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Response from New America Foundation

Yesterday I wrote a response to the claim advanced by CNN’s Peter Bergen that right-wing attacks had killed more people since 9/11 than jihadists. Before publishing the story I sent New America Foundation, where Bergen works as a Director and on whose data he relied, one question about their list: Why didn’t you include the DC snipers?

At the end of the day today I got a response from someone at NAF. The response did not come from Bergen but from a Mr. Sterman:

The Beltway Snipers do not meet our criteria as having been indicted with a Jihadist terrorism crime or being individuals who died prior to an indictment but are widely considered to have been a violent Jihadist extremist.  More on our method can be found here: http://natsec.newamerica.net/extremists/methodology

Our exclusion of the Beltway Snipers is consistent with other reports studying homegrown Jihadist terrorism.  Neither the Congressional Research Service’s report [http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/R41416.pdf], the Heritage Foundation’s report [http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/07/60-terrorist-plots-since-911-continued-lessons-in-domestic-counterterrorism], nor RAND’s study include them [http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP292.html].

The three reports they cite do not list the DC snipers as jihadists, though they are listed in one of the reports as inspiration for a subsequent jihadist plot.

But as I noted yesterday, Peter Bergen wrote back in 2002 “John Allen Muhammad, the Washington DC sniper, who has reportedly
expressed admiration for the al Qaeda hijackers, also seems to fit this
worrisome new pattern.” The pattern in question was “leaderless resistance…seemingly being adopted by al Qaeda wannabes who have no links to the group or its affiliates.”

As I also noted yesterday, seven Justices on the Virginia Supreme Court determined John Allen Muhammad was eligible for the death penalty in part because he had been committing an act of terrorism when he carried out his crimes.

Then there is the evidence the DC snipers were jihadists. On this count, Lee Malvo’s jailhouse drawings were highlighted by Michelle Malkin back in 2003:

Exhibit 65-006: A self-portrait of Malvo in the cross hairs of a gun
scope shouting, “ALLAH AKBAR!” The word “SALAAM” scrawled vertically. A
poem: “Many more will have to suffer. Many more will have to die. Don’t
ask me why.”

Exhibit 65-013: The word “INSHALLAH” above a portrait glorifying

Exhibit 65-016: A portrait of Saddam Hussein with the words
and “nuk” (sic).

Exhibit 65-043: Father and son portrait of Malvo and Muhammad. “We will kill them all. Jihad.”

Exhibit 65-056: A self-portrait of Malvo as sniper, lying in wait, with his rifle. “JIHAD” written in bold letters.

Exhibit 65-057: A drawing of the Twin Towers burning with a plane
flying toward the buildings. Captions: “JIHAD ISLAM UNITE RISE!” along
with “America did this” and “You were warned.” Portrait of Malvo as
sniper labeled “Believer” and portrait of Osama bin Laden labeled
baracks (sic), Our believers are our soldiers.” The American flag and
the Star of David drawn in cross hairs.

Exhibit 65-067: A suicide bomber labeled “Hamas” walking into a
McDonald’s restaurant. Another drawing of the Twin Towers burning
captioned: “85 percent chance Zionists did this.” More scrawls: “ALLAH
AKBAR,” “JIHAD” and “Islam will explode.”

Exhibit 65-103: A lion accompanies chapter and verse from the Koran
(“Sura 2:190”): “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you and
slay them wherever ye catch them.”

Exhibit 65-109: Portrait of Osama bin Laden, captioned “Servant of Allah.”

Exhibit 65-117: The White House drawn in cross hairs, surrounded by
missiles, with a warning: “Sep. 11 we will ensure will look like a
picnic to you” and “you will bleed to death little by little.”

Exhibit 65-133: Reference to “Islamic counter attack force . . . ICAF.”

Exhibit 65-114: Self-portrait of Malvo as sniper. Rant says “they all died and they all deserved it.”

Exhibit 65-101: Malvo’s thought for the day: “Islam the only true guidance, the way of peace.”

There is certainly more evidence that the DC snipers were jihadists than there is that Joe Stack–the Bush hating, communist-credo quoting pilot who flew his plane into an IRS office–was a right winger.

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