FBI releases 911 transcripts of Omar Mateen -- with references to ISIS omitted; Update: Unredacted transcript released

We’ve reached a strange point in the Obama administration’s aversion to unpleasant truths about jihadism when the feds are censoring terrorists’ own words about their motives even when everyone knows what the censored parts say. We know that Mateen mentioned ISIS during his 911 calls. In context, the person he’s pledging allegiance to below is obviously ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Dropping that name from the official transcript is like dropping “Hillary Clinton” from a story about who Democrats are planning to nominate. You’re not keeping anything from the public by doing it. All you’re doing is piquing public curiosity about your own motives for refusing to state the truth plainly.


Our government is full of children. Not smart children, either.

OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.

OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]

OD: What?

OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.

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].

OD: Alright, where are you at?

OM: In Orlando.

OD: Where in Orlando?

[End of call.]

Notice that the parts in Arabic are omitted too, replaced by an English translation. Typically what you’d do in a transcript is print the foreign words that were spoken and then provide the translation in brackets for clarity. The point of a transcript, after all, is to replicate the words each speaker actually used. If the feds were squeamish about doing that, presumably it’s because they didn’t want references to “Allah” or “Allahu Akbar” in the mix. I’m sure they’d say that’s no big deal since “Allah” is merely the Arabic word for “God,” but plenty of Christians and Jews hotly dispute that Muslims pray to the same conception of God that they do. If the feds were squeamish about printing “Allah,” well, that tells you something about whether they think there’s something important about the Arabic version of the term that requires it to be suppressed.


Loretta Lynch said yesterday that Mateen’s pledge of allegiance would be edited because the government doesn’t want to “further his propaganda.” That might be a reason not to release the audio, since it’s destined to end up in ISIS jihadi porn online, but how does an accurate transcript further Mateen’s propaganda when … ISIS has already claimed credit for the attack? Lynch also claimed that censoring the transcripts was needed to “avoid re-victimizing those people that went through this horror.” I can’t tell if by that she meant that other parts were left out (e.g., if Mateen was heard boasting about his body count) or if she’s referring to the ISIS material. Why would reading a transcript of him pledging allegiance to ISIS “re-victimize” them?

Exit question: Aren’t we bombing ISIS? Why wouldn’t a government whose war effort needs public support want the public to know that our enemy has attacked American civilians?

Update: That wasn’t so hard, was it?


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