Why a False Claim Seems at Odds With the Group’s Strategy By Michael S. Smith II
Since declaring its so-called caliphate in the summer of 2014, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has claimed responsibility for more than a dozen attacks in the West. Seven of them have occurred in the United States—most recently in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old American whose religious interests remain a mystery, converted a luxury hotel room into a sniper’s perch and took aim at concert-goers gathered beneath his window, killing nearly 60 people and wounding hundreds more. Shortly after, via its Amaq “news service,” ISIS asserted that Paddock was a “soldier of the Islamic State who carried out the attack in response to calls for targeting coalition countries.” In a separate Amaq report, ISIS explained, Paddock “converted to Islam months before the attack.” Soon after, the group issued an official statement, in which it claimed that the shooting was in response to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s call for attacks “targeting the crusader alliance” and that “after careful monitoring of the Crusader gatherings in the city of Las Vegas,” Paddock, whom ISIS identified using the kunya (or honorific title) “Abu Abd El Bar,” killed and wounded 600 people before becoming a “martyr.”
Newsweek: ISIS may be withholding proof that Las Vegas shooting was jihad in order to discredit FBI
October 10, 20172:17 pm By Robert Spencer:
“If Islamic State did indeed cultivate Paddock, as it has claimed was the case, the group surely has some evidence of its engagements with him. If it does, it may be the case the group is waiting on FBI and other agencies to dismiss its claim of responsibility for the Las Vegas attack before posting contradictory evidence online for the world to see. Islamic State has been very focused on undermining confidence among civilians in the West that their technologically-superior governments are competent managers of our collective security.”
If ISIS Was Behind Las Vegas Shooting, There’s a Terrifying Reason It Won’t Prove It Yet
By Tom O’Connor, Newsweek:
Authorities continue to doubt that the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) was behind last week’s massacre in Las Vegas, despite the jihadists’ persistent claims the shooter acted on their behalf. According to one leading expert’s analysis, however, the conflicting narratives might be playing straight into ISIS’s hands.
Despite digging deep into Stephen Paddock’s background, investigators have struggled to understand what drove the 64-year-old man, who described himself as a “professional gambler,” to slaughter 58 people and injure hundreds more when he opened fire on crowds attending a country music concert from his 32nd-floor hotel room in Las Vegas. Nothing so far has reportedly led them to believe ISIS’s claim that Paddock converted to Islam and acted as “a soldier” of the group’s self-styled caliphate, leaving observers wondering why the global militant group would risk making such an outlandish, intentionally false allegation.
The answer could lie in a larger plot to exploit the U.S.’s already eroding trust in its leadership.
“If Islamic State did indeed cultivate Paddock, as it has claimed was the case, the group surely has some evidence of its engagements with him. If it does, it may be the case the group is waiting on FBI and other agencies to dismiss its claim of responsibility for the Las Vegas attack before posting contradictory evidence online for the world to see,” terrorism analyst Michael S. Smith said.