Attorney General: transcripts of Orlando shooter’s phone calls will omit references to terrorism and allegiance to ISIS

In yet another attempt to infantilize the American people and slant the news in such a way that Islam is exculpated in mass murders by Muslims, the Attorney General of the U.S. has decided to bowdlerize the transcripts of the phone calls that the Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, made during his murderous rampage. Here’s some audio from Attorney General Loretta Lynch interviewed by Chuck Todd on t.v.’s Meet the Press show. I’ve put part of the transcript below.

My emphasis is in bold:

LORETTA LYNCH: 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. 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.

CHUCK TODD: Including the hostage negotiation part of this?

LYNCH: Yes, it will be primarily a partial transcript of his calls with the hostage negotiators.

CHUCK TODD: You say partial, what’s being left out?

LYNCH: What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda.

CHUCK TODD: We’re not going to hear him talk about those things?

LYNCH: 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. 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. As you know, because the killer is dead, we have a bit more leeway there and we will be producing that information tomorrow.

A piece at Real Clear Politics reports more:

Salonreported that: “Everybody who was in the bathroom who survived could hear him talking to 911, saying the reason why he’s doing this is because he wanted America to stop bombing his country.”

The Washington Postalso noted that during his 911 call from the club, the gunman referenced the Boston Marathon bombers and claimed “that he carried out the shooting to prevent bombings, [echoing] a message the younger Boston attacker had scrawled in a note before he was taken into custody by police.”

FBI Director James Comey said at a press conference that the shooter’s past comments about Islamist groups were “inflammatory and contradictory.”

“We see no clear evidence that he was directed externally,” the president added. “It does appear that at the last minute, he announced allegiance to ISIL. But there is no evidence so far that he was in fact directed by ISIL, and at this stage there’s no direct evidence that he was part of a larger plot.” ISIL is another name for ISIS, or the Islamic State.

Now there are two ways to construe this. The charitable one, which the government will undoubtedly use if pressed, is that showing the shooter’s ideological alligience will inspire copycat killings, so they’re just trying to prevent more violence. That may sound good, but we already know about the ISIS and Islamist connection from previous reporting. So that’s not a surprise.

I suspect the real reason is that the government, in a misguided effort to exculpate extremist religious ideology (perhaps to placate the American Muslim community), is simply redacting the transcript to omit all the killer’s motivations for his act. This is perfectly in line with Obama’s recurring policy of avoiding the mention of religion at any cost.

If that is indeed the reason, which seems the best explanation to me, then our government has not only insulted our intelligence, but kept useful information from us. In what world does such censorship, for whatever reason, take precedence over our right to know what really happened?  And, as I said, we already know what the killer said about ISIS and his allegiance.

And really, who cares if Mateen was directed by ISIS or simply carried out an act that ISIS publicly announced was specially approved for Ramadan? The FBI will find out if Mateen had accomplices (his wife may be one) or overseas connections. Can we really say that the religious angle of this murder is completely irrelevant?

And that, indeed, is what the Regressive Left is saying: it was either homophobia or mental illness that prompted the murder spree. The mental illness excuse I can’t judge, for it’s often used tautologically: someone who does such a deed must have been mentally ill. Homophobia may be relevant in light of the report that Mateen frequented gay clubs in the months before his act. But homophobia (or mental illness) and a faith that demonizes gays—those are toxic combinations.

h/t: Orli


  1. Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink


  2. Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Early reports also said he pledge allegiance to Hezboallah, a Shiite group, along with Daesh. That would indicate that this man was simply a self-loathing homosexual nutcase and not a terrorist at all. He didn’t know the difference between a Sunni and Shiite. I think it is cowardly not to report the entire transcript.

    • somer
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      No not a terrorist but so addled by the extremist version of faith he was raised in (Many articles about his background) that he eventually
      A) “redeemed” his latent homosexuality or else other torments by killing numerous gays and dying in the process
      B) He got added brownie points in paradise by doing jihad against the infidel. It didn’t matter who he claimed allegiance to he just wanted to go at the kuffar.

      The problem is that too much of the teachings lend themselves to hate, and those raised in extremist versions can push this to another level. The texts need a modernised interpretation (different from Reformation – altho reformation did some of this in that it gave greater emphasis to respecting the state – in Islam the state is supposed to represent the religion so thats another project). Christianity had plenty of teething problems – but it happened eventually. A few hundred years ago we were all dying like flies of plague because the Church taught that its sinful to pay attention to the body by washing ourselves let alone washing clothes, cleaning homes, seeking clean water etc. People simply never washed exept on birth, just before marriage, and as a corpse!

      The New and particularly the Old testaments are not pretty but they don’t contain the percent of unpleasantness. Through the philosophical and institutional inheritances of Christianity with its additional Pauline split between church and state and the Jewish reliance on the Talmud for interpretation – plus the enlightenment the other two Abrahamic faiths for the most part view themselves historically and accept science and secularism.

      55% of Quran deals with how loathsome non believers, kuffar and apostates are. The hadith are just as bad or worse. Then theres the sira – account of the life of the Prophet where he conducted an average of a battle a month for the last 10 years of his life, killed all the men of defeated jewish tribes, had 64 slaves, 11 wives etc.

      It only hurts Islam that it hasn’t attempted to modernise – its killing itself with rabid sectarianism just as christians killed themselves in the Wars of religion and the ignorance that spread the plagues.

      • Posted June 20, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

        Why can’t he be called a terrorist? Does one need to have indisputable ties to a large organization in order to be a terrorist?

        I’d say a terrorist is as a terrorist does.

        • somer
          Posted June 21, 2016 at 4:42 am | Permalink

          Yes I sort of qualified that – it was certainly a terrorist act. In terms of him being a terrorist though in sense of part of a terrorist organisation Im not sure he was as it were working with members of a terrorist organisation but rather inspired by them and jihadist goals.

    • somer
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Yes maybe the transcript should be published and debate allowed – because from whats been reported already separately he claimed allegiance to/sympathies with
      hezbollah, al nusra front and ISIS on various occasions. One article said he accessed ISIS websites at one point.
      He obviously didn’t act directly for any of these organisations – he just wanted to proclaim his identification of hate for the kuffar – and eventually acted on it. He wasn’t a terrorist in the organisational sense but was in the political action sense.

      Its insulting to the public who need to know the nature of the problem and the full report should definitely be released and I agree it undermines the Democrats if they keep taking this line even in domestic statements – its actually playing to Islamists that they are so obviously afraid of calling a spade a spade

    • Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

      Agree with you totally.

      • Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Alternatively, Sunni/Shi’a anti-American Islamic terrorism goes back to the 90s when Iran in full ecumenical mode sponsored Shi’a Hezbollah in Lebanon to train Sunni al-Qaeda in suicide bomb techniques.

        We also know that Iran has supported the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Hamas in Gaza. Yes there is a theological split in Islam, but we shouldn’t expect sectarianism to always preclude tactical cooperation against the west or Israel.

        It is not inconceivable for a ‘sophisticated’ jihadist to support both Hezbollah and ISIS. Especially as Hezbollah are supporting Assad, and Syria is the overwhelmingly dominant trade-partner with ISIS for oil and gas.

        We know that Hezbollah are the originators in the 80s of the modern jihadist suicide/murder operation. There is a straight line from them through AQ to al-Qaeda in Iraq, founded by AQ seed money in 1999, to IS to ISIS. Same methods, same trainers, same fundamentalism, same temporary political marriages of convenience.

        • Posted June 23, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          You are right. I remember also that Sunni and Shia Muslims happily collaborated in the torture-murder of Ilan Halimi in France.

    • Posted June 20, 2016 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Why not a terrorist? See my response to somer above.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 21, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Just congenially curious, what difference(s) is (are) there between the two to prompt members of one group to kill members of the other?

      Is it because one group is more “radical” than the other? Who is to say? Do there exist somewhere two neat and tidy lists of Islamic entities, one labeled “Radical” and the other “Non-Radical”?

