Facing pressure from Republican leaders, the Justice Department made an abrupt about-face on Monday, releasing the full transcript of a 911 call made by Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, after originally redacting references to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The redaction, which sparked intense controversy, was meant to prevent the extremist group from using the attack as propaganda, the Justice Department said in a Monday afternoon statement.
“Unfortunately, the unreleased portions of the transcript that named the terrorist organizations and leaders have caused an unnecessary distraction from the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime,” the department said.
“As much of this information had been previously reported, we have re-issued the complete transcript to include these references in order to provide the highest level of transparency possible under the circumstances.”
Ironically, the “an unnecessary distraction" ended up focusing far more attention on precisely the one time the FBI and DOJ were so eager to cover up.
In any case, here is the full, uncensored transcript in which we learn that [omitted] was, not surprisingly, the "Islamic State", as well as ISIS leader "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi." An earlier version of the transcript deleted the word “Islamic State” and the name of ISIS leader “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” Omar Mateen made the 50-second 911 call in which he claimed responsibility for the assault and pledged allegiance to the terror organization at 2:35 a.m., more than a half hour into the June 12 slaughter at gay nightclub Pulse.
“I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State,” Mateen says on the new transcript.
The old version had several words scrubbed and read: "I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted]."
The final result:
Orlando Police Dispatcher (OD): Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
Shooter (OM): In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]
OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I'm in Orlando and I did the shootings.
OD: What's your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
OD: Ok, What's your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.
OD: Alright, where are you at?
OM: In Orlando.
OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]
Then again, since "God" is still in the place of "Allah", one wonders when the next "transcript unediting" will take place.
And while we await, perhaps the FBI will finally release the actual phone call recording - just to confirm it really took place - and while they are at it, perhaps they can also reveal the recording from the nightclub's CCTV camera showing what really happened inside the club.