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Mounting criticism forces Justice Dept. release of uncensored transcripts of Orlando terror attack

June 21, 2016  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Mounting criticism forces Justice Dept. release of uncensored transcripts of Orlando terror attack

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The U.S. Justice Department released a full-length, uncensored transcript of the Orlando terrorist’s 911 call as the brutal massacre was taking place, reversing a previous decision to only release an edited version amid mounting pressure from Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.

According to Fox News, a version of the transcript that was initially released deleted the name of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdad and also omitted the word “Islamic State.”

The gunman, Omar Mateen, made a 50-second 911 call at 2:35 a.m. boasting responsibility for the attack and pledged allegiance to the leader of the ISIS.

The call was reportedly made just over a half hour into the massacre that occurred on June 12th at Pulse nightclub.

The call was reportedly made just over a half hour into the massacre that occurred on June 12th at Pulse nightclub.

“I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State,” the gunman said during the call.

The original version of the transcript that was released said: “I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].”

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, called the DOJ’s original decision to release an edited transcript “preposterous.”

Ryan said in a statement, “We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS … We also know he intentionally targeted the LGBT community. The administration should release the full, unredacted transcript, so the public is clear-eyed about who did this, and why.”

Rick Scott, governor of Florida, also criticized the release of the edited version of Mateen’s statements on the night he killed 49 innocent people and injured 53 more.

Scott told Fox News on Monday,”This is evil, this is ISIS. It’s radical Islam, at some point, we lost 49 lives here, and we lost a journalist who was beheaded by ISIS. We need a president that’s going to say I care about destroying ISIS.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch generated controversy on multiple talks shows on Sunday when she released the news that an edited version of the call would be published. Both political officials and the media were up in arms about the decision. On Monday, the White House informed the public that the decision was made solely by the DOJ.

Josh Earnest, White House spokesman, said at a press briefing: “All of the decisions about releasing the transcripts were made by Justice Department officials.”

“The view of the White House is that we should not interfere with an ongoing investigation and rather that those decisions should be made consistent with the assessment by law enforcement officials about the best way to advance the investigation,” Ernest continued.

The DOJ and FBI retracted its initial decision and chose to release the full unedited transcript on Monday afternoon.

Officials said in a joint statement: “Unfortunately, the unreleased portions of the transcript that named the terrorist organizations and leaders have caused an unnecessary distraction from the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime.”

The only transcript released was Mateen’s 911 calls; the other phone calls made to crisis negotiators have only been published in summarized form, with few direct quotes from Mateen himself.

According to the report released by the Justice Department, Mateen said twice during the 911 call and at least once during negotiations that he pleased allegiance to ISIS and al-Baghdadi. nvestigators, Mateen spoke to negotiators on three calls at 2:48, 3:03, and 3:24 a.m. The first call lasted nine minutes, while the third call was the shortest and only lasted three minutes.

Investigators said Mateen spoke to negotiators on three calls at 2:48, 3:03, and 3:24 a.m. The first call lasted nine minutes, while the third call was the shortest and only lasted three minutes.

Ron Hopper, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, said at a morning news conference on Monday that: “As the killer made these statements, he did so in a chilling, calm and deliberate manner.”

During one of the negotiation calls, Mateen said that the U.S. should stop bombing Syria and Iraq and that the bombings were the reason he was “out here right now.”

The negotiation calls may explain why officers waited until 5:14 a.m. before swarming the club to free the hostages and engage with Mateen in his final, deadly altercation.

During the three hours, officials were trying to negotiate with the gunman while he was holding several people hostage in the bathroom. Authorities reported that no shots were fired during that period. Mateen later died during a shootout with officers.

Mateen also reportedly told negotiators that he had a “vehicle outside that has some bombs. Just to let you know. You people are gonna get it, and I’m gonna ignite it if they try to do anything stupid.”

The gunman also claimed that he had an explosive vest similar to the one used in the terrorist attack in Paris back in November.

Mateen also said, “In the next few days, you’re going to see more of this type of action going on.”

He also reportedly informed the captives that he would be putting suicide vests on them. However, no bombs were discovered in Mateen’s car or in any of the vehicles parked outside.

Although both law enforcement officials and the administration say that ISIS did not instruct Mateen to commit the attack, Defense Secretary Ash Carter nonetheless used the massacre as an example of why the Islamic terrorist group must be stopped.

At a conference for the Center for a New American Security, Carter stated: “Orlando further steels our resolve to carry out all aspects of our coalition military campaign plan.”

He added, “First, destroying ISIL’s parent tumor in Iraq and Syria, which is necessary, but not sufficient; second, combating ISIL’s metastases worldwide wherever it appears; and third, helping protect the homeland.”

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