A former Green Beret and combat veteran who is an expert in Middle East-based Islamic terrorism believes the sniper killings in the Washington, D.C., area may be the opening shots of a wider, national effort directed against the United States.

John Moore, a former Missouri homicide detective and veteran of more than 57 combat missions in Vietnam, told WorldNetDaily in a wide-ranging interview that he believes the recent sniper attacks are just the beginning of a larger campaign.

“What’s going on is what I like to call ‘marketing research,'” said Moore, who is also the author of several Special Forces classified studies on Islamic terrorism. “It may just be a test tactic for future use.”

He said if the shootings are the work of a terrorist cell – and he believes they are – they “may want to learn just how much shooting they have to do in order to get the desired effect.”

A desired effect of the attacks, he said, is “a percentage reduction in productivity,” as well as the creation of gridlock in and around the nation’s capital. Also, such an operation would seek to damage the local economy while sowing fear and confusion.

The Sept. 11 attacks resulted in substantial losses to the U.S. economy, analysts have determined.

“If you want to create terror while expending a minimal amount of resources, they’re certainly doing an excellent job of that,” he said, adding the Washington-area attacks “could simply be a matter of fine-tuning this particular tactic” to achieve maximum results.

Moore said the leadership of many of the terrorist organizations aligned against the U.S. are led by well-educated men who have studied American society and culture. He also said they are well-positioned to predict how American leaders will react to certain threats.

“The people in charge of these various organizations – al-Qaida being one of about a dozen – have advanced degrees in the ‘hard subjects’ such as engineering and mathematics,” he said. “They also know they have a finite amount of resources. So they are going to want to know how much of those resources they are going to have to use to get the desired effect.”

Once they figure out what works, it’s likely they’ll apply the formula to other American cities, he said.

Moore’s theories coincide with other evidence first disclosed by WorldNetDaily last month. An al-Qaida training videotape, captured in Afghanistan, shows Osama bin Laden’s terrorists are not only planning attacks with weapons of mass destruction, but are preparing to kill Americans with drive-by shootings and home break-ins, through ambushes of law-enforcement officers and targeted assassinations on golf courses.

Analysts were surprised by some of what they saw in the latest video and believe they employ terrorist tactics and techniques meant for export to America and other nations, WND reported.

Moore said he believes the “main event” to what’s happening in D.C. “will come when we attack Iraq.”

“When the war begins in earnest, that would be the time to proceed with whatever [terrorist groups] intend to do [in the U.S.], expending a lot of resources in a lot of cities at the same time to get the maximum impact,” said Moore. “That would be the smartest thing.”

Yesterday, President Bush – joined by 100 lawmakers in an East Room ceremony – signed a congressional resolution authorizing him to use force against Iraq if Baghdad refuses to disarm and get rid of any weapons of mass destruction.

The resolution “symbolizes the united purpose of our nation, expresses the considered judgment of the Congress and marks an important event in the life of America,” he said. “The 107th Congress is one of the few called by history to authorize military action to defend our nation in the cause of peace.”

Moore, who says he’s done more than 17,500 hours of urban, suburban and rural surveillance, also praised the sniper’s choice of vehicle, and indicated that it added yet another air of professionalism to his attacks.

“Most people, most of the time, in any business area won’t pay much attention to any given vehicle,” he said. “The choice of vehicles was a very smart move. The color white is by far and away the most used color for work and delivery vans in the U.S.”

That fact may be why the sniper – or, some believe, snipers – has eluded capture thus far.

Also, police have been unable to release a composite sketch of alleged sniper suspects. Though a number of witnesses reported seeing a sniper in action Monday night when FBI analyst Linda Franklin was shot and killed in Falls Church, Va., police said Wednesday too many factors – such as distance and darkness – have prevented them from reporting enough similarities for a drawing, Fox News reported yesterday.

Franklin is the sniper’s 11th victim and the ninth to die. Each have been felled with a single gunshot.

The only common denominator, said Capt. Nancy Demme of the Montgomery County, Md., Police Department yesterday, is that the alleged shooter “is male.”

“We don’t have a refined description to go by. I know that’s not what the public wants to hear,” she told reporters.

Should the sniper attacks spread to more communities and cities, Moore believes one of the first things to be sacrificed will be personal liberties.

In fact, he says martial law in some cities or states is a real possibility if attacks get out of hand. And he believes most Americans will accept it in exchange for a promise of security – though he says that kind of dramatic response would be used as a last resort because it would hamper business and commerce, making the fragile U.S. economy even more volatile.

“First and foremost, the business of America is business,” he said.

Click here to read WND’s coverage of the Washington-area shootings

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