In his latest attempt to downplay Donald Trump's attack that the president refuses to blame the Orlando massacre on "radicalized Islam", one which validates the republican presidential candidate's push to close US borders to Muslims and generally crackdown on illegal immigration, earlier today Obama held a press briefing in which he said that the shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people and wounded 53 more is an example of "homegrown extremism."
"As far as we can tell right now this is certainly an example of the kind of homegrown extremism that all of us have been so concerned about for a very long time," he said after a meeting with top advisers at the White House.
According to CBS, Obama added that shooter Omar Mateen was "inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the internet." "All those materials are currently being searched, exploited, so we will have a better sense of the pathway the killer took in making a decision to launch this attack," he added.
But, Obama added, there is no evidence Mateen was "directed externally" by ISIS or any other terror network, clearly despite the facts when in a 911 phone call to the police moments before the shooting started, Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
"It does appear that at the last minute he announced allegiance to ISIL, but there is no evidence so far that he was in fact directed by the organization," Obama said.
This also attempts to water down the FBI's suggestion that Mateen had been questioned on numerous occasions, most notably in 2014 when the FBI conducted an investigation into possible ties between Mateen and an American suicide bomber. As we reported yesterday, the FBI's 2014 probe allegedly found that the Orlando shooter had "minimal" contact with Florida al-Nusra fighter Moner Abu-Salha who blew himself up in Syria. In 2015, after Moner Abusalha became the first American suicide bomber in Syria, the FBI investigated Omar Mateen’s connection to Abu-Salha. Abu-Salha went to the Middle East, trained, and returned to the Treasure Coast, specifically Vero and fort Pierce, to recruit. The FBI says he didn’t recruit anyone, but it’s possible he did have contact with Mateen. The FBI conducted another investigation, which included an interview with Mateen, but determined that the contact did not constitute a threat at that time
Obama noted that stopping homegrown terror is "just as important as making sure we're disrupting more extensive plots engineered from the outside" with the implication being clear: it's really the gun lobby's fault for making weapons so readily available, even though as the FBI admitted, Mateen purchased weapons perfectly legally, especially since his employer, the world's largest security company G4S. had subject him to "detailed screening" and found nothing wrong.
What is just as troubling is that in Comey's statement earlier today, the FBI director said that after Mateen had been interviewed, FBI agents did not see "anything in reviewing our work that I think our agents should've done differently" adding that "to actively do nothing is a decision as well." This is the same FBI that appears to have decided to "actively do nothing" when it comes to its Hillary prove as well, at least so far.
Back to Obama's presser, he used the occasion to - naturally - make a renewed call for gun control reform, saying the country needs to think about the "risks we are willing to take in being so lax about how we make very powerful firearms available to people in this country" adding that "obviously this is something I've talked about for a very long time."
And asked to comment on the connection between Mateen's pledge to ISIS and the fact that he targeted a gay nightclub, killing many members of the LGBT community, Obama said organizations like ISIS frequently "target" gay people.
"Here's what we do know: organizations like ISIL, or organizations like al Qaeda, or those who have perverted Islam and created these radical nihilistic vicious organizations--one of the groups that they target are gays and lesbians because they believe that they do not abide by their attitudes toward sexuality," he said. "Now we also know these are organizations that think it's fine to take captive women and enslave them and rape them, so there clearly are connections between the attitudes of an organization like this and their attitudes toward tolerance."