Republicans assailed the Justice Department’s decision to redact the Orlando shooter’s declaration of allegiance to the Islamic State in transcripts of 911 calls from the June 12 shooting as another example “of not focusing on the evil here,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott.
When asked what was being left out of the transcript, Lynch said would not help to “further proclaim this individual’s pledges of allegiance to Islamic terrorist groups and further his Islamic propaganda.”
Authorities have previously said that during three conversations with a 911 dispatcher, Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS’ leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Mateen allegedly also said he admired the brothers who bombed the 2013 Boston Marathon, describing them as his “homeboys,” as well as Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, a 22-year-old Palestinian-American from the same town as Mateen who carried out a suicide attack in Syria.
Politico “Selectively editing this transcript is preposterous,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said in a statement. “We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS. 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.”
“This is evil, this is ISIS. It’s radical Islam. At some point, we lost 49 lives here and we lost a journalist who was beheaded by ISIS,” Florida Governor Rick Scott told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer on “America’s Newsroom,” referring to the shooting last Sunday and the 2014 beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff, who was from Florida. “We need a president that’s going to say I care about destroying ISIS.”
Attorney General Loretta Lynch reasoned to CNN Sunday that the reason for the edits “is to avoid re-victimizing those people that went through this horror,” adding that it “will contain the substance of his conversations.” The FBI used similar language at a Monday news conference to explain its reasoning. “I have no idea what she means,” Scott said.
The federal government’s decision did not sit well with other Fox News guests on Monday morning, either.
“That would mean during the Second World War if I called up and said ‘I am part of the Nazi movement, I’ve joined here in the United States, and I’m going kill 49 Americans and we left out ‘Nazi movement,'” Rudy Giuliani said Monday on “Fox & Friends.”
The redactions represent a “degree of denial” for the United States, Giuliani said, adding that it “helps to cause the terrorists to be encouraged to commit more attacks.”
Later in the show, during Giuliani’s interview, co-host Steve Doocy commented, “But, mayor, if you remove all references to radical Islam, you are removing the motive.”
“Uh, yeah. Yeah,” said Giuliani, who was a federal prosecutor before he became New York mayor. ” I mean if I did that in court as a prosecutor my boss would fire me. The jury wants to know the motive for the crime. The killer has told us the motive for his crime. It would be like removing — ‘I’m killing my friend because he cheated me out of money.'”
Asked about Donald Trump’s recent comments in which he suggested that he would consider profiling individuals to prevent future acts of terrorism, Giuliani responded, “We always profile.”
After massive media blowback, transcripts have now been released with some of the redactions removed.