Orlando Massacre Wasn't 'Terrorism' or a 'Hate Crime': It Was 'Counter-terrorism'
June 16, 2016 Malia Zimmerman / FoxNews.com & Anneta Konstantinides and Hannah Perry / Dailymail.com and Associated Press
After days of reports characterizing the Orlando mass murders as a "hate crime" targeting gays, a series of previously unreleased phone calls and social media postings reveal that Omar Mateen intended his acts to be revenge for Washington's murders of innocent women and children in the so-called "War on Terror." If Mateen's act were prompted in response to US violence they could be seen as "retaliation" or, in the Pentagon's parlance, "counter-terrorism."
Omar Mateen made Facebook posts before and during his attack that killed 49 people at gay nightclub Pulse on Sunday morning. Mateen blamed US airstrikes on the death of 'innocent women and children.'
He then wrote: 'Now taste the Islamic state of vengeance' and pledged his allegiance to the leader of ISIS.
Orlando Terrorist's Chilling Facebook
Posts from Inside Club Revealed Malia Zimmerman / FoxNews.com
(June 15, 2016) -- In the hours after he blasted his way into an Orlando gay nightclub, and with his victims lying dead or wounded around him, Omar Mateen took to Facebook to pledge his loyalty to ISIS and threaten more attacks on the civilized world, a key lawmaker privy to the gunman's posts told FoxNews.com Wednesday.
Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded 53 inside Pulse early Sunday, died when a SWAT team stormed the club. But in the roughly four hours between his initial rampage and his death, the 29-year-old radicalized Muslim broadcast his twisted message of hate on social media, according to Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wisc. (Click here to read Sen. Johnson's letter to Facebook.)
"I pledge my alliance to (ISIS leader) abu bakr al Baghdadi..may Allah accept me," Mateen wrote in one post early Sunday morning. "The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west" . . ."You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes . . . now taste the Islamic state vengeance."
Mateen's social media accounts were taken down before they could be widely viewed by the public, but Johnson's committee investigators have uncovered some or all of them. The senator has also written a letter to Facebook executives expressing concern about Mateen's postings and asking for more information on his activities.
"It is my understanding that Omar Mateen used Facebook before and during the attack to search for and post terrorism-related content," read Johnson's letter. "According to information obtained by my staff, five Facebook accounts were apparently associated with Omar Mateen."
The posts uncovered by Johnson's committee shed light on Mateen's actions in the hours that followed his 2 a.m. raid on the nightclub. Mateen, armed with a Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle and a handgun, shot his way past an off-duty cop and sprayed bullets throughout the club, which was packed with more than 300 revelers when he arrived.
Some escaped, many died or were wounded and scores more waited out the horrific ordeal, knowing each moment could be their last.
As survivors cowered in darkened rooms, praying and texting police and relatives, Mateen accessed his Facebook account to search for media reports, using search words such as "Pulse Orlando" and "Shooting." An FBI source told FoxNews.com he also made 16 phone calls from inside the club after the bloody spree began. Investigators are tracking down each of the recipients of those calls.
Mateen proclaimed his hatred for Westerners in one Facebook post uncovered by Johnson's committee.
"America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state," Mateen wrote.
In his final post, Mateen made an ominous prediction: "In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa."
Besides looking for information on himself, Johnson noted Mateen used Facebook to search for information on the jihadist couple behind the Dec. 2 San Bernardino attack, used the search term "Baghdadi Speech," and scouted for posts by local law enforcement and FBI, Johnson told FoxNews.com.
Johnson called on Facebook to hand over all information the company has on Mateen for review and to brief his committee on all of Mateen's activity logs, Facebook timeline information, Facebook messages, photos, and posts by June 29.
Facebook officials confirmed to FoxNews.com they have received Johnson's letter.
(June 15, 2016) -- The Orlando gunman who killed 49 people at a gay club wrote a series of Facebook posts before and during the attack raging against the 'filthy ways of the west'.
