An Oct. 30 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn asserts that "A rash of unsolved sniper shots in Washington, D.C., is resurrecting concerns that terrorists may once again be on the loose in the nation's capital, following an al-Qaida blueprint – not for large-scale bombings, but for smaller, seemingly 'random' acts of violence."
But not only does Zahn quote no one likening the shootings to Islamic terrorism (including the Washington Times editorial he cites), he misrepresents what authorities have said about the alleged shooter. Here's what Zahn writes:
FBI spokeswoman Katherine Schweit has suggested the shooter is simply a "struggling" individual.
"This guy hasn't hurt anybody. We don't think he wants to," she says. "We're hoping that he'll turn himself in."
In fact, authorities were much more specific about what they think about the identity of the shooter, who has targeted the Pentagon, the Marines museum and a Marine recruiting office:
"We believe the suspect has a grievance surrounding the U.S. Marine Corps," said John Perren, acting head of the FBI's Washington Field Office. "We'd like to know what this grievance is, and what we can do to try and resolve it. We're willing to listen to him and hear his side of the story."
The shooter may have a grudge against the Marine Corps as an institution, but could hold the servicemen and women in high regard, officials said. He or she may recently have experienced a trauma such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. The shooter likely is familiar with the Northern Virginia area, and if the shooter lives with family or friends, may have offered excuses after slipping away at night.
"It may be that he feels he's been wronged by the Corps in his professional or personal life," Perren said.
Zahn goes on to reference a previous WND report on "an al-Qaida training tape that was captured in Afghanistan and revealed terrorists planning not only attacks with weapons of mass destruction but also with drive-by shootings, home break-ins, ambushes of law-enforcement officers and targeted assassinations." This runs counter to actions of the shooter, who so far, as the Washington Post notes, "has struck overnight or in the early morning hours when no one would be around the facilities."
Zahn also brings up the 2002 Belway Sniper case of "a pair of Muslim men named John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo," adding: "Notably, authorities in 2002 consistently denied Muhammad and Malvo's connections to terrorism, even after it was revealed they spoke sympathetically about the Sept. 11 hijackers and Malvo filled nearly 100 pages with sketches obsessed with jihad and shedding American blood for Islam."
But those sketches weren't seen as evidence of committed Islamic terrorism -- a logical decision given that Malvo also mixed in images from the decidedly non-Islamic film "The Matrix" -- they were seen as evidence of how Muhammad controlled Malvo. Indeed, according to the New York Post, "Malvo's drawings were introduced into evidence by the defense, which contends they shed light on the insane mind of a young man brainwashed by Muhammad."