- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2016

Federal investigators have so far been unable to corroborate claims made by individuals who say they spoke with Omar Mateen on gay dating apps before he opened fire inside an Orlando nightclub this month, officials said Thursday.

Contrary to accusations made in the aftermath of the June 12 mass shooting, investigators have failed to find any evidence indicating Mateen led a “secret gay life,” the Orlando Sentinel reported, citing law enforcement sources.

Several men have come forth in the weeks since the shooting about interactions they allegedly had with Mateen on Grindr, a gay dating app, as well as purported run-ins said to have happened previously at Pulse, the gay nightclub where the attack occurred.

After conducting more than 500 interviews since the shooting, however, authorities have so far been unable to substantiate those claims with any hard evidence, police sources told the newspaper on condition of anonymity. The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times reported similarly Thursday after speaking with officials who said they were not authorized to discussed an active investigation.

“We are not at liberty to confirm or deny specific interviews, nor the credibility of content … due to the ongoing investigation,” FBI spokeswoman Amy Pittman told the Orlando Sentinel.

But police sources said investigators scoured Mateen’s laptop, cell phone and digital footprints for clues, and they found nothing to indicates he installed gay dating apps or viewed gay pornography, the media outlets reported.

Nevertheless, individuals continue to claim the opposite, including during an interview broadcast Tuesday on Univision with a man who said he had sex with Mateen after meeting him on Grindr.

“No one is lying about him being on there,” Kevin West, a 29-year-old Pulse patron, told the L.A. Times with regards to Mateen’s supposed Grindr profile.

“The FBI obviously is trying to cover up their information,” added another nightclub regular, 23-year-old Cord Cedeno. “I can go take a lie detector test. I know for a fact Omar messaged me.”

Mateen, 29, told 911 operators in a phone call made during the shooting that he was conducting the attack in allegiance with the Islamic State terror group.

“While we know a lot more about him in terms of who he was and what he did, I do not want to definitively rule out any particular motivation here,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch told The Associated Press this week.

“It’s entirely possible that he had a singular motive. It’s entirely possible that he had a dual motive,” she added.

Forty-nine people were killed and 53 wounded as a result of the Pulse nightclub shooting. 

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