At this time in the early ongoing investigation, there is nothing concrete…
The point of Robert’s article is just pointing out the knee-jerk reaction (of which I’m guilty) to insist that every time Islamic State takes credit for an atrocity, the facts surrounding their connection are thin.
And historically, they haven’t been liars, at least when they claimed responsibility for jihad attacks. Islamic State expert Graeme Wood notes in The Atlantic that “the idea that the Islamic State simply scans the news in search of mass killings, then sends out press releases in hope of stealing glory, is false,” and that those who claim that ISIS is in the habit of taking credit for attacks it had nothing to do with “do not have a preponderance of prior examples on their side.” Contradicting Suleiman’s ridicule, Wood notes: “The Islamic State does not claim natural disasters. Its supporters rejoice in them, but they reserve their official media for intentional acts.”
WAS LAS VEGAS A JIHAD ATTACK?
There is scant reason to doubt ISIS’ claim of responsibility.
Memphis imam Yasir Qadhi said that the Las Vegas massacre was a manifestation of “white privilege.” Texas imam Omar Suleiman tweeted ridicule of ISIS’ claim of responsibility for the attack: “Breaking: ISIS claims responsibility for hurricane Harvey saying he became Muslim days before hitting Houston.”
They didn’t ridicule the ISIS claim, but unnamed U.S. officials did decisively dismiss it: Reuters reported that “two senior US officials said on Monday that there was no evidence that the shooter who killed at least 50 people in Las Vegas was tied to any international militant group….One of the two US officials discounted Islamic State’s claim of responsibility and said there was reason to believe that the shooter, whom police identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, had a history of psychological problems.”
The only one insisting that the Islamic State was responsible was the Islamic State itself. Its Amaq news agency initially announced: “The Las Vegas attack was carried out by a soldier of the Islamic State and he carried it out in response to calls to target states of the coalition. The Las Vegas attacker converted to Islam a few months ago.”
Then, after its initial claim was dismissed everywhere, the Islamic State doubled down, issuing an official communiqué identifying Paddock as “Abu Abd Abdulbar al-Ameriki.” Even after their claim was dismissed everywhere, they didn’t back away from it. They don’t seem to be afraid that Stephen Paddock will turn out to be a white supremacist neo-Nazi or some such. They don’t seem to be worried about being exposed as grandiose liars.