DOJ Reverses Course Amid GOP Outcry, Releases Full Orlando Transcripts

June 20, 2016 3:30 pm

After numerous elected Republicans decried the Obama administration’s decision to release only partial transcripts of the Orlando gunman’s communications with authorities, the Justice Department said Monday afternoon that it would release the full transcripts.

The department said in a statement that the purpose of releasing redacted versions of the transcripts was to provide transparency while remaining sensitive to the victims’ families and survivors.

“We also did not want to provide the killer or terrorist organizations with a publicity platform for hateful propaganda,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, the unreleased portions of the transcript that named the terrorist organizations and leaders have caused an unnecessary distraction from the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime.”

Gunman Omar Mateen spoke Arabic and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during a 911 call and in communications with a crisis negotiator while his siege of a gay nightclub in Orlando, the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history in which 49 people were killed, was underway.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) both criticized the Obama administration on Monday for editing the transcripts.

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