Paul Ryan has joined a growing chorus of voices who believe the editing and redacting of Omar Mateen’s 911 transcript is “preposterous.” Mateen was the madman who shot up an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, killing 49 and wounding dozens of others. The House Speaker Paul Ryan believes the Obama administration’s decision to take out Mateen’s pledge of allegiance to fundamentalist terror groups as well as his targeting of the LGBT community means the White House is not allowing the public to be “clear-eyed” about the situation.
The Speaker’s comments come one day after United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch went on the Sunday morning shows to explain why the Department of Justice made the decision to redact some of the language in the transcripts. Lynch said she believes showing everything Mateen said would be furthering his goals and the DOJ does not want to have any part of such an endeavor.
During the June 12 shootings, Omar Mateen made no secret during his calls to the 911 about why he was carrying out his massacres, according to the New York Post. The Orlando shooter made it clear he was killing people because of his allegiance to ISIS, even if he wasn’t formally affiliated with the terrorist organization. When the FBI released the transcript on Monday, any mention of ISIS had been completely removed.
Time reports the parts of the transcript that were redacted make it very clear what the FBI is trying to do, and it also makes that work stand out more than the agency would probably like.
OD: What’s your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted].
OD: Ok, What’s your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].
Paul Ryan clearly didn’t like the idea of the FBI editing what was being said, even if they felt they were in the right to do so. Ryan pointed out there are very few people out there who don’t know that Orlando shooter was a Muslim extremist who went to the club and opened fire on hundreds of people because they were members of the LGBT community. When explaining why the DOJ was going to be leaving out parts of Mateen’s transcripts, Lynch said in an interview with Meet The Press that she and her colleagues were not going to “further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda.”
Paul Ryan and other Republicans have long had a problem with the Obama administration’s willingness to refer to other terrorist attacks inside the United States as those being carried out by Islamic fundamentalists or Muslim extremists. Instead, the administration has largely refused to apply one religion or another to attackers such as the Orlando and San Bernardino gunmen. The GOP has been holding up those refusals as a sign of weakness by President Obama when it comes to the United States’ war on terror.
The terminology used when it comes to these kinds of attacks has been at the center of the news every bit as much as the attacks themselves. Right after the Orlando massacre, Donald Trump criticized President Obama for not calling Mateen an Islamic terrorist. The President responded by saying the approach to fighting these groups wouldn’t change, no matter how they were being referred to. With Paul Ryan now taking issue with the way the FBI and DOJ have handled the release of the transcript, it’s a safe bet the terminology the administration uses and allows others to use is going to be front and center of the debate for at least the next few days and weeks. Paul Ryan and his Republican friends will want to make sure this is the discussion as we enter the campaign season’s stretch run.
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