Remember “Miguel?” That’s the fake name Univision gave to a man who claimed he was Omar Mateen’s gay lover. According to Miguel, the motive for the Orlando attack wasn’t ISIS it was revenge after learning a man he’d had sex with was HIV positive. But a report by the LA Times says the FBI has found no evidence to back up Miguel’s account or to suggest that Mateen ever had any gay lovers:
Several Pulse regulars have come forward in the days since the shooting, claiming to have seen Mateen at the club or to have been contacted by him on the gay dating apps Grindr, Jack’d and Adam4Adam.
On Tuesday, Univision aired a report in which “Miguel,” a man wearing a disguise to conceal his identity, alleged he had sex with Mateen after meeting him on the gay dating app, Grindr. He said Mateen had sex with other men too, including a threesome with a Puerto Rican who allegedly told Mateen, after having had unprotected sex with him, that he was HIV positive.
But investigators do not consider the man’s account credible, according to one senior law enforcement official with access to the investigation.
The FBI has reportedly searched Mateen’s laptop and his phone and found no evidence he led a dual life, i.e. no gay porn or evidence he was contacting gay men. They have also traced his whereabouts using cell tower pings and see nothing to suggest he was leading a secret life.
Today the AP has a follow-up report confirming what the LA Times reported yesterday:
The officials say the FBI, which has conducted 500 interviews, has recovered Mateen’s phone and is reviewing evidence from it, has not found concrete evidence to corroborate such accounts nearly two weeks into the investigation. They also cautioned that the investigation is ongoing and that nothing has formally been ruled out.
The AP story also mentions Pulse regular Jim Van Horn who claimed Mateen was a regular at the club and repeatedly tried to pick up men. Van Horn tells the AP no one from the FBI has spoken to him and says he’s not sure why they haven’t found proof Mateen was at the club prior to the attack.
All of this suggests the reports that Mateen was gay may have been in error…and yet. Just yesterday there was a report at TMZ claiming the hotel where “Miguel” claimed to have met with Mateen had security video backing up his claim. Granted this is TMZ but the story says, “We’re told the FBI went to the Ambassador [Hotel] Tuesday night and took a copy of the surveillance footage.”
Is this true? Did they FBI retrieve footage from the hotel? Did they determine it wasn’t Mateen on the video? Neither the LA Times nor the AP mention it at all so it’s not clear if statements suggesting Miguel was not a credible source came before or after the surveillance tape was reviewed.
Until the FBI confirms one of these stories about Mateen’s secret life with some undeniable proof, claims that this was something other than a terrorist attack appear unfounded. Obviously that could still change in the coming weeks, but for now we know the reasons Mateen gave for his actions, i.e. revenge for the U.S. bombing campaign in solidarity with ISIS. Evidence for another, more personal motive is still lacking.