Yesterday the FBI released redacted transcripts of the Orlando shooter’s conversations with law enforcement officials. All of Omar Mateen’s references to Islam and ISIS were eliminated. Under pressure from Speaker Paul Ryan and others, the Administration reversed itself and released the full transcript.
The transcript quotes Mateen as claiming to “pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State.”
But who made the original decision to redact the transcript? And who made the call to release it in full?
People presume that Obama’s Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, made the decision to redact. She was certainly tasked to defend it. “What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups and further his propaganda,” she declared improbably.
Obama’s Secretary Josh Earnest immediately disavowed the redaction. “All of the decisions about releasing the transcripts were made by Justice Department officials” he claimed, distancing the White House from the entire mess.
Many are skeptical that Lynch made either decision on her own. Yet even if she did, she likely made it with confidence that the White House would back her up. Obama constantly bends reality to suit his agenda. Does anyone remember when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice were tasked with convincing the media that the Benghazi attack was based on an internet video?
In addition, the redaction was consistent with Obama’s insistence that the FBI take a politically-correct stance with regard to Moslem-related terrorist threats. Former FBI assistant director James Kallstrom had commented on the topic just days before during an interview on The Kelly File on Fox News.
Kallstrom, who still has close ties to the FBI, said that field agents are “petrified” of being fired because of White House orders that they cannot investigate “anything to do with Muslims” in the traditional way the bureau would pursue criminals or potential criminals and terrorists.
Charles Krauthammer has argued that the reversed redaction displays a “fanatical” aversion to even an indirect aspersion against Islam. “You’ve got an administration that has no respect for historical record — for actual events. That’s a larger issue, and it’s disturbing.”
The problem here for Obama was that the truth was already disclosed by a liberal news outlet and could not be swept under the rug. Thus he pushed Loretta Lynch under the proverbial bus.
Maybe it will come out that Obama ordered the redaction. And if even if he did not, it certainly occurred in concert with the pro-Islam tenor of his Administration.
Full disclosure: the author was acquainted with Jim Kallstrom when they both worked for New York Governor George Pataki from 2002-07.