      • somer
        Posted June 22, 2016 at 5:02 am | Permalink

        Religion – and strategic approach.
        Al queda believes the struggle must at least primarily be against the kuffar, whereas ISIS believe the struggle against what they see as impurity in Islam itself must come first in order to make and maintain the state – so about attacking what they see as heretics (Shias in particular) destroying states they see as insufficiently islamic or too influenced by western secularism, or shias or Israel. Al Qaeda isn’t prepared to kill fellow muslims in the way ISIS and its predecessors in Iraq were. Isis founder came from Jordan but his group was behind much of the killing of shias in Iraq after the US invasion of that country. Al Qaeda got dragged into doing some of it but their leaders always disapproved saying the Kuffar struggle first. Then ISIS spread to Syria and enough appeal now to openly appeal to jihadists in the West to come to them in Syria or to commit atrocities against the Kuffar in the West (using just internet inspiration – not just cell based like Al Qaeda was and is). ISIS have become for the time being, the more successful model. Al Nusra front is an Al Queda group backed by Qatar which normally backs Muslim Brotherhood – but its anti ISIS which Saudis have more affinity with. Saudi strategy is to keep its jihadists outside Saudi by deporting or jailing them if they are likely to be agains the state, but practise and spread radical islam so be seen as good islamic leaders. The Shias backed by Iran cause their own trouble against Israel and Sunnis – the religion tends to foment alternately or simultaneously sectarianism and jihadism. Occasionally opposed sects cooperate as interests and allegiances change. Worry is the more unstable the area gets the more moderate people get silenced or have to leave and extreme models left.

        • Posted June 22, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

          Yes, Somer, it’s salutary to remind ourselves that occasionally and at significant points Sunni and Shi’a jihadists work together. For example, the Shi’a Hezbollah trained Sunni al-Qaeda in suicide bomb techniques in the early 90s: in fact modern jihadist martyrdom operations are a Shi’a reinvention from 80s Lebanon.

          Assad and Iran take advantage of common western assumptions of undying Shi’a/Sunni enmity: in Syria the pro-Assad forces overwhelmingly kill the rebel forces as opposed to ISIS, while simultaneously propagandizing that they are the west’s best defence against ISIS.

          Yet I think we can overstate this idea that AQ attacks the far enemy and ISIS the near enemy. After all, AQ ideology is in ISIS’s birth-pangs: ISIS’s parent organization was founded in Afghanistan in 2000.

          As early as 2007, ISI, the immediate predecessor organization to ISIS, was the inspiration for the Glasgow airport attack: and even back then ISI was bank-rolling AQ and had already declared itself a state. It’s not the case that ISIS’s western European atrocities predate ISIS’s emergence. There was the murderous May 2014 attack on a Brussels Jewish museum, guided by the Belgian-Moroccan Abdelhamid Abbaoud, the organizer of the Paris attacks in 2015.

          Further ISIS attacks in Western Europe came before their military setbacks in Iraq and Syria. They aren’t a response to home military defeat. There was the attempt to blow up churches and police stations in France in April 2015 and the thwarted plot to kill passengers on a French train last August. Abbaoud, an amateur undertaker who exulted at the bloody corpses of infidels and apostates in Syria in 2013, was probably involved in those plots. It’s likely that Abbaoud was the connection between ISIS in Iraq and Syria and the European terrorist cells which he trained: parenthetically, my local MP has asked questions about his visit to Birmingham UK in 2015.

          Statistically, ISIS’s foreign recruits are more likely or willing to commit martyrdom operations both within and outside the Caliphate. This attracts more foreign recruits. And yes, Somer, ISIS’s model is more attractive to jihadis at the moment than al-Qaeda’s. Anecdotal evidence: Jihadi John left for Syria to join AQ’s al-Nusra but jumped ship to ISIS.

          I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there are more ISIS sleeper cells in Europe. You can’t rule out future ‘lone wolf inspired-by-the web’ attacks but ISIS has form in organizing networks, al-Qaeda-style, to attack the far enemy.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    This is what we refer to as political spin and it is what the politicians do best. Obama is going to hurt himself, breaking over backward to down-play the Islamic terrorist.

