As FBI Was Rolling Up Ibragim Todashev and Friends in Orlando, Omar Mateen Claimed a Tie
Spencer Ackerman has new details on what it was that got the Orlando killer, Omar Mateen, on the FBI radar in 2013: He claimed to have a tie to the Tsarnaev brothers.
Omar Mateen, whose rampage early Sunday at the LGBT nightclub Pulse left 50 dead, including himself, and 53 wounded, told co-workers at the private-security firm employing him that he knew Tamerlan and Dhzokhar Tsarnaev, according to a source close to the investigation who requested anonymity.
The FBI interviewed Mateen on two occasions in 2013 related to his purported connection to the Tsarnaev brothers, the first known time Mateen drew the attention of federal law enforcement. Ultimately, bureau investigators determined that Mateen had invented the connection and did not pose a security threat.
Described as a tie to the brothers behind the Marathon killing, the claim is just wacky. But perhaps not as much when you consider the close FBI focus on Orlando’s Muslim community. The FBI killed Todashev in May of 2013, and started rounding up and deporting his friends shortly thereafter.
That’s not to say Mateen did have a tie. It’s just to say that, even though the Tsarnaevs struck far away in Boston, there was a local focus in Florida at the time Mateen was making this claim.