U.S. Attorney General Scrubs Orlando 911 Transcripts

In an interview with NBC, we learned from the U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch that only a partial transcript of the 911 calls made by the Orlando shooter will be released by the FBI to the public.

Reminiscent of other administration scrubbings, what will be omitted from the transcripts will be references to the motive of the shooter – namely, his pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State as well as his Islamist grievances about American foreign policy vis-à-vis Muslim countries.

“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. “We are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance [to the Islamic State].”

Yet earlier when announcing the release of the transcripts, Lynch told CNN, “It's been our goal to get as much information into the public domain as possible, so people can understand, as we do, possibly what motivated this killer, what led him to this place, and also provide us with information.”

When pressed by CNN what those transcripts will tell us about his motivation, Lynch calmly answers, “He talked about his pledges of allegiance to a terrorist group. He talked about his motivations for why he was claiming at that time he was committing this horrific act. He talked about American policy…”

Yet, those passages will be the very ones that will be redacted, as Lynch explained in an Orwellian fashion on CNN, “The reason why we're going to limit these transcripts is to avoid re-victimizing those who went through this horror.”

To the contrary.

The immediate victims of this attack as well as the larger American public deserve to know and be able to discuss the motivations of this attack.

It is hard to imagine how speaking openly about the motive – so that steps can be made to prevent such an attack from happening again – can “re-victimize” the victims. Loved ones have been lost. Nothing will bring them back. Others have been injured – most likely maimed for life both physically and psychologically.

Nothing will make that horror go away.

What will help both the victims and the public at large is trying knowing that proper steps have been taken to prevent such a horror from happening again, and that justice will ultimately prevail.

As pointed out by Daniel Greenfield in an article titled, “Islamophobia Kills,” a culture has been created by the Obama administration along with organizations like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) that has made Americans afraid to call out potential killers for fear of being labeled anti-Muslim racists — Islamophobes.

In the case of the Orlando shooter, when Mateen was reported by a fellow employee for his homophobic and racist comments while working for at G4S Security, the company refused to take action because Mateen was Muslim and did not want to be accused of being Islamophobic.  The employee, Daniel Gilroy, a former police officer who described Mateen as “unhinged and untable,” ended up quitting his own job to avoid Mateen after Mateen began stalking him. 

Gilroy said the attack by Maten did not come as a surprise to him.

Later, when he was being investigated by the FBI, Mateen claimed he was reacting to Islamophobic comments by his co-workers. The FBI later concluded that Mateen’s professed Al Qaeda ties and terrorist threats were reactions to “being marginalized because of his Muslim faith.” 

We saw a similar refusal to report suspicious activity with the San Bernadino killers. Neighbors noticed suspicious activity but didn’t report it for fear of being labeled anti-Muslim racists — Islamophobes.

The Fort Hood killer, Nidal Hasan, was also on the FBI’s radar. As Greenfield notes, “Nidal Hasan handed out business cards announcing that he was a Jihadist. He delivered a presentation justifying suicide bombings, but no action was taken. Like Omar [Mateen], the FBI was aware of Hasan. It knew that he was talking to Al Qaeda bigwig Anwar Al-Awlaki, yet nothing was done. Instead of worrying about his future victims, the FBI was concerned that investigating him and interviewing him would ‘harm Hasan’s career’.”

Greenfield adds, “One of his classmates later said that the military authorities ‘don't want to say anything because it would be considered questioning somebody's religious belief, or they're afraid of an equal opportunity lawsuit.’”

An interesting poll taken in the wake of the Orlando attack shows just how far this “see something, say nothing” mentality has taken hold in America. When asked if the Orlando incident was more a function of Islamic terrorism or gun violence, 60 percent of Democratic voters answered gun violence, while only 20 percent said Islamic terrorism. (Of Republican voters, 79 percent answered Islamic terrorism.)

While it is true that a man with Mateen’s history should never have been able to have bought a gun (and this in itself is a travesty of the intent of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution), the gun he used was the physical facilitator of his Islamist ideology.

“Re-victimization,” in the words of U.S. Attorney General Lynch, will apply to all of us if the Islamist ideology and motivations of these killers are not openly addressed, taken seriously and made as the basis of a plan of action to counteract them.

In addition to creating an open season for Islamist attacks, ultimately the strategy of the administration will backfire. As noted by former Islamist radical Maajid Nawaz, "If we refuse to isolate, name and shame Islamist extremism, from fear of increasing anti-Muslim bigotry, we only increase anti-Muslim bigotry."   

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org