Orlando Shooter Used Social Media During Massacre, Senate Asks Facebook For Help

Orlando Shooter Used Social Media During Massacre, Senate Asks Facebook For Help

Orlando murderer Omar Mateen checked Facebook during his attack, looking to see what kind of impact his actions were having on social media.

During his killing spree, Mateen used the search terms, “Pulse Orlando” and “Shooting,” according to a letter released Thursday by a senate committee.

Investigators are trying to reconstruct Mateen’s actions before he committed mass murder at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. According to CTV News, Mateen, a 29-year-old American-born Muslim, maintained at least five Facebook accounts.

One of his posts read, “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west.”

Mateen vented more hatred in other posts.

“America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state.”

“You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance.”

“In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa.”

The CTV article states that an unnamed source claimed that the posts were sent just moments before the attacks.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking for help in finding any other implications that Mateen left in his cyber-trail of hatred, Fox News said.

Johnson told Zuckerberg his staff learned that “in May 2016, Mateen used Facebook to search for information on the San Bernardino terrorists and on June 4, 2016, Mateen apparently searched ‘Baghdadi Speech.'”

“My staff has also learned that Mateen apparently used Facebook to conduct frequent local law enforcement and FBI searches, including searching for specific law enforcement offices.”

Johnson asked Zuckerberg to provide all Facebook data from Mateen’s accounts.

“As the Committee examines the attack and considers legislative proposals to address homegrown extremism, I respectfully request your assistance with the Committee’s inquiry given Mr. Mateen’s use of Facebook.

“I ask that you please provide all Facebook data on Mr. Mateen’s activities on his account and any affiliated Facebook accounts, including but not limited to activity logs, Facebook timeline information, Facebook messages, photos, and posts.

“In addition, I request that appropriate company staff arrange a briefing with Committee staff on the information available to Facebook prior to and during this terrorist attack.”

Zuckerberg was given a deadline of 5 p.m. on June 29, 2016, to provide the material.

Johnson did not explain how the committee obtained the information about Mateen’s Facebook activity.

Despite Mateen’s messages, CIA Director John Brennan told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that the agency has found no connection between the gunman and any foreign terrorist organization.

“As we have seen in Orlando, San Bernardino and elsewhere, ISIL is attempting to inspire attacks by sympathizers who have no direct links to the group.

“Last month, for example, a senior ISIL figure publicly urged the group’s followers to conduct attacks in their home countries if they were unable to travel to Syria and Iraq.”

Mateen’s rampage began at 2 a.m. and ended three hours later when he was killed by a police SWAT team.

While he was hiding in the bathroom, about 4 a.m., Mateen texted his wife and asked her if she had watched the news, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman, told her husband she loved him, and tried calling him but got no answer. Salman, a 30-year-old Palestinian-American, has gone into seclusion. Police are continuing to investigate her involvement in the attack.

Facebook has not provided a response to Johnson’s request.

President Obama visited Orlando on Thursday, and said that since the recent attacks have been home-grown, it is time for America to change its system.

“The motives of this killer may have been different than those of mass shooters in Aurora, or Newtown, but the instruments of death were so similar. And now another 49 innocent people are dead. Another 53 are injured, and some of those are still fighting for their lives.”

White House spokesman Eric Schultz confirmed the administration’s support for legislation that would ban assault weapons.

[Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP]