Tony Blinken, deputy national security adviser to the president, said the FBI is investigating whether the suspect, Alton Nolen, is a so-called “lone wolf” terrorist or a disgruntled worker who went on a rampage, killing and beheading one co-worker and seriously wounding another.
Nolen’s Facebook page is riddled with anti-American posts, glorification of brutal tactics used by Islamic terrorist groups, and a photo of Osama bin Laden.
“We don’t know,” Blinken said when asked directly whether the attack was an act of terror. “The FBI has an active investigation. I’m not going to get ahead of it. Let’s see what they find.”
Though Blinken appeared on at least three Sunday news shows, "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace was the only host to raise a possible terrorist connection to the Oklahoma attacks.
CNN’s Candy Crowley set up her interview with Blinken by asking about warnings from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security about lone-wolf terrorists acting alone in retaliation for the U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. But she did not tie that discussion to the beheading in Oklahoma.
"Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer, who also interviewed Blinken on the CBS program, made no mention of the Oklahoma attack.
Though Blinken did not appear on ABC’s "This Week," the network's senior Justice Department correspondent, Pierre Thomas, did mention Nolen’s efforts convert fellow employees to Islam in the setup of a broader discussion about homegrown terrorism.
The Obama administration was chastised for calling the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, an act of “workplace violence” by Maj. Nidal Hassan, who espoused militant Islamic beliefs. Thirteen people died in that shooting. Hassan was later convicted of premeditated murder by a court martial and has been sentenced to death.
Nolen was fired from his job Thursday, apparently after trying to convert co-workers to Islam. He returned to the food processing plant in Moore, Okla., and attacked two fellow employees, beheading one woman and stabbing the other, before being shot by a company executive who is also a reserve sheriff's deputy.
Nolen's Facebook page is riddled with phrases like “Sharia law is coming” and calling America “wicked.” It also has photos of various terror groups and their leaders, including bin Laden, who was killed by U.S. forces operating in Pakistan in 2012.
Moore police sought assistance from the FBI after learning of Nolen’s fundamentalist beliefs, in part because of the brutal nature of the crime.
Nolen has an extensive criminal history, which includes a prison stint for assaulting a police officer and drug offenses.