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Transcripts of calls with Orlando gunman will be released

Transcripts of calls with Orlando gunman will be released

The Justice Department will release partial transcripts of conversations between the police and the
Transcripts of calls with Orlando gunman will be released
Some of the forty-nine crosses for victims of the shooting placed near the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., June 17, 2016.
Photographer: Hilary Swift/The New York Times

The Justice Department will release partial transcripts of conversations between the police and the Orlando gunman from the night he carried out a deadly attack at a gay nightclub, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Sunday.

The transcripts, expected to be released Monday, will include three calls between the shooter, Omar Mateen, and negotiators who spoke with him as the massacre was unfolding. Law enforcement officials will also provide a detailed timeline of those calls.

Lynch said the calls should shed light on the motivation behind Mateen’s decision to walk into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12 and carry out an attack in which he fatally shot 49 people before he was killed by police.

The announcement came as Lynch, the nation’s top law enforcement official, made rare appearances on five major Sunday morning news programs to discuss the investigation. She said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that she considered the shooting both “an act of terror and an act of hate.”

Lynch said the transcripts would not include portions of the calls that would risk “revictimizing” those affected by the shooting or could “further this man’s propaganda,” including Mateen’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State.

“As we have said earlier, he talked about his pledges of allegiance to a terrorist group,” Lynch said on CNN. “He talked about his motivations for why he was claiming at that time he was committing this horrific act. He talked about American policy in some ways.”

Lynch found herself defending aspects of the FBI’s current investigation into the shooting, as well as earlier ones into Mateen. Mateen was twice under investigation by the FBI, once beginning in 2013 after boasting to co-workers that he had ties to terrorist groups and again the following year in connection with a Florida man who tried to carry out a suicide bombing in Syria.

Asked on ABC’s “This Week” if she thought there was anything that federal authorities could have done differently leading up to the attack, Lynch said that her department was still “looking at that.”

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