Just hours after the FBI released an edited transcript of the 911 call Omar Mateen, the shooter in the Orlando terrorist attack, pushback from the public forced the Obama administration to release a version that included Mateen’s references to ISIS:
JUST IN: DOJ, FBI release full transcript from Orlando shooter’s 911 call to provide “highest level of transparency” pic.twitter.com/U4d7Q89Oqr
— ABC News (@ABC) June 20, 2016
The FBI and Justice Department argued a partial transcript could provide transparency while remaining sensitive to the victims and their families.
But the administration also cited the potential of Mateen’s references to ISIS to further promote the attack:
FBI: Redacting ISIS from transcripts will prevent future attacks pic.twitter.com/CGyqVrD5nd
— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) June 20, 2016
The irony of the Obama administration defending, then retracting, its policy did not go unnoticed:
So the FBI just did something that it claims will cause more terrorism. This is the problem with defending moronic policy.
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) June 20, 2016
The decision to redact the transcript was made in full view of the public just days after President Obama, in an angry address on live television, called the criticism of him for not using the phrase “radical Islam” a “political talking point.”
But other instances of censorship by the administration haven’t occurred so publicly. In the last few months, a number of other instances of censorship related to Islam and the Middle East have emerged.
In some cases, the censorship occurred years before the press and the public became aware of it.
1. State Department Deletes Video Footage
In 2013, then-State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told Fox News reporter James Rosen that the Obama administration had lied to him in a previous briefing because the Iran deal needed “privacy” to develop.
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) June 2, 2016
In May 2016, Rosen discovered that specific segment of the press briefing’s video was scrubbed from the State Department’s website, an omission which the administration first blamed on a “glitch.”
Three weeks later, the State Department admitted “there was a deliberate request” to edited out that segment from the department’s website and it was not a “glitch.”
2. White House Mutes French President on ‘Islamist Terrorism’
In April 2016, Obama hosted French President Francois Hollande and about 50 other world leaders for a Nuclear Security Summit.
The White House put a video of Hollande’s remarks during a press event online, but for a brief portion of the video, the English-language translator’s audio is cut.
Hollande’s remarks not translated in the video are bolded, according to the White House’s official transcript of his remarks, which was not redacted:
“But we’re also well aware that the roots of terrorism, Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we’re doing within the framework of the coalition.
“And we note that Daesh is losing ground thanks to the strikes we’ve been able to launch with the coalition. We are continuing to support Iraq. …”
Hollande’s use of the phrase “Islamist terrorism” is also censored in the White House’s official mp3 recording of the event.
3. White House Edits Transcript on Iran Deal
During a May press briefing on the Iran Deal, Kevin Corke, a White House correspondent for Fox News, asked Spokesman Josh Earnest:
“Can you state categorically that no senior official in this administration has ever lied publicly about any aspect of the Iran nuclear deal?”
“No, Kevin,” Earnest said in response.
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) May 9, 2016
The two-word response is not included in the transcript of the briefing and the Obama administration argued they were left out because Earnest’s words were inaudible.