    Also, they should be pretty embarrassed by the fact that this guy had not be found out long ago. The FBI investigated him, at least twice and knew much of his background and problems. Yet they need to close files and move on so that is what happened. The republicans don’t need to buy much ammo on this one because the democrats are giving them all they need.

  4. Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    It’s almost like they think it unwise for people to hear the message “I am a Muslim, and homosexuality and the tolerance of homosexuality is a capital offense according to the tenants of our theology (has revealed to us by our deity), and therefore I am performing my righteous duty by this act.”

    They must have called in all the so-called experts on such a situation, and the experts came down on the course of action of obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate.

    • Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      .. of course I was paraphrasing..

    • Filippo
      Posted June 21, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      “They must have called in all the so-called experts on such a situation, and the experts came down on the course of action of obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate.”

      If obfuscating was the goal, they might as well have called in Ibrahim Hooper (of the American Islamic Council, or whatever exactly is its name), whom Hitch raked over the coals.

  5. Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    The newest article from Maajid Nawaz (in the Daily Beast) about the Orlando killings and the murder of the British MP last week, is very good. He goes after the regressives for helping the far right by not being honest. Sorry, no link, but it shouldn’t be hard to find. And it’s worth finding and reading.

  6. jimroberts
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink


  7. Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    It would be nice if there were an officially announced policy about such things, but …

  8. p. puk
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I suspect the real reason is that the government, in a misguided effort to exculpate extremist religious ideology

    I suspect that it’s better to hide the terrorist rhetoric from the dumber half of the US population.

    The smarter half would not gain anything from hearing it but your average redneck might be more inclined to vote Trump if they did.

    Besides, what good will it do to get everyone riled up and bloodthirsty for more foreign incursions? We all know that we cannot defeat Islam with bombs. Islam must be conquered by Muslims.

    • Dower_House
      Posted June 21, 2016 at 5:56 am | Permalink

      “Islam must be conquered by Muslims”

      Absolutely, with perhaps some help from ex-Muslims.

      The West has been very succesfuol in making things worse eveer since Blair and Bush.

    • Posted June 23, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      “We all know that we cannot defeat Islam with bombs.”
      No, we do not. We just know that we do not wish to use as many and heavy bombs as were needed to defeat German Nazism and Japanese militarism.

      “Islam must be conquered by Muslims.”
      I disagree. Islam is hurting and killing many non-Muslims, and I do not see why they should wait until this threat is conquered by Muslims, too many of whom seem to have no intention to conquer Islam.

      As for the redneck, he will have an additional reason to vote Trump, namely, that the Democrats are lying in order to continue pushing Islam down people’s throat.

  9. Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    The story is spreading. Here in the UK the BBC Radio 4 ‘P.M.’ flagship news programme just carried a report saying that Mateen committed the crimes in response to bombing of Iraq and Syria. The FBI spokesman felt constrained to editorialize that Mateen’s interpretation of Islam had nothing to do with true Islam.

    It brings to mind Hitchens and termites.

    • Filippo
      Posted June 21, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      “The FBI spokesman felt constrained to editorialize that Mateen’s interpretation of Islam had nothing to do with true Islam.”

      Well, it seems I’ve found at least one source – the FBI – who can vouch for/define “true” Islam.

  10. GBJames
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    My bet is that this policy is directed more at our Islamic “allies” abroad (be it Jordan or Saudi Arabia) than at American Muslims.

  11. Scott Draper
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    “What we’re not going to do is further … his propaganda.”

    This policy has a long history in law enforcement, so it wasn’t invented for this context. Whether this is the real reason or not, I can’t say, because I have no idea on how to make an objective assessment of the probabilities.

  12. Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I propose that the FBI infantilizes the American public with the omission of information as a strategy to solicit more intel from bystanders.

    Although likely unintentional on his part, this is similar to Jerry stating that he doesn’t himself get information from Twitter; readers then get the intel from Twitter for him.

    Minimizing the common knowledge of ISIS involvement evokes a state of asymmetric knowledge in some readers. That is, all readers won’t be certain of what the FBI knows and some may then offer what they do know.

