an ISIS devotee, I think it's just a little late.

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