Omar Mateen blamed US airstrikes for the death of 'innocent women and children', writing 'now taste the Islamic state of vengeance' on the same morning he fired shots into Pulse nightclub.
Mateen's final post was a warning: 'In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa'.
The Facebook posts were revealed in a letter sent by the Senate Homeland Security Committee to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that requested additional information on Mateen's online activity.
Johnson revealed in the letter that Mateen, 29, searched for 'Pulse Orlando' and 'Shooting' during the attacks to see if news of his massacre had begun to reach the media.
In another post he pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, also writing 'America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state' and 'may Allah accept me'.
Johnson said his staff had also learned that Mateen used Facebook to search for information on the San Bernardino shooters just two days before the attack on Pulse. He also searched 'Baghdadi Speech' and searched for specific law enforcement offices.
Johnson said the committee had learned of five Facebook accounts associated with Mateen, and requested access to the activity logs, timeline information, messages, photos and posts.
The senator also asked that the company arrange a briefing with the committee by June 29 on the information 'available to Facebook prior to and during this terrorist attack'.
It has also been revealed that Mateen called a local news station in the middle of the attacks to pledge his allegiance to ISIS.
Local news network Bright House cable News 13 was covering the horrific attack when a producer received a chilling phone call at 2.45am - around 45 minutes after the mass shooting began.
I'm the shooter. It's me. I am the shooter,' the caller told the network's stunned Matthew Gentili. Mateen then announced that he was carrying out the atrocity in the name of ISIS.
'He did it for ISIS, and he started speaking Arabic,' Gentili said. 'At the time, I didn't know what he was saying. He was speaking so fast. But it was . . . he was speaking fluently.'
The TV producer said he had answered the phone to hear the caller ask: 'Do you know about the shooting?'
After Gentili confirmed that he did, Mateen told him that he was the shooter and that he was carrying out the attack 'for ISIS' before lapsing into Arabic.
Gentili asked the caller to speak in English, and then Mateen once again pledged allegiance to the terrorist group. 'I did it for ISIS,' he said. 'I did it for the Islamic State.'
Gentili said he then asked where the caller was, who told him it was 'none of my f***ing business.'
Finally, the producer asked if there was anything else Mateen wanted to say.
'He said no and hung up the phone,' Gentili said. 'I will never forget the words he said to me.'
Mateen, an American of Afghan descent who the FBI believes was radicalized online, burst into the Pulse nightclub armed with a .223 caliber AR-15 assault rifle and a handgun just after 2am Sunday. His rampage came to an end three hours later, when police shot him dead.
Mateen, who was probed in recent years for suspected extremism, is believed to have made the phone call to News 13 while he was holed up in the nightclub's bathroom with hostages. It followed a call he had made to 911 where Mateen once again pledged his allegiance to ISIS.
He had also called a friend to say goodbye during the attack, according to law enforcement officials. The FBI are speaking to the recipient but have not released any further details about what was said during the phone call.
The agency has since pleaded for the public's help to reconstruct Mateen's movement in the hours leading up to the attack.
'We need your help in developing the most complete picture of what he did and why he did it,' FBI agent Ron Hopper said at a news conference.
It has since been revealed that Mateen visited Disney Springs, an outdoor restaurant, retail and entertainment complex at Walt Disney World, on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, the FBI is still trying to establish how much Mateen's wife may have know about the attack. An official who was briefed on the case but insisted on anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation said authorities believe 30-year-old Noor Salman, an American of Pakistani descent, knew ahead of time about Mateen's plan.
Investigators have spoken extensively with her and are working to establish whether she recently accompanied Mateen to the club, said a second official who was not authorized to discuss the case publicly.
US Attorney Lee Bentley repeatedly refused to say whether charges might be brought against the wife or anyone else.
He said authorities are talking to hundreds of people and investigating everyone associated with Mateen, including family, friends and business associates.
Salman has been in seclusion for days.
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