The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation tried to “lure” Orlando shooter Omar Mateen into committing a terror plot in 2013 through the planting of an informant in his life, revelations that raise serious questions about the FBI's indirect role in shaping the recent Orlando terror attack through its entrapment policies.
In an exclusive interview published June 15, Sheriff Ken Mascara of Florida’s St. Lucie County told the Vero Beach Press Journal that the FBI dispatched an informant to "lure Omar into some kind of act" but he "did not bite."
The plan, Mascara said, came after Mateen had threatened a courthouse deputy by saying he could order al-Qaida operatives to kill his family.
The FBI is known to be using similar entrapment policies when dealing with those they suspect of belonging to terror organizations or receptive to committing terrorist acts.
In a 2013 column for Mother Jones website, Trevor Aaronson, a journalist and author of “Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terror,” revealed that “nearly half of all terrorism cases since 9/11 involved informants, many of them paid as much as US$100,000 per assignment by the FBI.”
His data was based on studying 500 terrorism prosecutions since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and examined thousands of FBI records and case files. His book, based on original research, questions if the FBI had a role in creating domestic terrorism through its entrapment policies.
Such revelations raise questions about whether the FBI have played a role in shaping the motives of the Orlando shooter and increasing his distrust and paranoia in a country where Muslims are increasingly targeted for their faith.
“Now the question is whether the FBI was right to pursue Mateen before he could kill, or whether it played an influencing role in shaping his attitude towards politically-motivated violence,” authors and journalists Max Blumenthal and Sarah Lazare said in an article for Alternet website Sunday.
Commenting on such a possibility, Coleen Rowley, a former FBI agent and division counsel, told AlterNet that “the FBI should scrutinize the operating procedure where they use undercovers and informants and pitch people to become informants,” and “must recognize that, in this case (with Mateen), it had horrible consequences if it did, in fact, backfire.”
The latest revelations come as the FBI is facing questions over telling Mateen’s former wife not to tell U.S. media he could have possibly been gay, raising question about the FBI’s intent to maintain the “Islamist terrorism” narrative instead of a possible personal motive.
The FBI is also facing backlash over refusing to release public records relating to Mateen’s 911 call to the police in which he allegedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.