    As a bonus, there is also less prestige given to ISIS precisely because the common knowledge is restricted.

    • Posted June 20, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Further, the best intel is likely going to come from within the American Muslim community. It’s in everyone’s best interest that Islamic Americans offer up what they know. To that end, the omissions are not just attempts to keep people from radicalizing. They’re subtle behavioral cues, requests: omissions motivating the itch to share. The FBI wants information from those closest to ISIS without spelling that out.

      • Posted June 20, 2016 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        Charleen, I’d like to see your breakdown of how and where the FBI statement contains cues to motivate ISIS members to share what they know about Omar Mateen, given that Obama in all likelihood already has in place moles inside ISIS in Iraq.

        The only part of the report which I saw as being apparently tangential was the fact that this Afghani-American spoke in Arab to the negotiators. Some fraudulent Islamic ‘scholars’, such as the ever entertaining Walter Mitty of Islam, Mo Ansar, don’t even understand Arabic (I am almost certain). The very fact that Mateen spoke to the police in Arabic likely inheres in his statement of solidarity with ISIS. And the fact that he had the patience and intelligence to learn a foreign language doesn’t chime with this idea of him as a rackety, unfocussed individual.

        • Posted June 20, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          Omission is a speech act with a function and an audience. I have above argued that Obama’s coded communiqués function to promote cooperation from within the American Muslim community.

          If some members of the American Muslim community are corrupt or unstable and would radicalize under language that lumps them with ISIS, but others are honest, possibly having information of use to the FBI, the omission can be detected by the honest members, prompting them to be of help, while also not being blatant enough to further inflame the unstable.

          • GBJames
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

            In my opinion that shows scant respect for the integrity of “honest members” and and infantilizes them.

            • Posted June 20, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

              It creates a veil of disproportionate knowledge for the purpose of getting people to volunteer information seemingly of their own volition. Whereas if the administration blatantly just asked for people to step forward, fewer would be likely to do so.

              It’s a paternalistic, behavioral strategy.

              • GBJames
                Posted June 20, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

                “It’s a paternalistic, behavioral strategy.”

                It is, indeed. Paternalism treats adults as children.

                Regarding “a veil of disproportionate knowledge”, I can only quip that the target audience here is already used to veiling things. So perhaps the strategy is well tailored after all.

              • Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

                A recent flight (Seattle to Chicago), I took note of the form and function of the preflight words on what to do with the life rafts should we crash into the ocean. Amused, it occurred to me that the instructions, however irrelevant, let all the passengers know that someone else was in charge.

                I think Obama is doing something similar. Yes, it’s patronizing and paternalistic, but his language communicates that he’s the one framing the reality we’re in, not ISIS.

              • Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

                It looks like Obama’s framing of the reality, or rather the FBI’s, just got mugged by it: CNN reports that the whole transcript is being released.

              • Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

                Hah! Yeah, it sounds like somebody came to their senses.

                Or might it be more strategy–this time promoting trust? Release to people “secret” information and it makes them feel empowered, somehow on the inside.

                I’m not sure that I feel any less patronized.

  13. Kevin
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Avoiding the mention of religion is becoming a bit like the Streisand Effect. I think it has already reached the minds of most Americans that religion, and, in particular, Islam, can be a primary motivation for developing hatred for fellow humans based on ancient texts. People would rather not talk about it; they would rather it all just go way.

  14. Jim
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Think you’re wrong on this one, Jerry. Not giving his propaganda any free advertising is one decent potential reason; but another, unspoken, may be that the investigation is still going on. If Mateen did mention specific groups, even specific contacts, then investigators are still scouring his phone and computer history. Why tip off any potential instigators that they’ve been fingered?
    Now, that’s just as speculative as your accusation, but I won’t be upset if it’s wrong – it’s just a possibility. You seem pretty set on the conclusion that’ll best confirm your other beliefs, though that conclusion has no more basis at this point than any other.

    • Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      If there are groups and individuals mentioned that would compromise national security investigations, then by all means redact them. But otherwise I see no need to censor the transcripts.

