Is shooter military trained?

By Jon Dougherty

As at least one sniper continues to terrorize the Washington, D.C., area, foil police and avoid capture, officials and civilians alike are beginning to question whether the indiscriminate shooter may have received military training.

Indeed, federal officials already have begun to consider whether the sniper has specifically been trained by the U.S. military, though an FBI spokesman told WND yesterday the bureau could not say whether any suspects had been culled from that effort.

Meanwhile, federal and state authorities have been loath to support a contention that the shootings may be terrorist-related, as WorldNetDaily reported Wednesday.

But investigators and intelligence officials nonetheless have not ruled out that – based on witness accounts – the sniper may be operating with another person, as in a two-man team, or that there could be more than one team operating around the nation’s capital.

And, they say, among other tactics being used by the sniper, the two-man team concept falls in line with current military sniper training.

According to the U.S. Army’s Sniper Training Manual, snipers operate in two-man teams, with one acting as the shooter and another acting as a lookout.

“Snipers work and train in two-man teams. One sniper’s primary duty is that of the sniper and team leader, while the other sniper serves as the observer,” the manual says, a copy of which is posted on the Internet.

The manual also says a sniper’s ancillary mission – besides the obvious main mission of inflicting casualties – is to terrorize the enemy and lower morale, two characteristics now in abundance in Washington and the surrounding suburbia.

“The primary mission of a sniper in combat is to support combat operations by delivering precise long-range fire on selected targets. By this, the sniper creates casualties among enemy troops, slows enemy movement, frightens enemy soldiers, lowers morale and adds confusion to their operations,” the manual says.

“The importance of the sniper cannot be measured simply by the number of casualties he inflicts upon the enemy,” says the manual. “Realization of the sniper’s presence instills fear in enemy troop elements and influences their decisions and actions.”

An introduction to the manual says, “A sniper’s training incorporates a wide variety of subjects designed to increase his value as a force multiplier and to ensure his survival on the battlefield.”

“A sniper must be highly trained in long-range rifle marksmanship and field craft skills to ensure maximum effective engagements with minimum risk,” it adds.

The latest sniper victim, Linda Franklin, 47, an FBI analyst, was killed Monday while loading packages in her vehicle with her husband at a Home Depot store in Falls Church, Va.

The sniper investigation hit a snag yesterday when police announced that the story of a witness at the Home Depot incident was no longer credible.

Franklin is the ninth victim to die; 11 have been shot one time each, including a 13-year-old boy last week.

Click here to read WND’s stories on the sniper attacks.