Right now, there is a federal criminal trial underway in Orlando, Florida. Federal prosecutors are trying to convict the wife of the shooter in the attack on the Orlando Pulse Nightclub, Noor Salman, of having conspired with her husband, Omar Mateen, to plan the attack.
The case started going off the rails last week when an FBI agent revealed, under oath, that Salman’s “confession” was fake.
Proceedings in court today exposed how the government’s case against Salman is dubious and dependent on falsehoods. Far and away, the most important evidence that prosecutors have cited is a series of statements they got Salman to sign on the morning following her husband’s attack and subsequent death. They had detained and questioned her for 17 hours, the first several hours of which her infant son was with her. The incriminating statements were written not by Salman, but by FBI agents, based on their claims about what Salman had said during their interviews with her — interviews which they did not record.
At first, Salman vehemently denied any knowledge of Mateen’s plan to launch a terrorist attack. But as FBI agents spent hours questioning her — during which they threatened to take her son and told her what they believed had happened — she began to submit to their suggestions. Subsequent examinations revealed that Salman, in addition to having a low IQ, is also at the extreme end of suggestibility tests, which could have been exacerbated upon learning that her husband had just slaughtered 49 people and then killed himself in a police shootout.
“She is a highly suggestible individual to the types of interrogation tactics law enforcement almost always use to extract confessions from those they believe are guilty,” Bruce Frumkin, a clinical psychologist, wrote in his report. “She said that after hours of questioning, with law enforcement telling her that they knew she aided her husband, and according to her, threats that her son would be taken away and would be raised in a ‘Christian home,’ she said she eventually relented and signed the statements so she could be allowed to go home.”
THOSE SIGNED STATEMENTS — the key to the prosecution’s case — were revealed today to be fraudulent. Possibly the most incriminating admission was that, after visiting Disney Springs with Mateen on June 8 — four days before the shooting — the couple then drove around Pulse, essentially “casing” the club together.
This was the “confession” that prosecutors touted over and over, including when they demanded that Salman, despite being free for seven months, be held without bail after her arrest. In denying her bail request, Byron explicitly cited this part of the confession…
In fact, the FBI had in its possession cell phone tracking data that shows Salman was nowhere near the Pulse nightclub at any time.
But when [FBI Special Agent Richard] Fennern testified today, he admitted that the FBI had learned “within days” of Salman signing the statement that this claim was false. Using geolocation data from cellphone records and documentary evidence of the couple’s whereabouts, the FBI had already concluded — long before Salman was arrested — that it was impossible that she went to Pulse with Mateen on that date. Indeed, the evidence, as The Intercept documented previously, is very clear that the first time Mateen ever went to Pulse was to attack it, after simply searching Google for “nightclubs downtown Orlando.” The FBI agent also testified that Salman’s cellphone records show she was never near Pulse.
But even though the entire premise of the prosecution was known to be false before Salman was indicted, the FBI and the US Attorney made the decision to go ahead and hammer this woman.
Now another torpedo has hit the prosecution:
Defense attorneys for Noor Salman have filed for a mistrial after they say federal prosecutors failed to provide information to their client about the FBI’s relationship with Pulse gunman Omar Mateen’s father.
In a motion filed Sunday, the defense said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Sweeney revealed to them through an email Saturday that Seddique Mateen was a confidential FBI informant between January 2005 and June 2016.
After Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando on June 12, 2016, FBI agents conducted a search at Seddique Mateen’s home and found receipts for money transfers to Turkey and Afghanistan between March 16 and June 5. After discovering the receipts, the FBI opened an investigation into the older Mateen.
The agency also said it had received a tip in 2012 that indicated Seddique Mateen was collecting $50,000 to $100,000 in donations to “contribute toward an attack against the government of Pakistan.”
Not only was Mateen’s father an FBI informant for over a decade, it seems as though the FBI allowed him to collect and transmit funds to terrorists in Pakistan to attack that government. This calls into question exactly what the FBI knew about the Orlando shooting because it is has a lot of similarities to the attack on Pam Geller’s “art competition” in Garland, TX.
According to news reports, an undercover FBI agent had been in communication over social media with one of the terrorists, Elton Simpson, in the weeks leading up to the terrorist attack. In one of the communications with the undercover agent, Simpson shared a link to information about the “Draw Prophet Muhamad Contest,” to which the agent replied, “Tear up Texas.” Simpson replied, “Bro, you don’t have to say that,” and “No need to be direct,” and referenced a terrorist attack in Paris. The day of the attack, the agent was in a car directly behind Simpson and his associate, Nadir Soofi, near a police checkpoint. The agent was taking photos of the terrorists just before the shooting began. A local police officer fatally shot both terrorists.
And, apparently, the FBI tried to recruit Omar Mateen, himself, as a confidential informant (read the whole thread):
FBI Special Agent Juvenal Martin considered developing Omar Mateen into a confidential informant for the FBI after investigating him and not finding a tie to terrorism.
— Krista M. Torralva (@KMTorralva) March 26, 2018
The withholding of exculpatory evidence also has a familiar ring. In January, a federal judge dismissed charges against several members of the Cliven-Bundy-led “sagebrush rebellion” after it was proven that the FBI and the US Attorney had lied extensively about that case.
Something is desperately wrong and sick deep within the management of the FBI. The pursuit of justice has become entirely secondary to taking scalps. And that is a dangerous situation for all of us.