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Orlando gunman posted chilling Facebook messages during attack, senator says

Omar Mateen used the social network during the mass shooting, according to Sen. Ron Johnson's letter asking Facebook to help a senate committee with its inquiry.

A lawsuit claims that your private Facebook messages might not be all that private.
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Orlando gunman Omar Mateen's Facebook activities were apparently very telling, according to a letter a US senator sent to the social network's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

Sen. Ron Johnson's letter, dated Wednesday, requests that Facebook provide all data on the gunman's "activities on his account and any affiliated Facebook accounts, including but not limited to activity logs, Facebook timeline information, Facebook messages, photos, and posts." Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

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According to the letter, on June 12, the day of the attack, Mateen searched for "Pulse Orlando" and Shooting." He also left chilling posts including "America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state..I pledge my alliance to abu bakr al Baghdadi..may Allah accept me." And his final post was "In the next few days you will see attacks from the Islamic state in the usa."

These activities took place before and during the attack, the worst mass shooting in modern US history. The gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday.

The letter also revealed that in May he used Facebook to search for information on the San Bernardino shooters, and on June 4 he searched on "Baghdadi Speech."

In addition to the gunman's Facebook data, the letter also requests a briefing on the information available to Facebook prior to and during the attack. The company has until 5 p.m. June 29 to comply with the senator's request.

Responding to a request for comment, Facebook said it has been cooperating with law enforcement since Sunday and that it has received the letter. The company declined to comment any further.

Updated at 3 p.m. PT with Facebook comment.