Details Emerge on How Orlando Shooter Omar Mateen Was Radicalized
President Barack Obama told reporters on Monday that the shooter of the Orlando nightclub massacre, 29-year-old Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, was directed or part a larger plot and added that this incident is now being treated as a terrorist investigation.
FBI Director James Comey revealed that Mateen had made three phone calls to local police from Pulse during his bloody attack. Comey relayed, "He said he was doing this for the leader of ISIL who he named and pledged loyalty to,” Comey said, using an alternate name for ISIS. He added that he is refusing to use the shooter’s name so he doesn’t reward him with fame or recognition.
Comey added that Mateen vowed loyalty to the Boston Marathon bombers, who were not radicalized by or related to ISIS, and that the FBI is investigating these contradictory statements. “We’re working hard to understand the killer, his motives and his sources of information,” Comey said.
Mateen was put on FBI watch lists in 2013 when he allegedly claimed he had family connections for both al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. He also told coworkers that he hoped law enforcement would raid his apartment and harm his wife and child so he could "martyr himself."
The investigation was reopened the next year when the FBI discovered that Mateen and Moner Mohammad Abusalha, an American-born terrorist and suicide bomber, attended the same mosque.
Now it will be the FBI's job to trace back any clues to try and discover any other possible threats. “We will leave no stone unturned,” he said. “We are looking for needles in a nationwide haystack…but also looking for pieces of hay that will one day become needles.”
Obama was briefed by Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson before releasing facts. Obama said that this attack had some similarities to the San Bernadino, California, shooting and authorities believe that like the husband and wife shooters in that mass shooting, Mateen was also radicalized online. Obama explained that he was “inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the internet,” which then forced the president to address the newfound threat of radicalized terrorism coming from within our borders. "One of the biggest challenges we’re going to have,” Obama said, “is this type of propaganda and perversion of Islam that you see generated on the internet and the capacity for that to seep into the minds of troubled individuals … and seeing them, then, motivated to take actions against people here in the United States and elsewhere in the world that are tragic.”
Obama also addressed the fact that a man who was already on an FBI watch list legally purchased guns in Florida. "We have to make sure it’s not easy for someone who decides they want to harm people in this country to obtain weapons,” the president said. This recent shooting has, once again, raised calls of gun control laws being passed in the United States as it becomes increasingly clear that as long as people who mean to do harm can get their hands on high-powered firearms, Americans will not be safe.