Watch below. This is some bombshell that WFTV dropped last night, yet this morning there’s hardly anything online about it. “Lone wolf may not have been ‘lone” is a story big enough to follow up on, or so you would think. No one else in law enforcement knows about this or is leaking to other media outlets?
Rep. Chris Stewart, who sits on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, told Hugh Hewitt this morning he’d be surprised if Mateen acted alone.
We’re going to learn, we’re going to learn so much over the next few days, and we’ve learned quite a lot already. I mean, I can say that this individual didn’t wake up on Friday morning and radicalize himself in 24 hours. It’s a much longer process than that. Speaking of myself, I’ll be shocked if there weren’t others involved with this. I’ll be even more surprised if there weren’t some people around him that weren’t, to some level, aware of his intentions and could have warned us. And once again, what type of communications did he have with these individuals and perhaps others overseas? There’s a lot to learn. Now the core of your question is you know, are we good enough at this? And the answer is obviously not. I don’t want to blame the FBI. I think that they have an enormous challenge. My heavens, there’s hundreds of these individuals that they’re trying to monitor. And I think Hugh, you and I agree that you can’t arrest someone until they commit a crime.
I think he means an accomplice before the attack, not during. Rumors were floating around yesterday that there might have been a second shooter inside the club but those rumors circulate after every mass shooting. The evidence for it is already being debunked. As for who cops might be looking at, there are no hints yet except that the person is connected to Florida somehow. Possibly related or possibly not is this report from Fox News yesterday. It’s interesting that cops are whispering to the media about it:
Omar Mateen, whose bloody siege inside a packed Orlando gay nightclub ended when SWAT teams stormed the building and killed him, was a radical Muslim who followed Marcus Dwayne Robertson, a law enforcement source said.
“It is no coincidence that this happened in Orlando,” said a law enforcement source familiar with Robertson’s history of recruiting terrorists and inciting violence. “Mateen was enrolled in [Robertson’s online] Fundamental Islamic Knowledge Seminary.”…
Prosecutors said wiretaps from 2011 proved Robertson instructed one of his students, Jonathan Paul Jimenez, to file false tax returns to obtain a tax refund to pay for travel to Mauritania for terror training.
Robertson was a bodyguard for “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman and once led a gang of Muslims who robbed banks and government installations for money to buy weapons and explosives with. The Daily Beast notes this passage from a 2012 government memo on his criminal history: “As part of his crimes, the defendant murdered several individuals; participated in assassination attempts; used pipe bombs, C-4, grenades, other explosives, and automatic weapons; participated in a robbery resulting in a hostage situation; and attempted the murder of police officers. Following the first Gulf War, the Forty Thieves stockpiled weapons and explosives in preparation to fight against the perceived threat of internment of Muslims by the United States.” After he was arrested in the early 90s, he cooperated with the feds and got … four years. His most recent stint in prison came in 2012 when he was convicted of illegal weapons and tax-fraud charges. The feds wanted an additional 10 years tacked on to his sentence for recruiting terrorists, but the judge let him off easy. Total sentence: Four years, again. He was released from prison last year. This is a guy who, per Fox, was moved to solitary confinement in prison because he was suspected of radicalizing more than 30 fellow prisoners. Since he got out, he’s been running his “seminary” in Orlando and is known for preaching “openly and enthusiastically” against homosexuality. Per Fox, Robertson and several of his associates were rounded up for questioning on Sunday. If he turns out to be an accomplice, a lot of attention will be paid to his history of bizarrely light sentences.
In lieu of an exit question, I’ll leave you with this quote about the FBI’s 2013 investigation on the subject of lethal threats not being taken seriously enough: “At the end of 10 months the investigation was closed with no further action. They took Mateen’s statements he was trying to taunt his coworkers because he thought he was being marginalized because of his Muslim faith.”
— WFTV Eyewitness News (@WFTV) June 13, 2016
Update: No sooner did I post this than this trickles across the wires.
NBC News: Sources say wife of Orlando attacker drove husband to Pulse nightclub at least once, tried to talk husband out of attack.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 14, 2016
NBC NEWS: Wife of Orlando shooter, Noor Salman, was with Mateen when he went to buy ammunition and a holster prior to the attack sources say
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) June 14, 2016
NBC News: Wife of Orlando shooter being considered for charges in connection with massacre, sources tell @PeteWilliamsNBC
— Jesse Rodriguez (@JesseRodriguez) June 14, 2016
Update: Here’s Pete Williams’s report:
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 14, 2016
If true, that’s the second straight domestic terror attack in which both spouses had a role. Gonna be interesting to see how aggressively the feds come after her given what Mateen’s ex has said about him being domineering and beating her when they were worried. His current wife’s going to claim that she was a de facto hostage. As for potential charges, on top of being a potential accomplice to terrorism, there’s this — 18 U.S. Code § 4, i.e. “misprision of felony,” which makes it a federal offense punishable by up to three years in prison if someone has knowledge of a felony and “conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States.”