The White House on Monday blamed the Justice Department for the decision to redact references to radical Islamic terrorists from transcripts of the Orlando shooter’s telephone conversations with police.
The White House did not provide guidance to the Justice Department or participate in the censorship of the transcripts, which were released earlier in the day, said press secretary Josh Earnest.
“All of the decisions about releasing the transcripts were made by Justice Department officials,” he said at the daily press briefing at the White House.
He said the decision to redact the transcript was based on the needs of the ongoing investigation into the June 12 terror attack in Orlando that killed 49 people, making it the most deadly attack in the U.S. since 9/11.
“The view of the White House is that we should not interfere with an ongoing investigation and rather that those decisions should be made consistent with the assessment by law enforcement officials about the best way to advance the investigation,” said Mr. Earnest.
President Obama suffered criticism, including form House Speaker Paul Ryan, for redacting references to Islamic State or other radical Islamic terrorist groups.
The episode built upon persistent criticism of the president for avoiding use of the term “radical Islam” when talking about the terrorist threat facing Americans.
Mr. Obama has said the term risks insulting or alienating Muslims who could help the U.S. fight terrorism.