Transcripts: Orlando terror attack triggered by U.S. drone strike killing ISIL commander

by WorldTribune Staff, September 28, 2016

Terrorist Omar Mateen told a police negotiator that his attack on an Orlando nightclub was motivated by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, transcripts made public by police show.

The conversations between Mateen, who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub, and an Orlando police negotiator on June 12 were kept secret by FBI and local police until Sept. 23.

Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12. Mateen, 29, died after a shootout with police. /AP
Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 others at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12. Mateen, 29, died after a shootout with police. /AP

The transcripts were released by Orlando police after a Florida court hearing held in response to a lawsuit filed by several news organizations, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Sept. 28.

During an exchange in the early morning hours of June 12, an Orlando Police Department negotiator identified only as “Andy” asked Mateen, who was speaking by cell phone from inside the club, to tell him what was going on.

“Yo, the air strike that killed Abu Wahid a few weeks ago… that’s what triggered it, okay?” said Mateen, who earlier in the conversation identified himself as a follower Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

Abu Wahid, ISIL’s military commander for Iraq’s Anbar province, was killed in a drone strike on May 6.

“They should have not bombed and killed Abu Wahid,” Mateen told the negotiator. “Do your f—ing homework and figure out who Abu Wahid is, okay?”

Mateen also praised one of the bombers of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and another domestic terrorist whose name was transcribed as unintelligible in the released transcript.

The transcript shows that, at other points, Mateen told the negotiator that the United States needed to stop all bombing in Iraq and Syria.

The Beach noted that: “Initial reports from several news outlets reporting on the mass shooting variously described Mateen as gay, a ‘homophobe’ and a ‘wife beater,’ despite his having made claims of allegiance to the Islamic State.”

The New York Times, for example, stated in an editorial three days after the shooting that the “precise motive [of Mateen] remains unclear.” The editorial then said it was “evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians.” Investigators later dismissed as a false claim that Mateen was driven to the killing spree by gay self-hatred.

The FBI later revealed it had investigated Mateen twice but claimed there was a lack of evidence he was linked to Islamic terrorism.

FBI and Orlando police spokesmen declined to comment when asked why the full transcript was not made public earlier.

Rep. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican and member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said during Mateen’s first call with the crisis negotiator, the terrorist explicitly stated U.S. involvement in Syria and Iraq motivated the attack.

“This fact differs dramatically and widely from the initial media and police reports,” Pompeo said. “It is important for us to understand why that was the case. If officials intentionally sought to downplay the threat from radical Islamic terrorism, that would not only be wrong, but would also be a disservice to the American public.”

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism expert, said the newly-released policy transcript “completely destroys” the White House policy narrative of so-called “lone wolf” terror attacks.

“Omar Mateen isn’t a random individual discontented from a broader conspiracy,” Gorka said.

“Justifying the attack as a response to our targeting of Abu Wahib, the ISIL head of the Al Anbar Lions, reemphasizes to reality that this is a borderless war in which the individual neutralization of high value targets will not bring us ultimate victory,” Gorka said. “Only the delegitimization of the ideology that men like Mateen adhere to can do that.”

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