Navy Gunman Thought Electromagnetic Waves Controlled Him
The gunman who killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard before being shot dead by police believed he was under the control of extremely low frequency electromagnetic waves, according to the FBI.
“The etching of ‘My ELF weapon!’ on the left side of the receiver of the Remington 870 shotgun is believed to reference these electromagnetic waves,” according to a statement released at a news conference today.
Valerie Parlave, the assistant director in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington field office, said that investigators have found no evidence that Aaron Alexis tipped off anyone that he intended to harm people, or that his victims were specifically targeted.
A week after he began work at the Washington Navy Yard, Alexis entered the complex on Sept. 16 with a valid security clearance, a building pass and a gun he had purchased in nearby Virginia. The gun barrel and stock had been sawed down, and purple duct tape covered the end of the stock, Parlave said. Investigators found that he had purchased a hacksaw at a home improvement store, she said.
The FBI today released video and photos from the Navy Yard attack. The video shows a car entering a parking garage and a man with a backpack entering a building. Later, it shows a man with a shotgun moving down a hallway while pointing the weapon at the doorways, then walking down a stairwell to another floor.
An electronic document recovered from Alexis’s belongings said: “Ultra low frequency attack is what I’ve been subject to for the last 3 months, and to be perfectly honest that is what has driven me to this,” according to Parlave.
Such low-frequency technology was used by the Navy for submarine communications, though Parlave said there are “conspiracy theories” that it’s used for “government monitoring and manipulation of unsuspecting citizens.”
Parlave said that on Sept. 13, three days before the attack, people she didn’t identify addressed a “routine performance-related issue” with Alexis at work. She said there was no indication it caused any reaction from him.
“We do not see any one event as triggering his attack,” and Alexis appeared to have shot people at random, Parlave said.
According to a timeline released by the FBI, Alexis entered the Navy Yard building at 8:08 a.m. carrying a backpack, entered a restroom on the fourth floor and came out carrying a shotgun and no backpack. He shot the first victim at 8:16 a.m. and the first 911 call was received a minute later.
During approximately the next 40 minutes, Alexis went from the fourth floor to the third floor, then to the first floor and went back to the third floor at 8:57 a.m., according to the timeline. Law enforcement officers shot and killed him on the third floor at 9:25 a.m., it said.
The Pentagon will take three months to assess security-clearance procedures that failed to catch signs that Alexis was a potential danger, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said today.
Three separate reviews -- to be conducted by the Defense Department, an independent panel and the Navy -- will be completed by November and then compiled into a comprehensive report that will be submitted to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by Dec. 20, Carter told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.
The timeline suggests no immediate changes to security procedures.
An initial Navy review found the service didn’t know of a 2004 incident in which Alexis shot out the tires of a construction worker’s car in Seattle. A background report, part of a 2007 investigation before Alexis was granted a secret-level clearance, said he was arrested for “deflating” the tires.
That discovery prompted Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to recommend to Hagel that all investigative reports should include any available police documents. Carter said that recommendation would await the reviews now under way.
The review to be conducted by an independent panel will be headed by retired Admiral Eric Olson, former head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, and Paul Stockton, former assistant defense secretary for homeland security, Carter said.