The suicide pilot suspected of attacking an Internal Revenue Service office in Austin, Texas ranted against the government, big business, and in particular, the federal tax agency, in an online posting just hours before he died. "Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer," he wrote.Federal authorities immediately launched an intensive investigation into the incident, in which a small plane flew into a federal office, killing the pilot and injuring over a dozen others. The event bore similarities to both 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing -- the two worst terrorist attacks on American soil. Some experts called it the work of deranged man hell-bent on suicide; others said his apparent intention to target the government and kill others amounted to a domestic terror attack.
In an apparent suicide note posted just hours before the attack, the suspect, identified as Joseph A. Stack III, wrote that he had been bedeviled by tax trouble and tangles with the IRS. Stack concluded the letter with the date, his name and the apparent years of his life: 1956 to 2010.
Intending To Kill
Federal officials said Stack, a software engineer, set his house on fire about one hour before flying his Piper Cherokee PA-28 into the Austin office building, resulting in what witnesses described as a "50-foot fireball" that consumed the building and burned for several hours. Some experts speculated that Stack may have loaded additional explosives or "accelerants" on the plane to increase the destruction.
"I certainly think he was intending to kill other people," Gregg McCrary, a former FBI behavioral scientist told CNN. "Based on the letter, he seemed paranoid, like everyone was out to get him."
Authorities scrambled two F-16 fighter jets from Houston in a response NORAD -- the North American Aerospace command -- called "a prudent precaution, and consistent with our response to recent similar air incidents." But it appeared the attack was an isolated incident.
In the letter, originally posted on the website for a software company apparently founded by Stack, he drew an explicit connection between the Great Depression and the current recession.
"I remember reading about the stock market crash before the 'great' depression and how there were wealthy bankers and businessmen jumping out of windows when they realized they screwed up and lost everything," Stack wrote. "Isn't it ironic how far we've come in 60 years in this country that they now know how to fix that little economic problem; they just steal from the middle class (who doesn't have any say in it, elections are a joke) to cover their asses and it's 'business-as-usual.'"
Grievances Against Many
Stark lashed out at the IRS, the Catholic Church, George W. Bush and the federal government, and decried what he called "two 'interpretations' for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us."
"Why is it that a handful of thugs and plunderers can commit unthinkable atrocities (and in the case of the GM executives, for scores of years) and when it's time for their gravy train to crash under the weight of their gluttony and overwhelming stupidity, the force of the full federal government has no difficulty coming to their aid within days if not hours?" Stack wrote.
He wrote he had come to believe that "starting at early ages we in this country have been brainwashed to believe that, in return for our dedication and service, our government stands for justice for all." He wrote that America had strayed from its "no taxation without representation" principle, and "anyone who really stands up for that principal is promptly labeled a 'crackpot,' traitor and worse."
"I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different," Stack concluded. "I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let's try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well."
Find excerpts of the letter from the Associated Press. (The full version is available at The Smoking Gun).
Austin Suicide Pilot Hated the IRS Before Attack