Was Orlando shooter really acting for ISIS? For ISIS, it’s all the same

The New York Times reports: The revelation that the 29-year-old man who opened fire on Sunday in a gay nightclub had dedicated the killing to the Islamic State has prompted a now-familiar question: Was the killer truly acting under orders from the Islamic State, or just seeking publicity and the group’s approval for a personal act of hate?

For the terror planners of the Islamic State, the difference is mostly irrelevant.

Influencing distant attackers to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State and then carry out mass murder has become a core part of the group’s propaganda over the past two years. It is a purposeful blurring of the line between operations that are planned and carried out by the terror group’s core fighters and those carried out by its sympathizers.

The attacker, Omar Mateen, told a 911 operator that he was pledging allegiance to the Islamic State. In the group’s nomenclature, that pledge is a central part of the ISIS protocol. The Orlando killing was the third time the loyalty pledge was known to be invoked in the United States. [Continue reading…]

In a tweet, ISIS expert, Charlie Winter, points out that ISIS supporters are denying the homophobic nature of the Orlando massacre. They want the shootings to be viewed purely as an act of terrorism targeting the U.S..

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