The Obama administration seems to have lost track of Noor Zahi Salman, wife of Orlando jihadi Omar Mateen and a possible co-conspirator in the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11.
Loretta Lynch said at her press conference on Tuesday, in response to a question about Salman’s whereabouts, “Right now I do not know exactly the answer to that. I believe she was going to travel, but I do not know exactly her location now.”
The last word the public was given about her activities came a week ago, when Omar Mateen’s Taliban-supporting father, Seddique Mateen, told reporters she was no longer at his house and in fact had departed the Ft. Pierce, Florida, area. After he said that, St. Lucie County sheriff’s deputies popped in and out of his house, without offering a comment to the press. Try to imagine your daughter-in-law vanishing after your son commits a horrifying act of mass murder, leaving her young son in your care, without demanding to know where she was going.
One possible clue to her whereabouts is the revelation that Mateen bought three plane tickets to San Francisco, just two days before the attack. The flights were scheduled for July 14, which suggests either he had not made up his mind to strike or he somehow expected to survive the assault.
A federal official told NBC News that Mateen and Salman were planning to visit her sick mother, who has been struggling to recover from an operation. However, the Mercury News has reported that Salman’s mother complained about Mateen refusing to allow his wife to visit her family.
Wednesday brought some uncomfortable mumbling from the administration about how the FBI is keeping tabs on Salman, but the Attorney General has not been personally informed of her location. Frankly, losing her completely would be hard to believe, even coming from the Obama ineptocracy, where the soaring cost of government is matched only by its absolute incompetence. It still would not speak well of Lynch if she was not keeping updated on Salman, a person of great interest in the most important case on the Attorney General’s desk at the moment.
If Mateen’s wife really has disappeared, while the Obama circus was busy with its gun control juggling act, it would be bad news for everyone, possibly including Noor Salman. As CounterJihad points out, the administration has been peddling a ridiculous story about how Mateeen was a “self-radicalized lone wolf” to cover its bureaucratic posterior, but in truth, he had some ugly Islamist connections, and they might very well decide Salman is a loose end that needs to be snipped. The United Global Brotherhood of Lone Wolves does not want Salman sharing whatever she knows with U.S. intelligence.
Salman, variously described as either 29 or 30 years old, is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, born in the Bay Area and raised in Northern California, according to the L.A. Times. Neighbors interviewed by the Times described her family as “friendly” and “happy.”
Salman was married once before, “in an arranged marriage that was organized in the Palestinian territories,” before meeting Mateen online.
She is reportedly being considered by a grand jury as either a passive or active participant in Mateen’s terror plot. She has given conflicting statements to law enforcement, beginning with her shifting account of what she knew about his plans to carry out a jihad attack.
“She initially denied that when Mateen left the house Saturday that she had any idea he was going to do something violent,” CNN reported last week. “But in subsequent statements, Salman conceded she had a suspicion he might be planning an attack, perhaps on Pulse, the officials said. According to one official, she knew ‘for a while’ Mateen had thoughts of wanting to do something violent. He had been talking about it for months, if not years.”
During her later statements to these officials, Salman claimed she tried to talk Mateen out of committing a violent act but did not call the police with her suspicions.
A source close to the investigation told ABC News that Salman said she watched Mateen leave the house with a “bag of guns” on the night of the shooting, and she tried to stop him because she was “concerned” about what he might do.
Salman was in Mateen’s company when he made visits to the Pulse nightclub and Disney Springs that have been characterized as scouting missions for future attacks, and she also accompanied him on at least one trip in early June to buy ammunition. CNN relayed her claim that she “didn’t know he was buying ammunition to kill people” and the assessment of investigators that she might not have fully understood he was scouting for a terrorist attack.
According to St. Lucie County property records, Salman was a witness when Omar Mateen sold his house to his sister and brother-in-law for only $10, which would seem like an alarming sign that he had something cataclysmic planned. Selling one’s house for ten bucks would be a topic of much conversation in most marriages, especially since Salman also told investigators he was spending a huge amount of money in the weeks before the Pulse shooting.
The most unsettling sign of Salman’s possible complicity in the attack was the series of text messages she exchanged with Mateen while he was busy murdering 49 people at the Pulse nightclub. Two hours into the attack, he texted her to ask if she was watching the news, and one of her responses said she loved him. She also tried to call him several times during the attack, but CNN notes there is no evidence that she attempted to contact the police.
It has been suggested that Mateen’s abusive nature, as reported by his first wife, could explain why Salman did not take more decisive action to stop him. Another explanation was proffered by one of Salman’s childhood teachers from California, who told ABC News Salman “had difficulty with retention” and that “conceptualizing and understanding” were “challenges to her.”
Salman’s family confirmed that she was enrolled in a special education program, and the woman who spoke with ABC was one of her teachers. In fact, Salman’s family went so far as to claim she “doesn’t understand cause and effect.”