National Security

Ryan rips ‘preposterous’ ISIS redaction from shooter transcript

Greg Nash

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) quickly criticized the Justice Department’s decision to redact references to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from a partial transcript of calls made by the Orlando nightclub shooter to negotiators, calling the move “preposterous.”

{mosads}“We know the shooter was a radical Islamist extremist inspired by ISIS. We also know he intentionally targeted the LGBT community,” Ryan said in a statement Monday.

“The administration should release the full, unredacted transcript so the public is clear-eyed about who did this, and why.” 

The FBI’s decision to withhold references to ISIS, even while saying Omar Mateen called himself and Islamic soldier, has swiftly become a new point of contention between the administration and congressional Republicans.

Law enforcement officials said on Monday that authorities made the decision to avoid spreading ISIS’s propaganda and to try to prevent copycats from being inspired by Mateen, who killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in the June 12 attack at a gay nightclub.

“We’re not going to propagate violent rhetoric that comes from other people, whether it comes from here or overseas,” FBI agent Ronald Hopper told reporters during a press conference on Monday. Doing so, he warned, might “inflame” other adherents of ISIS.

“We’re not going to continue to put their names out front.”

Other officials have said that the move is designed to prevent “re-victimizing” people who may have been affected by the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.  

The White House punted to federal law enforcement officials when asked whether the transcripts should have been redacted. 

Press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the decision to release the transcripts was “made solely by FBI and Justice Department officials.”

“The opinion of the White House is that we should not interfere with an ongoing law enforcement investigation,” he added. 

Earnest said law enforcement officials must strike a balance between “protecting against potentially playing into” ISIS propaganda” and an “obligation to be as transparent as possible.”

But he said that decision “should be left up to our law enforcement officials.” 

The spokesman said he had not seen the statement from Ryan criticizing the decision. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) on Monday panned the Obama administration’s decision.

“This seems like it is another example of not focusing on the evil here. This is evil. It’s ISIS. It’s radical Islam,” Scott said on Fox’s “America’s Newsroom.”

“We all would like answers. She should release everything that doesn’t impact the investigation,” Scott added of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, noting that he’s been meeting with families of the victims.

“We are all looking for answers. Why wouldn’t she release everything? We all need to know, but especially these families,” Scott said.

Updated at 2:11 p.m. Jesse Byrnes and Jordan Fabian contributed.

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