Today, at 12:15pm E.T., the FBI held a press conference to provide greater insight into the ongoing investigation centered around the Orlando terror attack that took place early Sunday morning.
During the press conference, James Comey, Director of FBI said the following:
– The events in Orlando are being treated as an act of terrorism.
– Currently, there is a strong indication that Mateem was radicalized and influenced by desire to carry out terror. (Comey did not use the word “Islam”).
– Comey said he will not mention Mateem’s name. His claims doing so provides Mateem with the fame and recognition Mateem and terrorists like him, seek. Comey referred to Mateem as “the killer.”
– Currently, there is no indication the Orlando attack is a plot directed from an outside group. Meaning, the killer acted alone.
– Currently, there is no indication the Orlando event is part of a bigger terror plot.
– The killer made 3 calls to 9-1-1. The first call was at 2:30am. The killer called and hung up. The second call was made shortly thereafter. The killer spoke with an operator and then hung up quickly after giving his allegiance to the leader of ISIL. He also claimed solidarity with Boston bombers and a suicide bomber from Florida. A third call was initiated by the 9-1-1 operator who called the killer, but the conversation was cut short when the killer hung up.
– FBI trying to understand what, if any, anti-gay sentiment influenced the killer.
– FBI believes the killer was radicalized via the Internet. (The FBI director did not mention that the killer traveled to Saudi Arabia twice in the past few years.)
– First time FBI investigated the killer was in May 2013 while he was working for a large security firm. The killer made comments to co-workers about terrorism, and claimed his family was connected to terrorist organizations. He also said he hoped law enforcement would raid his home and harm his family so he could retaliate by martyring himself.
– FBI investigation included following him, and tracking all communications. FBI interviewed the killer twice. The killer told the FBI he made the comments to co-workers because he was upset that co-workers made negative comments about him being Muslim. FBI closed the investigation after 10 months.
– Months later the killer’s name resurfaced again when they began investigating a Florida man who traveled to the Middle East and ended up being a suicide bomber. They did not see a direct connection between the killer and the suicide bomber.
– Comey said the FBI must look at themselves but he doesn’t see any mistakes made. Comey said FBI work is challenging and that finding people like the killer is like finding a needle in a national haystack.
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