The FBI's redacted release to the media and public of 911 calls placed by the Orlando shooter caused a bit of a row in D.C. June 20.
The FBI scrubbed the transcripts of mentions of ISIS or terrorist leaders, but eventually released the full transcripts.
“The purpose of releasing the partial transcript of the shooter's interaction with 911 operators was to provide transparency, while remaining sensitive to the interests of the surviving victims, their families, and the integrity of the ongoing investigation," the Justice Department said, adding "We also did not want to provide the killer or terrorist organizations with a publicity platform for hateful propaganda."
"Unfortunately, the unreleased portions of the transcript that named the terrorist organizations and leaders have caused an unnecessary distraction from the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime," the FBI said. "As much of this information had been previously reported, we have re-issued the complete transcript to include these references in order to provide the highest level of transparency possible under the circumstances.”
One of those complaining had been House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), who got creative with his criticism, supplying both a redacted and unredacted version (see photo).
"Chairman McCaul: “The Obama Administration just redacted the BLANK out of the Orlando shooter’s 911 transcripts. I am greatly BLANK at the Administration’s denial of reality. How in the BLANK does censoring this BLANK make us safer? This is in line with the Administration’s long string of BLANK of the threat Islamist terror poses to our homeland. The victims and their loved ones deserve justice, and the American people deserve all the facts. The terror threat to our nation cannot be redacted.”
"Chairman McCaul’s Unredacted Statement:
“The Obama Administration just redacted the truth out of the Orlando shooter’s 911 transcripts. I am greatly disturbed at the Administration’s denial of reality. How in the world does censoring this truth make us safer? This is in line with the Administration’s long string of denials of the threat Islamist terror poses to our homeland. The victims and their loved ones deserve justice, and the American people deserve all the facts."
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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