Hmmm... For a Justice Department that has been hot in the pants to try suspected terrorists in federal courts, this would represent a departure of sorts as the person allegedly responsible for the shooting death of Army Private William Long, Abdulhakim Mujad Muhammad, a self-admitted radicalized Muslim, will be tried in state court in Arkansas.
Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad insists he is an Islamic radical, has confessed to killing an Army soldier and wounding another at a Little Rock recruiting station two years ago, and wants to be tried on terrorism charges in federal court.
But in an unusual twist, state prosecutors, with the blessing of the federal government, are treating him like a common American criminal and trying him in state court next week on capital murder charges.
Either way, Muhammad could become the first person sentenced to death in the U.S. for an act of terrorism — even if that is not the charge — since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Muhammad, 24, born Carlos Bledsoe in Memphis, Tenn., has a profile that is now familiar in home-grown terrorism cases. He converted to Islam at age 20 at a Tennessee mosque, changed his name and traveled to the Middle East.
In 2008, he was arrested in Yemen for overstaying his visa and holding false Somali papers. His father said he became radicalized in a Yemeni jail after mixing with other prisoners there.
Six months after Muhammad returned to the U.S., he allegedly drove his black Ford Sport Trac truck to the military recruiting station. Inside the vehicle were a rifle, scope, laser sight, silencer and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. He allegedly fired several rounds before fleeing.
His father is alleging a cover-up by the feds as they blew it by letting him back into this country but it is not clear from the article whether or not Muhammad was on any terror watch list.
This all remains highly curious: To our knowledge, this slaying represents the first time a uniformed serviceman has been assassinated on U.S. soil at a federal installation by a self-admitted radical Islamist. Sounds kind of terrorist-y to us, yet the feds don't want anything to do with this.
What do you all think is going on here?
Our take: Remember how the administration was tripping all over themselves in order to issue a somber statement in the immediate aftermath of the shooting death of Dr. George Tiller, an abortion doctor a couple years back? Yet shortly after that, the shooting death of Private William Long, allegedly at the hands of Muhammad, illicited a belated and lame statement from the White House that did not even appear on the White House's official website as did the Tiller statement. The White House had seen fit to handle that situation in that manner for the shooting death of an individual in the direct chain of command of the Commander-in-Chief.
Would it be fair to posit that the Feds might've taken more of an active role in the prosecution of this case if the assailant were part of say, a white-supremacist and/or extreme "anti-government" group who had specifically targeted an FBI or ATF agent? We think it's entirely fair to conjecture in this manner because the radicalization of American citizens by Islamists is not a narrative this administration wants to deal with or confront as they would be forced to do so if they took the lead in prosecuting this as a terrorism case.
What are we missing? Please re-direct if you think we are off-base.