Brat: redacting ISIS from Orlando transcript ‘an Orwellian move’
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Richmond, joined Republican voices Monday evening in chastising the Obama administration for redacting the mention of the Islamic State in the FBI’s original release of the 911 transcript of last weekend’s massacre in Orlando. A few hours later amid outcry on the Hill, the FBI re-issued the complete transcript in which Omar Mateen pledged his allegiance to the terrorist group – but the damage had already been done, according to Brat, who conjured the dystopian novel, “1984.”
“We cannot defeat an enemy that we pretend does not exist,” he said in a news release. “To snip even the mention of ISIS’ name from an official transcript was an Orwellian move by the Obama administration that insults the intelligence of the American people.”
Brat went on to say that it was already known that Mateen had pledged his allegiance to ISIS and had purposefully planned the attack on the gay club, killing 49 and injured 53 more with semi-automatic weapons legally obtained.
“Furthermore, ISIS released a propaganda video celebrating the attack,” the congressman said. “The American people deserve the truth, and I call on the Obama administration to name our enemy and create a strategy that will ensure this hateful violence in Orlando never reoccurs.”
The Dept. of Justice and FBI issued a joint statement about the purpose for the partial transcript, saying it was done in the interest of remaining sensitive to surviving victims and their families.
“We also did not want to provide the killer or terrorist organizations with a publicity platform for hateful propaganda,” the statement said.
Obama has faced increasing pressure and criticism over his refusal to use the phrase, “radical Islam.” The president called it a political distraction in a speech last Tuesday saying extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism. He went on to say that not using the phrase has not prevented his administration from pursuing a strategy to defeat ISIS.
“If the implication is that those of us here and the thousands of people around the country and around the world who are working to defeat ISIL aren’t taking the fight seriously, that would come as a surprise to those who have spent the last seven and a half years dismantling al Qaeda in the FATA, for example – including the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk and the Special Forces that I ordered to get bin Laden and are now on the ground in Iraq and in Syria,” Obama said June 14. “They know full well who the enemy is. So do the intelligence and law enforcement officers who spend countless hours disrupting plots and protecting all Americans, including politicians who tweet and appear on cable news shows.”
Brat, representative for Culpeper and Orange counties as part of Virginia’s 7th District, is co-sponsoring the “Expatriate Terrorist Act” that would revoke the U.S. passport and privileges of any person who pledges allegiance to ISIS.
Meanwhile, congressional Democrats are attempting – once again – to implement stricter gun laws in the wake of Orlando, the worst mass killing in U.S. history. The latest attempt on Monday was unsuccessful. U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, lamented the inaction.
“The proposed measures — to prevent known or suspected terrorists from purchasing guns and to subject all private gun sales to background checks — are both commonsense and popular, and it’s appalling that we couldn’t get them passed,” he said in a statement. “Virginians are far too familiar with the consequences of gun violence. While I was Governor, the Commonwealth witnessed what was, until last week, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. During my time in the Senate, we have seen three Virginians shot on live television. Newtown, Charleston, San Bernardino, Orlando and the countless daily gun deaths that receive less attention show the dire price Americans pay for congressional inaction. I hope that my colleagues will reconsider and act on this issue before another tragedy strikes.”
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