Pulse club gunman Omar Mateen had pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call during his deadly rampage, and investigators are looking into possible connections between the 29-year-old and the terrorist group.
But whether such ties existed might be beside the point. In the last couple years, ISIS has been calling for supporters and sympathizers to launch attacks in the name of the group, as part of its larger propaganda strategy. The case was similar with the couple in San Bernardino, who declared their loyalty to ISIS on Facebook before killing 14 people at the Inland Regional Center.
What ISIS gets are foot soldiers in other parts of the world to carry out their hate-filled mission. But what does someone like Omar Mateen get from aligning himself with ISIS?
Charlie Winter, Senior Research Associate at Georgia State University’s Transcultural Conflict and Violence Initiative. He studies the Islamic State’s outreach strategy, and specializes in the analysis of Arabic-language documents circulated online by jihadists.
Clint Van Zandt, Founder and President of Van Zandt Associates Inc. He is a former FBI profiler and had worked at the renowned Behavioral Science Unit at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia