Politics & Policy

What Was Scrubbing Mentions of ISIS from the Orlando 911 Transcript Supposed to Accomplish?

Attorney general Loretta Lynch (Jonathan Earnst/Reuters)
It’s hard to fathom the stupidity of the DOJ’s explanations.

It’s almost like they think we’re idiots.

On Monday, the Department of Justice released a (very) partial transcript of Omar Mateen’s call to 911 during his attack in Orlando. It read like something from An American Carol:

Operator Dispatch: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.

Omar Mateen: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]

OD: What?

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 [omitted].

OD: Ok, What’s your name?

OM: I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].

OD: Alright, where are you at?

The transcript notes: “In these calls, the shooter, who identified himself as an Islamic soldier, told the crisis negotiator that he was the person who pledged his allegiance to [omitted].”

N.B.: It wasn’t the Southern Baptist Convention.

By way of explanation, Attorney General Loretta Lynch made the rounds on Sunday morning’s news shows to announce that the DOJ was redacting the transcripts because it did not want to “further [Mateen’s] propaganda.” “What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups.” Added Ronald Hopper, FBI assistant special agent in charge, on Monday: “We’re not going to propagate their rhetoric, their violent rhetoric.”

Perhaps it’s worth asking just what in the Sam Halal Loretta Lynch thinks happens in cabinet meetings of the Islamic State. Apparently, in her mind, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi & Co. have been judiciously waiting for more ironclad evidence before making Orlando a staple in their recruitment efforts, and the DOJ thought a redacted transcript would cut them off at the knees. “He only pledges allegiance to ‘[omitted]’! We can’t put this on the fliers!” And likewise with all of those potentially “self-radicalizing” “lone wolves.” (Never mind all of the beheading videos they can still watch on Reddit.)

RELATED: In Initially Airbrushing Orlando Jihadist’s Calls, DOJ Followed Obama-Clinton U.S. Resolution Against Negative Speech about Islam

Imagine if this crack squad had been in charge 75 years ago: “I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by [omitted] on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and [omitted].”

For its shenanigans, the DOJ was thoroughly and rightly ridiculed — so much so that it reversed course, announcing in a statement on Monday afternoon that the “unreleased portions . . . have caused an unnecessary distraction.”

Yet the DOJ is choosing to double down on its asininity. According to its statement, “The purpose of releasing the partial transcript . . . was to provide transparency, while remaining sensitive to the interests of the surviving victims, their families, and the integrity of the ongoing investigation.”

#related#Transparency, indeed! The one thing that has been transparent, over the course of this entire mindless episode, is that we are governed by contemptuous morons. The calculated judgment of this administration was to censor information, to concoct fantastical explanations about why it was censoring the information — then, when it was forced to backtrack, to provide further ludicrous rationales for why it was backtracking. The administration was so determined to forward its preferred narrative about Orlando — and so confident that it would succeed — that it perpetrated, and announced in advance that it would be perpetrating, an obvious fraud on the country.

Coming just weeks after Ben Rhodes’s self-congratulatory interview with the New York Times Magazine about working to hoodwink voters into supporting the Iran deal, one might sense a pattern. If they act like they think we’re idiots, it’s because they do.

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