      As for the accusation that I’m concluding what I want (and I said I didn’t know for sure), that’s just rude–and untrue. I am going off the evidence that the White House wants to do everything possible to keep religion out of this issue. And they didn’t say anything about security concerns, just about not wanting to publicize his “allegiances.”

      Let me give you a tip about posting here. Your post was fine up to the last sentence, and then it became ad hom if not rude.

  15. Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    “This is perfectly in line with Obama’s recurring policy of avoiding the mention of religion at any cost.”

    I wish the same “avoidance” policy was observable when it’s (re)funding time for the WH Office of Religious Bullshit.

  16. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    My initial reaction was the same as yours. But, as you say, “we already know about the ISIS and Islamist connection from previous reporting” (including reporting done directly by the Obama administration). So why give Daesh “pull quotes” from Mateen for its online propaganda?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I have a hard time with that one. To prevent ISIS a few words they can use for propaganda we hold and edit to the American public what they have a right to hear. Is the fear of these terrorist that big?

      I want all the sides of this that are available. The guns laws that stink, the Islamic Terrorism angle and everything in between. In other words, give me the whole story and let me choose up my own sides without help from ISIS or Trump or the political spin experts.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you generally on the right-to-hear-all-sides issue, Randy. But I don’t have a problem with being given a paraphrase of what Mateen said, instead of a direct quote, so long as it provides the full and accurate substance of what he said. It seems to me to be of a piece with burying that bag-of-bones bin Laden at sea, rather than giving him a grave for jihadist pilgrimages.

        Anyway, if we’re going to insist on calling things what they are, we should jettison the “terrorism” label altogether and substitute the more-accurate “Salafi jihadism.” It’s fine by me if we call the War on Terror the “War on Wahhabism.” But it probably won’t sit well with our Middle-Eastern “allies,” especially some on the Arabian peninsula, where royal families fund the Wahhabi madrassas from which jihadis are recruited, as part of their devil’s deal with the clerics to keep jihadism outside their own borders.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          War on Terrorism was always a bad idea, I think that was a George Bush term. Mainly because it’s just wrong. Going to war with an idea or ideology is a good indication the person going to war does not know what war is or the concept of it. You declare or go to war with a country or a place. Going to war with something else and there is a good chance you are going to lose. Like the war on drugs or on poverty, sure losers every time.

          We are against religious extremist or extremism wherever it is and today it is within the religion of Islam. We are in a struggle with the jihadist of this religion and our purpose is to destroy it by various means. It is not war but an absolute condition that this ideology must be eliminated. The most active group at this time is ISIS but it is not the only one out there.

        • somer
          Posted June 21, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

          Lots of powers can be difficult and its a tiny minority of muslims actually doing terror so war on terror is much better – can’t label 1.6 billion people otherwise I suspect West could get similar label for past colonisation in parts of the world.

          Not just wahabism though – the Muslim Brotherhood/ Hamas etc. is just as jihadist and it has his Deobandi adherents in Pakistan as well as the Middle east. So too is Iran and Hezbollah. However most Muslims don’t identify with these sects or even within them identify with their jihadist elements. Saudis hold too many cards in the region, especially with Russia being difficult (they help keep the price of oil down which constrains the russians) for the west to do that much about them now.

          • somer
            Posted June 21, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

            I know the suggestion wasn’t labelling Islam per se – only Wahabbism or Salafism but that would be conflated to Islam in the minds of many plus – its in other sects besides Wahabbis/Salafists

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted June 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

            There are, yes, other forms of radical Islam. But the only radicals who are currently endeavoring to attack the US are Sunnis of the Salafist/Wahhabist school. Both al Qaeda and ISIL fit this description; both represent a cross-pollination of the Salafism typical of the Saudi madrassas and the jihadism of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. (The ideology has long germinated in the Egyptian prison system, and came to its full fruition in the partnership of the Saudi Osama bin Laden and the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri.)

            As a matter of diagnosing and addressing this peril, it is good strategy to identify the ideology as specifically as possible. To do so may be impolitic, however, as a matter of diplomatic démarche.

