TIMELINE: FBI Director Explains 2 Prior Investigations of Orlando Terrorist
FBI Director James Comey spoke in Washington, D.C., today to give an update on the federal terrorism investigation into the Orlando terror attack and the FBI's prior contact with gunman Omar Mateen.
Comey said FBI investigators have found that Mateen had "strong indications of radicalization" and was potentially inspired by foreign terrorist organizations.
He said they have not uncovered any evidence, however, that Mateen was directed to act from outside the U.S. or that he had ties to a larger network.
Comey laid out the following timeline related to two investigations of Mateen in 2013 and 2014:
- The FBI first became aware of Mateen in May 2013 after he made inflammatory statements about terrorism while working as a contract security guard at a local courthouse.
- When those statements were reported, the FBI's Miami office opened an investigation, which included two interviews with Mateen. The investigation was closed after ten months.
- Mateen's name resurfaced in July 2014 while they were investigating Moner Mohammad Abusalha, a Florida man who died in Syria as a suicide bomber for Al-Nusra Front.
Who is Moner Abu-Salha? WSJ had a profile in 2014 https://t.co/X2f1DOt2Pt
— Tim Hanrahan (@TimJHanrahan) June 12, 2016
- Mateen and Abusalha had attended the same mosque and knew each other casually. After again speaking to Mateen, the FBI found no significant ties between them.
The next time the FBI heard about Mateen was the night of the horrific attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Comey revealed that Mateen had three calls with 911 dispatchers during the shooting, during which he pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Bagdadi and claimed solidarity with the Boston Marathon bombers and Abusalha.
Comey noted that Al-Nusra Front is in conflict with ISIS, and neither the Boston bombers nor Abusalha were inspired by ISIS, adding confusion to Mateen's motives.
See more from Comey above.