During the trial of Noor Salman, widow of the Pulse Nightclub shooter, testimony has revealed that the father of shooter Omar Mateen had worked as an FBI informant. Seddique Mateen, Omar’s father, was a confidential FBI informant from 2005 to 2016. He is now under investigation for money transfers to Turkey and Afghanistan.
FBI Special Agent Juvenal Martin, who was on the stand in the terrorism trial of Noor Salman, said Omar’s father, Seddique, was upset and had called him while his son was being investigated for the extremist comments in 2006. Martin testified that, during the call which took place a decade before the Pulse attack, Seddique told him something like “if he had done those things he was being stupid.” Martin said the FBI interviewed Omar two other times as part of that investigation, but eventually determined he wasn’t a security threat. The bureau even considered turning Omar into a confidential informant himself, according to Martin’s testimony.
The trial produced several revelations about the shooting. Prosecutors said Mateen originally intended to attack Disney World, using a gun concealed in a baby stroller, but changed his mind after seeing police at the entertainment complex. Government witnesses, using data from Mateen’s cell phone, said he looked up information about Orlando nightclubs and went back and forth between two of them before setting on Pulse as his target.
Omar Mateen’s widow, Noor Salman, was found not guilty of all charges against her in the only trial to stem from the deadly June 2016 shooting rampage. She was accused of helping her husband plan his terror assault on the Orlando, Florida, nightclub and of falsely denying her role afterward. The government equated Mateen’s actions with supporting terrorism, because he repeatedly pledged allegiance to ISIS before and during the attack, which left 49 people dead and 53 injured.
Salman was charged with aiding him in providing material support to a terror group. She was also charged with obstruction of justice, accused of misleading police and FBI agents by making contradictory statements about whether she knew what he was planning. In opening statements, defense attorney Linda Moreno said Salman was a person with a low IQ who did not know “she would wake up a widow, and Omar Mateen a martyr for a cause that she didn’t support.”
In a November 2016 interview with The New York Times, Salman apologized for her husband’s act and claimed she was unaware of his plan. “I don’t condone what he has done,” she told the newspaper. “I am very sorry for what has happened. He has hurt a lot of people.” FBI agents arrested Salman in January 2017 inside the California home she shares with her young son and she had been in custody since then.
Outside the courtroom, a spokesman for Salman’s family said “The family really wants to first say that we’re very sorry for the family members and friends of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting and also the survivors of that horrible attack.” “Noor can go home now to her son, Zack, resume her life and try to pick up the pieces.”
The June 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre was the deadliest single gunman mass shooting in United States history until the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. It is the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in U.S. history and the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the September 11 attacks of 2001.