Whether or not James J. Lee, who invaded the corporate offices of the Discovery Channel Wednesday armed with explosives and a gun, was a terrorist or not would seem to be open to debate. Certainly PJM has been unable to discover any ties between Lee and any known ecoterror group — despite his radical environmentalist manifesto.
At the same time, groups such as the Animal Liberation Front could be expected to disavow any connection to him. As PJM reported earlier this week, the operational model groups such as ALF use would preclude them from taking responsibility for incidents where a human being was harmed or potentially harmed.
PJM did contact Dr. Jerry Vlasak, spokesman for North American Animal Liberation Press Office — an ALF front organization — to pose that very question:
We haven’t heard of him. … We do not approve of his methods. … I’m not going to say we don’t agree with some of his ideology, but there is no reason to believe he’s part of the animal liberation struggle.
This incident does serve to point out the real potential for violence from the environmental movement. More troubling is the fact that Lee — who had a long-running grudge with the Discovery Channel and who spent time in jail on disorderly conduct charges after a 2008 protest against it — was not on some sort of watch list.
Such as the kind advocated for “right-wing extremists” by a Department of Homeland Security document last year.
Lee claimed to be inspired by a book, Ishmael, written by Daniel Quinn. Regardless, he seems to have been a severely disturbed individual who needed help. With his death, we have only his writings, his manifesto, and the posts on an Ishmael discussion board (found by TheWrap.com) to determine what drove the 43-year-old to pick up a starter pistol, construct eight explosive devices — the four he took to the Silver Springs, MD, location and four more which were discovered and detonated at his house — and take hostages.