Nightclub gunman worked for security firm with nuclear contracts
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) —
Omar Sidiq Mateen, the terrorist shooter who killed 50 at an Orlando nightclub, continued working as a guard for a security firm with extensive federal contracts protecting sensitive nuclear sites and deporting illegal aliens even after the FBI twice investigated him for possible terror ties.
Congressional investigators are likely to raise questions this week about what if anything the FBI did to alert the federal contractor, G4S Secure Solutions, the U.S. Energy Department or the Homeland Security Department about their counter-terrorism probes into Mateen in 2013 and 2015, sources told Circa News.
G4S acknowledged Sunday evening that Mateen worked for the firm as a guard since 2007. Law enforcement sources said Mateen was not working on the federal contracts but rather served as a security guard at a Florida courthouse.
"We are cooperating fully with all law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, as they conduct their investigation," G4S Secure Solutions said in a statement to media. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the friends, families and people affected by this unspeakable tragedy."
G4S is a respected government contract and holds extremely sensitive federal contracts worth tens of millions of dollars, including helping the Homeland Security Department, the Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to transport illegal immigrants in selected urban areas. The company says in a marketing document that its "fortified buses log millions of miles and transport hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, while freeing up front line CPB and ICE personnel for other essential services."
G4S subsidiaries also provide security at some of the Energy Department's most sensitive nuclear research and storage facilities, such as the 310squaremile Savannah River Site in South Carolina, according to federal records.
Sources told Circa that Mateen, the son of Afghan immigrants who was born in New York but worked in Florida, called 911 shortly before he began his attack at the gay nightclub called Pulse Orlando to pledge allegiance to ISIS.
His apparent allegiance to extremist Islamist ideology shook nerves in several federal quarters because he was tied to the security firm and twice had been probed by the FBI for terror ties. And he was licensed in Florida to carry firearms as a security contractor.
This episode is likely to raise a debate about "having a better way to alert federal agencies and contractors about someone who we suspect has terrorist sympathies and yet has sensitive job access and a license to carry," a senior congressional investigator told Circa, speaking only on condition of anonymity. The investigator said multiple committees on Capitol Hill are likely to review the apparent lack of communication.
FBI officials acknowledge they twice extensively investigated Mateen for possible terror ties but ultimately closed those investigations.
FBI agent Ron Hopper said Mateen was first investigated for terrorist sympathies in 2013 when colleagues at his security firm raised concerns about comments he made suggesting he supported jihad.
"He made inflammatory comments to coworkers alleging possible terrorist ties," Hopper said.
Mateen and other witnesses were interviewed and agents reviewed his communications and conducted physical surveillance but could not find evidence he was acting on behalf of a terror organization or planning an attack.
Ast year, the FBI again probe Mateen because he had some contact with Moner Mohammad Abusalha, an American who carried out a suicide bombing in 2015 in Syria. Both men hailed from Florida and attended the same mosque.
FBI agents again interviewed Mateen but concluded his contact with the suicide bomber was minimal and did not constitute a threat, officials said.