Removing references to Islam from the Orlando shooter's 911 calls was a "foolish idea," a homeland security expert told The Christian Post.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has released redacted transcripts of Omar Mateen's 911 calls during the June 12th Orlando massacre at the Pulse nightclub. In a Sunday interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Attorney General Loretta Lynch told Chuck Todd that references to Islamic terrorism in the transcripts of those calls would not be made public.
Mateen spoke with Orlando police both while he attacked and during the subsequent hostage situation. Lynch said the transcript portions where Mateen made "pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups" would not be released in order to "avoid revictimizing those who went through this horror."
Some homeland security experts say the administration's approach is unwise.
In a statement to CP, former Department of Homeland Security Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation Paul Rosenzweig said that the "altering of Omar Mateen's 911 call transcripts is a foolish idea that won't work in the long run. It only opens up the Obama Administration to charges of political correctness."
Mateen made four calls the night of the attack, the first telling dispatchers that he was the one who had carried it out. The second, third, and fourth calls, lasting approximately, nine, sixteen, and three minutes respectively took place between Mateen and the Orlando Police Department's Crisis Negotiating team. In those latter calls he called himself an Islamic soldier, swore loyalty to a radical group, and uttered grievances with American foreign policy. He also said that he had a vest, the kind "used in France."
In the release of the transcripts, the FBI did not identify Mateen by name nor the radical Islamic group on whose behalf he declared he had committed the act.
"We're not going to propagate violent rhetoric," FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ron Hopper said. "There's no purpose in doing that."
According to NBC News, Hopper added that they have "no evidence that he was directed by a foreign terrorist group, but was radicalized domestically" and that said there are several other things that likely motivated him.
Calling the move to scrub the terrorism references "preposterous," House Speaker Paul Ryan also criticized the FBI's decision.
"We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS," Ryan said. "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."
Charges of political correctness with respect to the Obama administration's approach to terrorism and national security are not new.
The Pentagon categorized the 2009 mass shooting by Major Nidal Malik Hasan at Fort Hood as "workplace violence." In his presidential proclamation honoring the victims President Obama referred to the "tragic events at Fort Hood" and refrained from using the word "terrorist" during his eulogy at the base several days later.
Early in the Obama administration, then-Secretary of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano made news when she employed the phrase "man-caused disasters" instead of terrorism in her first Congressional testimony. Napolitano later told the German news Spiegal Online that she used that term "to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur."
Attorney General Lynch will be traveling to Florida Tuesday to continue investigating the Orlando attack.