AG orders transcripts of calls between Orlando terrorist and police edited to remove ISIS loyalty pledge

by Gregory Tomlin, |
U.S. President Barack Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch walk through the White House in Washington on May 16, 2016. | REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) – In keeping with the policy of President Barack Obama's administration to avoid associating terror attacks with radical Islam, Attorney General Loretta Lynch has ordered the FBI to redact transcripts of the calls between police negotiators and the terrorist who attacked the Pulse nightclub – an Orlando gay bar – to remove references the shooter's religious affiliations.

Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at the nightclub at 2 a.m. June 12. He wounded at least 50 others before SWAT officers stormed the building and killed him. Mateen declared his allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) before the shooting and, according to later reports, on social media during the attack.

Lynch said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that the FBI will be releasing a transcript of Mateen's calls with law enforcement. But it won't be complete.

"What we're announcing tomorrow is that the FBI is releasing a partial transcript of the killer's calls with law enforcement, from inside the club," Lynch said. "These are the calls with the Orlando PD negotiating team, who he was, where he was ... that will be coming out tomorrow and I'll be headed to Orlando on Tuesday."

Lynch, however, was asked by host Chuck Todd why the transcripts wouldn't be complete. She answered that they would be redacted because, "What we're not going to do is further proclaim this man's pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda."

"We're not going to hear him talk about those things?" Todd asked.

"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," Lynch said. "It will not be audio; it will be a printed transcript. 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."

Lynch said the information could be released since Mateen was dead.

There is, however, no question at this point that Mateen was an ISIS loyalist. ISIS issued a statement of responsibility for the attack shortly after the attack and warned several weeks before that Florida was a potential terrorist target.

The terror group called Mateen a "soldier of the caliphate."

"Over 100 Crusaders killed and injured after an attack on their gathering at a night club in America," and ISIS spokesman said via ISIS's al-Bayan radio Monday.

"We begin from America, where Allah has enabled brother Omar Mateen, one of the soldiers of the caliphate in America, to carry out a raid where he was able to infiltrate a crusaders' gathering at a gay night club in Orlando, Fla. Allah enabled him to inflict heavy casualties amongst the filthy crusaders. He killed and injured over a hundred of them. This is the biggest raid to be carried in America after the raid of Manhattan 16 years ago. All praise to Allah."

President Obama said last week that his administration avoided using the term radical Islam or linking terror attacks to "Islam" because terror groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda want to make the war between Islam and America or Islam and the West. That is why, he said, he believes his administration should limit references to terrorists as Islamic extremists.

"They want to claim that they are the true leaders of over a billion Muslims around the world who reject their crazy notions. They want us to validate them by implying that they speak for those billion-plus people; that they speak for Islam. That's their propaganda. That's how they recruit. And if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims with a broad brush and imply that we are at war with an entire religion – then we're doing the terrorists' work for them," President Obama said.