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Free Beacon: Pentagon Drone Strike Motivated Orlando Nightclub Shooter

Free Beacon: Pentagon Drone Strike Motivated Orlando Nightclub Shooter

This photo taken July 11, 2016, shows visitors taking photos and leaving items at a makeshift memorial outside the Pulse nightclub, the day before the one month anniversary of a mass shooting, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 September 2016 09:59 AM

The Orlando nightclub shooter was motivated by a Pentagon drone strike in Iraq, according to transcripts of conversations between the shooter and a police negotiator that were released by police.

The Washington Free Beacon reported Orlando police released the transcripts after a Florida court hearing in a lawsuit with several news organizations. The FBI and local police had been keeping the transcripts secret.

During the early morning hours of June 12, Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 in a shooting rampage at Pulse, a gay nightclub. Police killed Mateen in a shootout after talks urging him to surrender failed. The attack was the deadliest terror incident since the Sept. 11 attacks. The FBI later revealed it had investigated Mateen twice but no link to Islamic terror had been found.

According to the transcripts, an Orlando police negotiator identified as "Andy" asked Mateen to explain to him what was happening. Mateen was talking to him by cell phone from inside the club.

"Yo, the air strike that killed Abu Wahid a few weeks ago…. That's what triggered it, OK? They should not have bombed and killed Abu Wahid." Mateen said.

Mateen praised Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the 2013 Boston Marathon bomber, and another terrorist whose name was described as unintelligible in the transcript. In other parts of the transcript, Mateen said that the U.S. should stop bombing in Iraq and Syria.

Without the information in the transcripts, some news outlets described Mateen as gay and a wife-beater. Three days after the attack, The New York Times said that Mateen's "precise motive remains unclear."

The transcript said that Mateen mentioned "Abu Wahid." The Pentagon announced on May 9 that a U.S.-led coalition drone strike on May 6 killed Abu Wahib, a mid-level Islamic State military leader in charge of Iraq's Anbar province.

Heather Fagan, the Orlando mayor's deputy chief of staff, said the FBI allowed the city to release the transcripts. "The Department of Justice and the FBI recently advised the city of the FBI's determination that the 911 calls no longer need to be protected as their release would not compromise the ongoing investigation into the Pulse nightclub massacre," she said.

The FBI released a partial transcript on June 20, eight days after the attack, which contained no mention of the Boston Marathon bomber or Wahib.

Kansas Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo said that the information in the transcripts "differs dramatically" from initial media reports. "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," Pompeo said.

Counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka said the transcripts point out that Mateen was not a random individual attacker, which "flies in the face of the administration's argument that these attacks are wholly disconnected from Islam."

Gorka, a professor of strategy and irregular warfare at the Institute of World Politics, said that the transcripts emphasize the need to focus on ideology, not "high value targets" in order to defeat ISIS.

Pete Hoekstra, former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the withholding of the transcripts is "very disappointing" and "it's a pattern that is deeply troubling and calls into question the FBI's whole strategy of keeping America safer by hiding information."

The transcripts also show that Mateen falsely told the negotiator that he had planted car bombs around Orlando. When asked his name, Mateen said, "My name is I pledge of allegiance to (unidentifiable name) of the Islamic State."

Orlando police are withholding 230 calls made by victims to 911 emergency dispatchers under a law that allows audio and transcripts to be kept secret when they involve a person being killed, the Free Beacon reported.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the estates of the 49 killed would get $350,000 each from the OneOrlando Fund, which includes donations raised for the victims.

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The Orlando nightclub shooter was motivated by a Pentagon drone strike in Iraq, according to transcripts of conversations between the shooter and a police negotiator that were released by police.
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Wednesday, 28 September 2016 09:59 AM
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