G4S operates in more than 100 countries and has over 600,000 employees, according to its website. (Lars Schmidt)

Much has been made in recent weeks of Omar Mateen’s background. The perpetrator of the Orlando, Fla., massacre was alternately a “radical Islamist,” a deeply closeted gay man, a wife abuser, a mental case, everybody’s best friend in high school and a loser. The list goes on. But what the mainstream media — and the government, for that matter — have not talked about is the fact that Mateen was employed at the time of his crime by G4S, a London-based company that is one of the largest mercenary firms in the world, with intelligence contractors deployed in war zones and hot spots around the globe.

This could be a coincidence. Or it could be something more sinister. Was Mateen some sort of Manchurian candidate, for example?

For now, nobody is talking. The public, however, has a right to know what is going on in the shady world of intelligence contracting.

G4S, as a government contractor involved in military operations, ought to have done an exhaustive background investigation on Mateen. There’s no evidence that it did, even after Mateen was questioned by the FBI after a friend reported that he had begun listening to speeches by radical clerics. Why? Did corporate leaders have something to hide? At a minimum, they should have known that they had an employee with a security problem. Unless that didn’t matter.

The public has a right to know, too, exactly what Mateen had access to while at G4S and what his job was, beyond “security guard” as we’ve been told by the company spokesman. The spokesman added, though, that the company was cooperating with authorities. But did Mateen have access to operational intelligence? Did he know something that the rest of us aren’t supposed to know?

There are issues beyond just those about Mateen as an individual, questions that the mainstream media is not asking and that G4S has not proactively answered. First, what does G4S really do? Its website lists generic services including fraud investigations, security products and software, and running juvenile prisons. It says in a half-dozen different ways that it provides security officers to pretty much anybody who needs them. But it doesn’t say much more than that. What kind of security officers? Where are they deployed? Who are they contracted to? There aren’t any answers.

Second, in 2010, G4S purchased Wackenhut, the international investigative and security firm founded by a former FBI agent in the 1950s and known for its ties to the U.S. intelligence community. Wackenhut also provides security guards in world hot spots and is no stranger to controversy. The firm was accused in the 1980s of providing arms and explosives to the Contra rebels in Nicaragua and was accused later of involvement in the murder of a Native American tribal chief in California.

Finally, G4S is a client of British disaster and crisis management firm Crisis Cast. Crisis Cast bills itself as a company made up of “award-winning role play actors and filmmakers specially trained in disaster and crisis management.” Want to plan for a catastrophe like, say, a mass shooting at a gay nightclub? Crisis Cast can walk you through it. Need help figuring out how to protect your company after one of its employees goes on a murderous rampage? Call Crisis Cast. Its actors can set up the mock attack and provide lessons learned when it’s all done. Facing accusations that one of your subsidiaries was involved in the murder of a U.S. citizen? Crisis Cast can work it out.

What does it all mean? Even those who eschew conspiracy theories have to admit that there are a lot of loose ends in this story that deserve to be tied up. G4S owes all of us an explanation. Not only must G4S come clean, but also the FBI has to come clean with the American people about what it learns in this investigation and where G4S’ tentacles reach.

We all have a right to know. But the FBI has never been fond of transparency. And neither has the “most transparent president in history.”

Don’t hold your breath for those answers.

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