Through the Looking Glass, John Muhammad the sniper
John Muhammad, the recently arrested sniper, put three kids in private school while living in a homeless shelter. How…unusual. There’s more too.
I added the links. The statements about Muhammad check out via other media.
Sniper, Saboteur, or Sleeper?
I figured it was time to check in with the last great figure in the history of American counterintelligence, so I plugged in the Ouija board and got through to the late James Jesus Angleton <Director, CIA Counterintelligence, 1954-1974> on the first try. There were probably fewer people talking to their ancestors once the snipers were rounded up, or maybe it was because the president was off at the ranch, talking to our Chinese buddies. In any case it was a fine connection, and he was in fine humor.
ML: I have to give you credit; you were the only person who said, early on, that the odds were good that there was no white van. And voilà, it was a blue car from New Jersey instead.
JJA: I think it’s helpful not to watch television. And you’ll notice that some of the old hands from the FBI understood from the beginning that it was more likely to be a Muslim killer than an angry white man, and since most American Muslims are black, the odds were that it was a black Muslim. They got a bonus, so to speak, when there were two of them.
ML: So what strikes you now?
JJA: Well, I hope that somebody’s working very hard on this case, because it has many fascinating elements. Mr. John Allen Muhammad is most interesting, isn’t he?
ML: Yes, he sure is. Even the biographical snippets we have so far are intriguing.
JJA: Right. A failed military officer, a failed husband, and a failed father. A perfect target for recruitment. And then, without any obvious explanation, he turns up with money and starts traveling outside the United States, where it’s harder for us to watch him…not that anyone seems to have been paying particular attention, of course.
ML: Yes, that foreign travel is suggestive, isn’t it?
JJA: I’m struck by his many trips to Antigua, number one. That requires money, and there’s no obvious source of funds from what we know about him, I mean, even his karate joint venture failed, didn’t it? But he’s flying around, he takes his three kids and runs off to Antigua, and what does he do with them there? He enrolls them in a private school, Greensville Primary School, and he enchants the principal, Ms. Janet Harris, to the point where she helped him get an Antigua passport.
ML: Yes, the Seattle Times reported that the Antiguan Foreign Ministry is investigating Muhammad “for ties to a smuggling and fake-document operation.” And so I ask myself, and of course yourself, whether we shouldn’t consider the possibility that Muhammad is part of something bigger, something more organized, something more frightening. And I remembered that you were tantalized by the possibility that this was some sort of test case, a probe.
JJA: As always in real life, there are contradictory elements. On the one hand, you have behavior typical of the psychotic serial killer who secretly, desperately, wants to be caught: the communications – the provocations, I would call them – with the police, including, incredibly, a credit-card number, and also including, incredibly, an invitation to meet him at the Ponderosa Restaurant, although maybe that message didn’t get through until it was too late. And there’s also the call to the Catholic priest in Virginia, which the idiot didn’t report. That’s one side of Muhammad, and it fits with the poor grammar, the sloppy spelling, and all that. Let’s call it the stupid side.
On the other hand, he’s not stupid at all. He plays chess, which, whatever else you may think (yes, I know you’re a bridge player, but bridge requires four people and he didn’t want to drive around with three others in tow, one was enough), shows a certain IQ level, doesn’t it? And he is constantly showing up with false travel documents, which suggests some kind of support organization. And then, at least according to newspaper stories – which often is not the most reliable information – he isn’t talking, and the 17-year old accomplice isn’t talking either. That also suggests serious preparation, maybe even training.
ML: Kind of like the guys at Guantanamo Bay?
ML: So suppose somebody asked you to write a movie treatment for Muhammad, what would it look like?
JJA: Pure fiction, right? Not serious counterintelligence, just the most stimulating theory?
ML: I promise we won’t give it to Tenet.
JJA: OK, then. Let’s say I’d make a movie about a black man with lots of ambition, flashes of real insight and imagination, beset with a series of problems in his personal life that finally overwhelm him. He’s spotted by a sleeper terror network, and recruited ideologically. He’s converted to Islam, he signs up with Farrakhan (in many ways, I must tell you, the most intriguing thing about Muhammad is that that he didn’t change his name right away, as if he were trying to hide his religious identity; normally the converts change their name at once), and then, over time, he’s manipulated. First they use him to organize the infiltration of Jamaicans and Antiguans into the United States, then they induce him to terrorize Washington D.C., and they tell him if he’s caught he must remain silent, or go directly to hell for all eternity.
So, it appears probable that John Muhammad was allied with subterranean group(s). The question is, which ones and why?