‘Majority of terrorist attacks in US initiated by FBI, not terrorists’
US investigators have been trying to map the killer's movements prior to the nightclub massacre last weekend.
The FBI has admitted the shooter was put on a terror watch list in May 2013. Although, when the investigations ended without charges, he was removed.
Around a week before the attack, Mateen purchased two guns with which he killed 49 people at Orlando's Pulse nightclub. He was subsequently killed by police in a shootout. However, the latest federal data shows that even if the killer hadn't been removed from the terror watch list, he may have still got hold of a firearm.
Gun control isn't the only issue to come up following the Orlando atrocity. It's also led to bitter arguments across the US about LGBT rights, FBI competence and the tolerance of American society.
RT: Omar Mateen's parents are from Afghanistan. So, presumably he was referring to that country. And yet he was born in the US and never went to Afghanistan (according to the Afghan interior ministry). What do you make of this claim?
Daniel McAdams: I think there are an awful lot of contradictions with this individual. I think it is very clear the person was severely mentally ill. Anyone would have to be a nut job to do what he did. Certainly, I would take it with a grain of salt because we don’t know exactly what was said, this is what someone thought they heard. However, stepping back from this particular individual it is easy to see how people can be upset with US foreign policy. It does not justify violent actions, but if you look for example at the US drone wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan – over 3,000 people have been killed. According to a report by Intercept last year, 90 percent of the people killed were not the target. So, you can imagine how it would feel for us if innocent people were killed. Just last month the killing of Mullah Mansoor, the Taliban leader, his taxi driver was also killed. Just an innocent taxi driver picked him up. Is it fair he was hit by a drone? These are real people and so you can understand the anger US foreign policy creates overseas. It doesn’t justify these attacks.
RT: He also claimed to be acting for ISIS, although investigators have not thus far linked him to the terrorist group. Do you think it is likely that ISIS was actually directing his actions?
DM: I don’t have any inside information. We do know the FBI investigated him. They concluded he was insane. He was not a threat because on the one hand he supports Hezbollah, he is in Hezbollah, the next hand, he is in ISIS. On one hand, he is going to Mecca and making his Muslim obligation. On the other hand, he is going to gay clubs all the time. Clearly, this was a person with a lot of internal contradictions. So, I think probably the FBI rightly concluded at the time that there was no reason to consider him as a serious terrorist threat. I think it is just very convenient for ISIS to take credit for it.
RT: There's been some focus on his father, Seddique Mateen, who has in the past posted online videos praising the Taliban and claimed to be a leading political figure in Afghanistan. Do you think investigators will be interested in that?
DM: I think you’d have to wonder maybe the crazy is inherited because from what I’ve seen the father doesn’t look like a very stable person. I would guess he is probably going to find himself in a bit of trouble with the FBI. The question would be: What kind of contacts does he have with the US government? We know that the son, the killer, was an employee of a company that had very sensitive Homeland Security contracts. We know that he, the shooter, had been interviewed by the FBI a couple of times. And he had even - we found out from the Intercept - he had been introduced to FBI informants. The majority of terrorist attacks in the US are initiated by the FBI, not by terrorist groups. You have to wonder at what level was he goaded on like so many others…
RT: Questions have also been raised over the killer's sexuality. He is known to have been a regular visitor to the Pulse nightclub, used a gay dating app and visited gay chat rooms. What do you make of that aspect to the story?
DM: I think there are a lot of contradictions in the person. I think also that everyone wants to get something out of it. Donald Trump and Chris Christie want to go bomb someone, anyone, they don’t care where. Hillary Clinton and President Obama want to cancel the Second Amendment. Everyone wants to get something out of it. The media just wants a lot of people to watch the media. So, unfortunately these kinds of events are politicized. We won’t know the truth except we should probably understand that this was a deeply disturbed person and unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect society.
RT: This has sparked renewed anti-immigration rhetoric from the likes of Donald Trump and yet the terrorist was born in the US, as was San Bernardino killer Syed Farook. Isn't immigration a red herring? Surely the US needs to be focusing on homegrown terrorism?
DM: It is very convenient. As I said everyone uses it to their political advantage. It is a fact that any normal country should control its borders. That’s an essential part of being a normal country. That doesn’t mean you make a blanket prohibition on one group or the other. I don’t like judging people as groups, I like judging them as individuals. So, I think people are going to try to make hay out of these situations.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.