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Terrorist Execution and Sniper Trials Could Provoke Attacks

Monday, 11 November 2002 12:00 AM

"On November 14, 2002, the State of Virginia is scheduled to execute Mir Ahmad Kasi, also known as Mir Aimal Kansi, a Pakistani national, who was convicted in 1997 of the 1993 murders of two CIA employees," the warning states. "The potential exists for retaliatory acts against U.S. or other foreign interests in response to the execution."

Kasi shot Frank Darling and Dr. Lansing Bennett as they were sitting in their cars at a traffic signal outside the CIA headquarters in McLean, Va., on Jan. 25, 1993. Both agents were killed instantly. Three other people were wounded.

Although Kasi claimed during his 1998 trial to have "no religious preference," the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that he told FBI agents he avoided shooting women because doing so violated his Muslim faith.

Testimony at the trial of the 37-year-old Kasi revealed that he also told federal agents he wanted to "punish the United States" for repelling the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, for its support of Israel, and for the alleged "deep involvement of the CIA" in the internal affairs of Muslim countries.

"He certainly indicated that his intention was to make a political statement," Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Horan told the Washington Times in September.

"He indicated that he was going to take people out at either the CIA or the Israeli Embassy, but he chose the CIA because he felt there would be fewer people around with weapons," Horan said.

Fred Gedrich, a senior policy analyst with the Freedom Alliance, told CNSNews.com that Americans should view the State Department's warning in the context of the war on terror.

"Whenever you have something that will be well publicized, it could conceivably cause a lunatic out there in that particular community to entertain some ideas," he said. "I think [the State Department is] just being safe, [but] I wouldn't be critical of what they are doing."

A former State Department analyst, Gedrich said the issuance of such warnings may affect terrorists' behavior in an unexpected way.

"When these alerts do come out and people are more careful do they, in effect, deter attacks? They may. We'll never know," he observed. "So, from that standpoint, it's better to alert the people knowing something may go wrong, as opposed to remaining silent."

Gedrich believes the recent U.S. elections and passage of the U.N. resolution ordering Iraq to relinquish all weapons of mass destruction or face invasion are "turning points" with regard to the threat of Islamist terrorism against U.S. interests.

"What the world is seeing, and our adversaries within the Muslim communities, is that the U.S. is very serious about eradicating the scourge of global terrorism," he said.

Many pundits have argued that the U.S. should tread lightly, to avoid provoking Islamist radicals. Gedrich disagrees.

"I think what people in the Muslim world respect is the use of force," he continued. "If they feel as though the United States is committed I don't think there will be quite the negative reaction that many people are suggesting will occur."

The upcoming trials of "Beltway Sniper" suspects John Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, as well as the ongoing legal maneuvers surrounding terrorist suspect Zacarias Moussaoui, could also draw the attention of Muslim extremists, Gedrich cautioned.

"John Allen Muhammad has been a Muslim for 17 years, and we don't know specifically what connections he may have within the Muslim community," he observed. "There are a lot of lunatics out there and you don't know what will set them off or whether they will have any sympathies."

The potential for near daily terrorist attacks, such as those endured by Israeli citizens, is "really not that far away," Gedrich warned.

"What the so-called 'sniper' attacks showed us is how vulnerable we are," he said. "I think a lot of us are holding our breath to see if the next shoe doesn't drop."

The freedom of American society makes it easier, he explained, for terrorists to strike. With that freedom, Gedrich added, comes a responsibility.

"The best antidote for the problems we face is, I think, for all Americans to be a little bit more vigilant and observant of what's going on around them," he urged.

"We should not forget, we are engaged in a war now, and it's a life or death struggle as to whether or not we're going to continue to be a free country. We have a lot to defend here," Gedrich concluded. "We've got to be careful and we have to help our government officials as much as possible."


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On November 14, 2002, the State of Virginia is scheduled to execute Mir Ahmad Kasi, also known as Mir Aimal Kansi, a Pakistani national, who was convicted in 1997 of the 1993 murders of two CIA employees, the warning states. The potential exists for retaliatory acts...
Monday, 11 November 2002 12:00 AM
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