Under mounting pressure, the Justice Department on Monday released the full transcript of the Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen’s 911 calls to police. However, they called the criticism over hiding references to Islam and the Islamic State in the prior documents “an unnecessary distraction.”
The previously released redacted version of the transcript had scrubbed the word “Islamic State” and the name of ISIS leader “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” Omar Mateen made the 50-second 911 call in which he claimed responsibility for the assault and pledged allegiance to the terror organization’s chief at 2:35 a.m., more than a half hour into the June 12 slaughter at gay nightclub Pulse.
He began speaking to the 911 operator in Arabic and praised “God the Merciful” before killing at least 49 people and wounding at least 53 others. However, they printed words he said in Arabic in English, changing “Allah” to “God.”
“I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may Allah protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State,” Mateen says on the new transcript.
The old version had scrubbed several words and instead read: “I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].”
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called the earlier decision by DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to release only a partial transcript “preposterous.”
“We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS,” Speaker Ryan said in a statement. “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.”
Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott also took aim at the edited accounting of Mateen’s statements the night he killed 49 and wounded 53 more.
“This is evil, this is ISIS. It’s radical Islam,” Gov. Scott said earlier Monday. “At some point, we lost 49 lives here and we lost a journalist who was beheaded by ISIS. We need a president that’s going to say I care about destroying ISIS.”
The FBI and DOJ reversed the morning decision and released the full transcript in an afternoon news release.
“Unfortunately, the unreleased portions of the transcript that named the terrorist organizations and leaders have caused an unnecessary distraction from the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime,” the organizations said in a joint statement.