CBS4’s Stan Bush reports on a budding scandal involving Colorado GOP U.S. Senate nominee Darryl Glenn, caught on tape in June speculating about the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub earlier that month:
At a candidate forum June 22 the El Paso County commissioner made unsubstantiated claims that President Obama directed the FBI to not investigate the Orlando night club shooter, Omar Mateen, before the massacre.
“But it sounds like there might be some political things happening where they’re given direction to look a different way. Why don’t we start there?” said Glenn…
Glenn said the FBI takes “direction from the top” in his answer, and repeats his claim two more times before completing his response.
“I think we need to have hearings on this. I think people need to be held accountable. I want to know whether or not our FBI personnel were personally directed to look the other way. [Pols emphasis]
“The president should be held to account for that if he gave direction that limited the FBI.”
The allegation that President Barack Obama might have “directed” the FBI to end their investigation of Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen was just one of many ways that right-wing armchair prognosticators tried to rationalize the politically inconvenient aspects of that shooting in its immediate aftermath–much the way the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter was widely speculated to be a “transgender leftist” on the flimsiest of evidence in that shooting’s aftermath. In this case, the usual right-wing presumptions that Obama is some kind of Al Qaeda “Manchurian Candidate” President who wants to make us all pray to Mecca underly the whole discussion.
But as FactCheck.org had already reported before Darryl Glenn made these ill-advised remarks, there’s not a shred of truth to any of this foolishness:
FBI Director James Comey has said that the FBI over the course of two preliminary investigations in 2013 and 2014 recorded Mateen’s conversations, followed him, introduced him to confidential sources, interviewed him, “review[ed] transactional records from his communications, and search[ed] all government holdings for any possible connections.” Both investigations closed without the FBI taking any action against Mateen, because, Comey said, there was no reason at that time to suspect Mateen had terrorist ties or intentions…
The fact that the preliminary investigation closed after 10 months indicates that the agency felt its investigation was completed. FBI rules discourage conducting preliminary investigations beyond a year, but a longer extension can be approved “by the appropriate FBIHQ operational section for ‘good cause.’”
Don Borelli, a retired FBI counterterrorism supervisor in New York, told the New York Times that the danger in keeping an investigation open without good cause is the impact that it can have on innocent people. “Imagine if you can’t get a job because you’re on some watchlist and there’s no basis for it,” Borelli told the Times.
When you get past one or two logical points about the FBI’s investigation of Mateen, it becomes clear that any attempt to personally blame President Obama for the attack is just mindless whisper-campaign prattle–the kind of thing that prior to the advent of Donald Trump had much less credibility. Rep. Mike Coffman came somewhat close to embracing this conspiracist narrative when has said that Obama is a “recruiting tool” for terrorism, but obviously Glenn suggesting that Obama helped Mateen escape scrutiny before the Orlando shooting is a big step further.
Into the Twilight Zone, folks. This might play will with the hardcore talk-radio right, but it’s the kind of talk that turns off undecided middle-road voters and donors — and, really, anyone who has ever employed the use of logic. In a race already rapidly dwindling in national importance due to the growing consensus that Glenn is out of his league, his propensity for nutty rhetoric is enough to put the question to rest.
Darryl Glenn is just not a serious candidate for the U.S. Senate.