Interview with Daniel Pipes
Fox News: Special Report with Brit Hume
John Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo are being investigated by the Federal Terrorism Task Force for a possible link between terrorist organizations and the sniper shootings.
BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: The federal government filed criminal complaints today, charging suspected Beltway sniper, John Allen Muhammad, in the deaths of seven people, charges that could subject the 41-year-old former Army sergeant to the death penalty.
Meanwhile, FOX NEWS has learned that the Federal Terrorism Task Force is investigating a possible link between terrorist organizations and the sniper attacks, and as FOX NEWS correspondent, Brian Wilson, reports, authorities just missed an opportunity last year to deport Muhammad's partner, alleged partner in crime.
BRIAN WILSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT (off camera): FOX NEWS has learned new details shedding light on 17-year-old serial sniper suspect, John Lee Malvo. The illegal Jamaican immigrant was allowed to stay in this country after the Border Patrol failed, in December 2001, to fill out a sworn affidavit in the case as it was handed to the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Even though an opportunity was missed to deport Malvo, an immigration attorney says rather liberal immigration laws would have probably given the juvenile Malvo many legal options.
RICK BROMBERG, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: My understanding is that the child, John Malvo, would not have been subjected to expedited removal proceedings even if he had been charged as a stowaway. WILSON: It is also true one of the big breaks in the case came when a fingerprint taken at the scene of a Montgomery, Alabama liquor store shooting matched Malvo's finger prints on record with the INS.
Meanwhile, John Muhammad now faces federal charges that could bring the death penalty. In a brief hearing in a Greenbelt, Maryland federal court, Muhammad was expressionless as the judge asked if he understood the charges against him. Later, his attorney said:
JIM WYDA, MUHAMMAD ATTORNEY: Mr. Muhammad and his lawyers still trust this system of justice. Please let it work.
WILSON: Attorney General John Ashcroft says the complaint against Muhammad was carefully drawn and leaves open a number of prosecutorial approaches.
JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It gives us the opportunity to respect the considerations from a wide variety of jurisdictions in making a final determination about how to affect justice here.
WILSON: Friends and associates of John Muhammad suggest his political views took on a more radical bent at about the same time he converted to Islam. After the September 11 attacks, Muhammad is reported to have made comments suggesting he was sympathetic to the hijackers.
Investigators in Tacoma, Washington say they have developed ballistic evidence that links Muhammad to an attack on this synagogue last May. No one was hurt, but it is being interpreted by investigators as an anti-Semitic act.
WILSON: And law enforcement sources confirm for FOX NEWS that the Federal Terrorism Task Force is investigating possible links between Muhammad and international terrorist organizations like al Qaeda.
The investigators may get the first real insights into Muhammad's thinking as they start to look through a Sony laptop computer seized at the time that Muhammad and Malvo were arrested. If it was used to e-mail friends and associates, it could widen the investigation.
Also interesting to note, Brit, a sophisticated global positioning device was found in the car, as well. Not the kind of thing you might expect two homeless drifters to have in their possession.
HUME: Brian Wilson—thank you very much.
What Brian Wilson just reported will be news to many media outlets, which have been quick to ascribe the alleged snipers' crimes to their personal misfortunes or to military experience, but not to any Islamic extremist beliefs.
Is this just political correctness, or is there something more at work here?
For answers, we turn to Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum and a man who believes a radical Islamic threat to this country is not just from organized terrorism.
Mr. Pipes—welcome to you, sir.
DANIEL PIPES, DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST FORUM: Thank you, Brit.
HUME: What has been missed in all of this, in your view, and why?
PIPES: I think there's a tendency, in the government and in the media and among academics, to say this has nothing to do with Islam. This has something to do with the man's individual character and life.
I think every time we see an example of a Muslim attacking Americans in an act of terrorism, we should assume that there is—we should have as a working hypothesis the presumption that there is a jihad motive here.
Let me give you another example.
HUME: let me stop you for a second. When you say a "jihad motive," do you mean by that that this is somehow al Qaeda connected or do you mean jihad in somewhat a more general or perhaps a personal sense?
PIPES: More general, more personal. I'm not ascribing—I'm not assuming there's any connection to al Qaeda, not at all. Not organizationally do I know anything at all.
But what I have is suspicion is that Mr. John Muhammad is someone who believes there is a war between Islam and the United States and has become a foot soldier in that war, perhaps of his own volition, perhaps connected to some group, I have no idea.
But as I was going to mention, there is another example just a couple a few months ago back in July, on July 4. An Egyptian national attacked the El-Al counter, the Israeli airline counter at LAX, Los Angeles International Airport, killing two. The FBI said, well, this is a work dispute. But to me, it looks like this is somebody who thought that he is in a war and went out to kill a couple of people or as many people as he could.
I think we have to presume that there is an element of jihad here, of being part of a war effort.
HUME: You mean you presume, for purposes of investigation, right?
PIPES: Precisely. I don't know for sure that it is. I'm just saying that what distresses me is that the government and so many of the analyses of the media are presuming that away and saying it has something to do with his personal life. "Let's not even go there. Let's just look at his personal life and not talk about an Islamic component, at a time when we're in this war with the forces of militant Islam, who attacked us and killed thousands of Americans."
HUME: It does appear that the government's efforts are aimed principally at organized terrorist groups, al Qaeda overseas. We've seen that its base in Afghanistan has been attacked. We're chasing down al Qaeda in other countries overseas. They're looking obviously for al Qaeda cells in the United States.
What you're suggesting to me is that they maybe also ought to be looking for individual actors and agents who may not be formally or in any way directly associated with terrorist organizations, but who may be potential terrorists or actual terrorists, nonetheless?
PIPES: Precisely. There is not necessarily an organizational connection. Perhaps there is. You mentioned the global positioning device. There are also indications that Mr. Muhammad, while living in a homeless shelter, was taking airplane trips, which is pretty unusual.
So, maybe there is an al Qaeda or some other organizational connection. I have no idea. But what I do have some idea of is that Mr. Muhammad is someone who is a believer, and he is someone who believes that he is in—he adheres to an ideology, which is at war with the United States. And that ideology is not Islam, not the religion of Islam, but the ideology of militant Islam.
And that is the ideology of al Qaeda. That is the ideology of the Iranian government. That is the ideology that comes out of Saudi Arabia. That is our enemy, that ideology. And it's—the key thing about this ideology...
PIPES: ... is that the people who believe in it think they're in a cosmic battle with United States and the West as a whole.
HUME: Gotcha. Daniel Pipes—thank you very much. Nice to have you.
PIPES: Thank you, Brit.
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