(Self-appointed) Caliph: I have called you, the members of the IS National Security Council, together today in my bunker to discuss future strategy in light of the Orlando shooting in the US, the growth of right wing nationalist movements in Europe and the US, and our current situation on the ground in Iraq and Syria. Remember, our objectives are first to retain our state and second to expand it. Let’s start with the views of our military chief of staff. How are we doing?
The capability of radical Islamist terrorists claiming fealty to ISIS to attack soft targets here has been painfully demonstrated again, this time in the form of 49 dead and 53 wounded in an attack on a gay nightclub in Florida. The Orlando massacre is now added to ISIS-inspired attacks on Philadelphia (January of this year, 1 police officer shot 3 times); San Bernadino (December 2015, 14 dead, 21 injured); Dallas (May 2015, 1 wounded), New York City (October 2014, hatchet attack on 4 police). The Tsarnaev brothers who killed 3 and wounded 264 in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing also reportedly had ISIS ties.
It is too soon to say much about the horrific mass murder in Orlando. But I cannot resist saying something, so I will ask some genuine questions. The mass murderer – I will not repeat his name, but simply refer to him as MM – apparently was briefly investigated twice by the FBI, but the Bureau concluded there was insufficient information to justify a continuing investigation:
FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ronald Hopper said agents questioned him two times in 2013 after he allegedly invoked ties to terrorists during a dispute with co-workers.
“We were unable to verify the substance of his comments and the investigation was closed,” Hopper said.
The following year, agents talked to him again about his contact with suicide bomber Moner Mohammad Abusalha, a Floridian who joined a branch of Al Qaeda and blew himself up in a truck packed with explosives in Syria in 2014.
Hopper said agents “determined the contact was minimal and did not constitute a substantive relationship.”
The report about the 2013 questioning is ambiguous. Does it mean that the FBI was unable to verify that MM actually had ties to terrorists or that he had made the statements? The more likely interpretation is the former one. Let’s assume that the FBI was correct in reaching this conclusion.