Thursday’s plane crash into an Internal Revenue Service office in Austin, Texas, has caused some debate on what to label the attack.
After posting an anti-IRS note on his Web site and setting his house on fire, Joseph Stack flew a plane into the IRS office where nearly 200 employees work.
After stating earlier that it didn’t appear to be terrorism, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said later that afternoon he would wait for the end of the investigation before determining what to label the action.
However, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, labeled the crash an act of domestic terrorism and compared the incident to the Oklahoma City bombing.
Ken Gude, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said it differed from the Oklahoma City bombing because Stack acted alone. Gude urged caution before placing any label on the event, though he said it had all the markings of domestic terrorism.
The FBI defines domestic terrorism as a violent act directed at elements of the government or population by groups or individuals who are based and operate entirely within the United States and Puerto Rico without foreign direction.
Ami Pedahzur, associate professor at the University of Texas, whose field of interest is terrorism, said Stack’s crash had elements of terrorism but didn’t have the element of political change as a goal, which makes it vague in definition.
Would you define the Austin, Texas, plane crash as an act of terrorism?