FBI Labeled Orlando Gunman ‘Not a Terrorist’ Three Years Before Attack

‘I don’t believe he will go postal’

Undated photo of Omar Mateen

Undated photo of Omar Mateen / AP


The FBI deemed Omar Mateen not a terrorist after agents interviewed him in 2013 regarding possible jihadist links, three years before the gunman would massacre 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando last month.

Mateen came to the FBI’s attention while working as a security guard at a local courthouse after his coworkers reported that he made inflammatory comments and claimed to have connections to terrorists abroad. The FBI subsequently launched an investigation into Mateen and placed him on a terrorist watch list for nearly a year.

FBI investigator Rand Glass notified St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Department Major Michael Graves in September 2013 that the agency did not believe Mateen posed a security threat, according to documents released by Judicial Watch on Monday.

"Rand told me, ‘We do NOT believe he is a terrorist,’" Graves wrote in an email memo to colleagues. "Yesterday, the FBI spoke with him in person and reportedly [Mateen] became very upset that someone contacted the FBI. Regarding this demeanor Rand said, ‘I don’t believe he will go postal or anything like that.’"

A separate document showed that Mateen admitted he attempted to lie to the FBI about past comments he made linking him to the Boston bomber, the Fort Hood gunman, and al Qaeda affiliates in Kenya.

He later confirmed the comments after an FBI agent told him the bureau had a recording of the statements.

The FBI again interviewed Mateen in 2014 to probe potential ties between him and an American suicide bomber.

Mateen called 911 during the June 12 attacks at Pulse nightclub in Orlando to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group. He called the Boston Marathon bombers his "homeboys" on the call.

Natalie Johnson

Natalie Johnson   Email Natalie | Full Bio | RSS
Natalie Johnson is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, she was a news reporter at the Daily Signal. Johnson’s work has been featured in outlets such as Newsweek, Fox News and Drudge Report. She graduated from James Madison University in 2015 with a B.A. in political science and journalism. She can be reached at johnson@freebeacon.com. Her twitter handle is @nataliejohnsonn.

Get the news that matters most to you, delivered straight to your inbox daily.

Register today!
  • Grow your email list exponentially
  • Dramatically increase your conversion rates
  • Engage more with your audience
  • Boost your current and future profits