Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ohio Man Plots Assault Weapons Attack on Congress

It has been reported that an Ohio man has been arrested by the FBI for planning to execute an assault on the U.S. Congress. He was arrested after he bought two assault weapons and 600 rounds of ammunition.

In the 90's I was writing a "fictional" book about a potential attack on the U.S. Capitol. However my plot was much more elaborate, involving foreign powers and stolen nuclear warheads. This planned attack shows that there is no need for an elaborate attack or nuclear weapons to damage the United States. 

All it would take is one, two or three people with high powered assault weapons breaking into Congress to get a result like the Paris Charlie Hebdo shootings.  If they rushed into a session of Congress with 30 round clips, we could see scores of dead and wounded Congress reps.

The Ohio man made the mistake of broadcasting his intentions and the FBI was able to get an informant involved. But if the plotters were like the brothers in Paris there would be no warning.

The NRA has made this possibility a real threat. They have fought the ban on 30 round ammo clips. They have fought the requirement of passing a background check if a buyer gets an assault weapon at a trade show instead of a gun shop. The NRA has even made it so that the federal government cannot tell who has bought multiple weapons - all the documents are kept on paper and off a national database.

ISIS in Syria has changed tactics. Instead of asking people to come to Syria they are now calling on Muslims in the west, primarily Europe and the United States, to launch their own attacks against targets.  In Belgium, police raided a house and were shot at by a group planning a major attack. Sooner or later, it will be our turn to face an extremist who may not even be on the government radar, like this Ohio man.

When I researched my book (which was never published, so it could not have inspired 9/11), I realized that if a terrorist really wanted to hurt the U.S. that Congress would be a logical target. Flight 93 that went down on 911 is thought to have been targeting either Congress or the White House.

But the Ohio incident and the Charlie Hebdo tragedy shows that no such elaborate scheme would be needed. Gunmen running into the Capitol could quickly kill any security before it had time to react. If they timed it so that the House of Representatives or Senate was meeting, they could spray the chamber will bullets.

The result would instantly paralyze our government (even more so then what congress has done to itself).  Under our Constitution, replacement Senators killed in such an attack could be appointed by the sitting Governor but replacement Congress reps would have to be selected by Special Elections, which could take months!  No such in that process was adopted by Congress after 9/11.

I wrote about this issue in the chapter "Predicting 911..." in my book "Better Times Ahead April Fool" since I have been on TV as a terrorism analyst during the first Gulf War and 9/11.  Before 9/11, no one thought such an attack could happen. We found out otherwise.

Our Congress needs to look at this issue.  We adopted the 25th amendment to deal with a President who has been incapacitated. Congress should pass whatever it takes to deal with replacing a Congress if more than a certain number have been killed in an attack. Our response to such an event could be impossible if, for example, a hidden bomb or a missile strike --or an assault weapons attack-- killed most of either or both chambers.

It's not outside the realm of possibility. It's best to be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best.  Otherwise, we could end up under martial law for months if Congress is attacked.

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