  17. Henry
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    He doesn’t necessarily need to have direct links with ISIS to be a radical extremist. Can they tell us if he was self radicalized? Did he consume any of such extremist materials on his own?

  18. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure the DoJ think that what they’re doing is the right thing, but, as others have pointed out, they’re playing into the hands of their political opponents and annoying their more centrist supporters.

    I see this as a problem with the US system where there are so many political appointments to offices. Discussion often becomes an echo chamber and there’s no one pointing out that some of the backlash they get is actually valid – they judge it invalid simply because it comes from those who don’t agree with them.

    Stats show that a majority of Dems think this is about guns and homophobia and a majority of Reps think it’s terrorism and mental illness. Of course, it’s all of those things and more.

    There’s too much partisanship in the oversight of major investigations imo.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Excellent. We shouldn’t have to go to NZ to figure this out but apparently we do.

  19. Stephen
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I think Obama’s people have made the determination to downplay the Islam angle because their overriding concern to is to prevent a wave of anti-Muslim hysteria in this country. I’m not saying this is the best approach but it wouldn’t take much to set it off. We can do nuance and separate the dancer from the dance but most Americans cannot.

    • Posted June 20, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      It’s patronizing, I think, to claim that we can handle the truth but the American public can’t. The fact is that they already know about the invocation of ISIS and the Tsarnaev brothers on the part of the terrorist. They KNOW that at least one of the factors motiviating this, and other terrorists, is Islam. We didn’t have a save of anti-Muslim hysteria (or at least mass attacks on Muslims) in the 9/11 killings, and we’re not having one now. Yes, idiots like Trump can use this as ammunition, but it’s ridiculous to have our government censor information when everybody knows it anyway.

    • mikeyc
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      “I think Obama’s people have made the determination to downplay the Islam angle because their overriding concern to is to prevent a wave of anti-Muslim hysteria in this country.”

      Or to avoid exacerbating the feelings of muslims around the world that they are engaged in a holy war with the West.

  20. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I hear the FBI has released the unredacted transcripts now.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Citizen Coyne clearly forced the Agency’s hand. Better you get the credit than Trump.🙂

  21. Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink


  22. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    “And that, indeed, is what the Regressive Left is saying: it was either homophobia or mental illness that prompted the murder spree.”

    “Mental illness” is a diagnosis, and a diagnosis can only be made by a doctor meeting the patient. Unless Mateen was diagnosed the Regressive Left has no rational standing saying that.

    … of course, we have no rational standing thinking the Regressive Left is rational.

  23. jrhs
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Salonreported that: “Everybody who was in the bathroom who survived could hear him talking to 911, saying the reason why he’s doing this is because he wanted America to stop bombing his country.”

    Omar Mateen was born and raised here, yet he felt that USA was not his country? Hmmm. What makes us feel patriotic?

  24. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted June 21, 2016 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    In 1985 Margaret Thatcher proposed that terrorists (IRA) should be deprived the ‘oxygen of publicity’ during a hijack. This was no sweeping censorship but asking the media to be responsible.

    Some broadcasters chose not to broadcast any further communiques for later events – but did use ‘actors’ to speak the same words.

    Fudge or compromise or treading a narrow line over censorship?

    Perhaps the full transcript of the Omar Mateen calls could be read by actors? The information will inevitably get out anyway.

  25. jay
    Posted June 21, 2016 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Back in the days of IRA rebellion, BBC was forbidden by law to play recordings of interviews with Sinn Fein. Instead, an actor had to dub in the words…..

    … sheesh. Does the voice of the interviewee have such magical powers???

    • somer
      Posted June 21, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      The Northern Irish problem was/is a complex one with a tragic history but lets say there were more dimensions to the IRA than just being a “rebel” movement. There was an awful lot of torture and killing within their own side, and of innocent civilians on both sides. Not a raah raah issue

    • Posted June 23, 2016 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      I have always found this law moronic, as I find today’s wriggling of the Obama administration (disclaimer: Bush was no better).

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