Authorities won't rule out terrorism as a motive in Washington state shootings

Law enforcement in Washington are still unable to perceive a motive in the shooting deaths of five people at a mall outside Seattle.  But according to Rep. Mike McCaul, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, terrorism is not being ruled out.

Washington Times:

Rep. Michael T. McCaul, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that law enforcement authorities were “playing it safe, saying there are no links to terrorism.”

“But I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out more details about this individual, as well as we did Mr. Rahami,” he said, referring to New York and New Jersey bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami.

Arcan Cetin, 20, an immigrant from Turkey and legal permanent U.S. resident, was arrested Saturday night on five counts of first-degree murder.

A string of attacks, which also includes a stabbing at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, that left nine people injured, could play a prominent role in the final weeks of the presidential race.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate, said the attacks show a clear need for immigration reform.

“We don’t know the motivation of the permanent legal resident in Washington state who took five American lives last night, but I think what you heard Donald Trump talking about was just simply we need common sense back in our immigration policies in this country,” Mr. Pence said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We need to begin to recognize that we’re at war with radical Islamic terrorism.

“Hillary Clinton won’t even name radical Islamic terrorism,” said Mr. Pence, referring to the Democratic presidential nominee. “Donald Trump has a plan to confront it. A part of that includes a full review of our immigration policies, suspending immigration from territories and nations that have been compromised by terrorism.”

In the middle of a hotly contested presidential campaign, it is inevitable that both sides will politicize the issue of terrorism.  But do the recent attacks favor one candidate over another?

The polls show that tying immigration to terrorism is not necessarily a winner for Trump.  Recent polls show that the voters are almost evenly divided on the question of who would handle terrorism better. 

But folded into the larger issue of immigration, Trump's plan to bar immigration from some countries where terrorism is a problem resonates with his base almost as much as building the border wall.  And if, as many observers suspect, this will be a base election, exciting his supporters over the immigration and terrorism issues plays to Trump's strengths as a candidate.

Clinton supporters place terrorism far down the list of issues they care about.  Domestic attacks don't seem to dampen their enthusiasm for letting in more Muslim refugees.  Clinton is using the terrorism issue to contrast her approach with Trump's, which validates the opinion her supporters have for the GOP nominee. 

Unless there is a mass-casualty attack where dozens or hundreds die, the terrorism issue isn't likely to help or hurt either candidate substantially.  Give a small edge to Trump for his connecting the immigration issue to terrorism.

Law enforcement in Washington are still unable to perceive a motive in the shooting deaths of five people at a mall outside Seattle.  But according to Rep. Mike McCaul, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, terrorism is not being ruled out.

Washington Times:

Rep. Michael T. McCaul, Texas Republican and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” that law enforcement authorities were “playing it safe, saying there are no links to terrorism.”

“But I wouldn’t be surprised if we find out more details about this individual, as well as we did Mr. Rahami,” he said, referring to New York and New Jersey bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami.

Arcan Cetin, 20, an immigrant from Turkey and legal permanent U.S. resident, was arrested Saturday night on five counts of first-degree murder.

A string of attacks, which also includes a stabbing at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, that left nine people injured, could play a prominent role in the final weeks of the presidential race.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate, said the attacks show a clear need for immigration reform.

“We don’t know the motivation of the permanent legal resident in Washington state who took five American lives last night, but I think what you heard Donald Trump talking about was just simply we need common sense back in our immigration policies in this country,” Mr. Pence said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We need to begin to recognize that we’re at war with radical Islamic terrorism.

“Hillary Clinton won’t even name radical Islamic terrorism,” said Mr. Pence, referring to the Democratic presidential nominee. “Donald Trump has a plan to confront it. A part of that includes a full review of our immigration policies, suspending immigration from territories and nations that have been compromised by terrorism.”

In the middle of a hotly contested presidential campaign, it is inevitable that both sides will politicize the issue of terrorism.  But do the recent attacks favor one candidate over another?

The polls show that tying immigration to terrorism is not necessarily a winner for Trump.  Recent polls show that the voters are almost evenly divided on the question of who would handle terrorism better. 

But folded into the larger issue of immigration, Trump's plan to bar immigration from some countries where terrorism is a problem resonates with his base almost as much as building the border wall.  And if, as many observers suspect, this will be a base election, exciting his supporters over the immigration and terrorism issues plays to Trump's strengths as a candidate.

Clinton supporters place terrorism far down the list of issues they care about.  Domestic attacks don't seem to dampen their enthusiasm for letting in more Muslim refugees.  Clinton is using the terrorism issue to contrast her approach with Trump's, which validates the opinion her supporters have for the GOP nominee. 

Unless there is a mass-casualty attack where dozens or hundreds die, the terrorism issue isn't likely to help or hurt either candidate substantially.  Give a small edge to Trump for his connecting the immigration issue to terrorism.