U.S. Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) sent a letter Wednesday to Facebook asking the company to turn over all data associated with Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen.
In the letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg and his company, Johnson said his staff obtained information that there were five separate accounts associated with Mateen, and that the gunman had searched “Pulse Orlando” and “shooting” the morning of the attacks.
Johnson stated there is reason to believe Mateen posted during the attacks and wants Facebook to provide confirmation. The senator wrote that “Mateen also apparently posted to the social media site, ‘America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state’ and ‘I pledge my alliance to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. May Allah accept me.’”
Mateen then posted, “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west” and “You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes, now taste the Islamic state vengeance.” Mateen made a final, ominous threat saying, “In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa,” according to the letter.
Johnson asked the social media giant to, “Provide all Facebook data on Mateen’s activities on his account and any affiliated Facebook accounts, including but not limited to activity logs, Facebook timeline information, Facebook messages, photos, and posts.” Johnson additionally wants a briefing by Facebook and set a June 29 deadline.
The debate over the extent of information Silicon Valley should provide federal investigators has been a hot issue, with Apple publicly fighting with the FBI over access to encrypted data on an iPhone used by the terrorist in San Bernardino.
The Orlando attacks left 49 dead and 53 injured in what is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, and the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11. The FBI officials they are is “highly confident that this killer was radicalized, and at least in some part through the Internet.”
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