CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd said on Tuesday that it’s still “not clear” if radical Islam inspired Omar Mateen to murder 49 people at a popular gay nightclub in Orlando.
“It’s not clear to me,” he said. “In many cases like this, you can see a clear link between a group like ISIS or al-Qaeda and therefore we can jump to the conclusion that it was an act of terror. It’s not even clear to me in this case yet that we have an act of terror.”
CNN’s Carol Costello was visibly surprised by Mudd’s assertion and pressed him to clarify.
Mudd argued that in order for an attack to be an “act of terror,” a “subject…has to go into the location with the intent to murder people for a political purpose.” He also said he’s “not confident” enough about Mateen’s mental state to say definitively that the Orlando attack was an act of terrorism.
Predictably, some viewers were stunned by the claim.
@CarolCNN #CNN found the one "expert" who's not sure #Orlando slaughter had any connection to ISIS so you'll Philip Mudd interviewed a lot.— NedL (@NedL)1465911115.0
Phillip Mudd on @CNN just said he is not sure if Orlando was a terrorist act.— Pamela Night (@Pamela Night)1465910826.0
Officials recently revealed that Mateen called 911 three times during the Orlando attack. During the calls, he pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State and proclaimed solidarity with the Boston Marathon Bombers and a radical Islamist suicide bomber.
The killer’s father claimed his son recently grew very angry when he witnessed two men kissing. He was said to be a devout Muslim who attended prayer services three to four times a week at a local Islamic Center.
Mateen’s ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, also told reporters that he was “mentally unstable and mentally ill.”