The Intercept | 21 June 2016
Doing nothing to advance the heated political debate over what combination of factors might have prompted Omar Mateen to open fire inside a gay nightclub in Orlando last week, the FBI on Monday refused to release the audio or a full transcript of the gunman’s phone conversations with the police during the attack.
The FBI instead published a written timeline of the attack, which included a redacted transcript of one conversation between Mateen and a 911 operator, and a partial summary of what he said in three further calls with the Orlando Police Department crisis negotiators that lasted 28 minutes in total. The bureau argued that letting the public hear or even read the gunman’s justification for the attack in his own words risked encouraging further attacks.
Later on Monday, after that redaction was widely criticized, the FBI reversed itself, issuing an unredacted transcript revealing what had been removed: the name of the person the gunman said he dedicated his attack to, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.