(This is Part 2 of a three-part series on revelations in the Carey case made by a Secret Service officer. Read part 1, "Secret Service officer drops bombshell in 'murdered mom' case.")
WASHINGTON – It is the most basic and simple question in the entire Miriam Carey saga.
Why would federal officers chase an unarmed, suburban mother with her infant strapped into the back seat of her car?
Why would they shoot her in the back?
Why would they kill her?
The mystery is why, on Oct. 3, 2013, Secret Service and Capitol Police officers pursued and killed Carey after all she did was enter a White House guard post apparently by mistake, then make a U-turn and immediately try to leave.
An 11-year veteran of the Secret Service has come forward with an explanation that may finally answer that most basic question: Why did federal officers kill Carey?
The most common explanation that has been given since Day 1 is that officers had no way of knowing if she posed a threat to national security and whether she was a terrorist, so they killed her.
At the time of the shooting, NBC reported:
"The U.S. Capitol was placed on lockdown for about an hour, and police officials said they will review their response to security breaches."
The New York Times reported:
"At the Capitol, there was panic as it became clear that the police were mobilizing for a security threat. The loud buzzers were a jarring sound in a city still on edge from the shootings last month. Police officers, their semiautomatic rifles drawn, quickly sealed off the entrances to hallways and instructed people to remain where they were."
"The officers who shot and killed the woman who led police on a high-speed chase through Washington, D.C. on Thursday may have thought her motive was terroristic, says a police shooting expert.
"'Our nation's capital has been and continues to be a target, and people who work for the Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police and the Secret Service understand that and have certain protocols in place' to deal with such a perceived threat, explains Prof. David Klinger of the University of Missouri-St. Louis."
"[S]ays Klinger, at the time a reasonable officer may well have thought that Carey was attempting to carry out a terrorist plot, given the fact that she appeared to be targeting two major centers of power: the White House and the Capitol building."
Not so, a Secret Service officer told WND.
Muhammad Abdul Raheem, an officer in the Uniformed Division of the U.S. Secret Service for 11 years, has decided to go public and reveal his identity because he felt the killing of Carey by federal officers was unjust.
Raheem recently sat down with WND and a reporter from the Washington Post and discussed the Carey case for three-and-a-half-hours in a Washington, D.C., office building just a few blocks from the site of another infamous capital cover-up, the Watergate Hotel.
WND has investigated the Carey case in depth since the beginning. The stunning facts and details of the investigation and the Justice Department cover-up are revealed in WND Books' "Capitol Crime: Washington's Cover-Up of the Killing of Miriam Carey."
Long before WND uncovered many of the details indicating an official cover-up, famed civil libertarian Nat Hentoff said from all of the evidence he had seen in WND’s reports, which he called very thorough and easily corroborated, "[T]his is a classic case of police out of control and, therefore, guilty of plain murder."
In the first part of this WND series on Raheem's interview, the Trenton, New Jersey, native explained how the Secret Service covered up what he said was the unjustifiable shooting.
In this second part, the Secret Service officer revealed how officers who shot Carey knew that national security was never at risk. He analyzed their actions for WND to come to that conclusion.
Raheem explained how federal officers knew that national security was never at risk during the Carey incident because officers did not act like they suspected she had a bomb.
And, he added, since they knew there was no risk to national security, they had no reason to shoot the unarmed, 34-year-old woman.
The 11-year Secret Service veteran described how officers violated all protocol for encountering a person suspected of having a bomb, or IED (improvised explosive device).
He said, according to that protocol, responding officers are instructed to:
- Stay off their radios.
- Do not approach the car.
- Do not shoot.
Instead, officers confronting Carey did all three.
"First, stay off your radio. Stay off your phone," said Raheem. "That's because those radio waves could trigger an explosive device.
"Stay away from the vehicle," he added. "If you think somebody has an IED, the last thing you would do would be to approach the vehicle."
Would he ever shoot at a car that might have a bomb in it?
"No. No. And you definitely would not go up to a car that you think has a bomb in it," Raheem said, referring to video shot by a news crew that showed officers with their guns drawn rushing up to Carey's car at Garfield Circle, then peering inside the windows.
From everything he had seen and heard, was there any reason for officers chasing Carey to believe national security was at risk in any way?
"No. And if they did think that, why would you run up to a car that has a bomb in it?" he asked. "What are you gonna do, yell at the bomb? They were yelling. ... Am I going to make a bomb not go off by yelling?"
Raheem said officers actually acted as though they knew there really was no bomb, because, "They approached the car like they weren't scared at all."
So, were they using the supposed bomb threat as an excuse to justify their actions, after the fact?
"It looked to me like a training scenario where people knew they were not going to die."
So what did he think was going through their minds?
"Those guys did not think they were dying that day," Raheem insisted. "I know that for a fact. They were thinking that they were going up to a car and were going to do their regular macho thing. It looked like a training scenario, with guys tripping over each other and shooting everywhere."
In training, do officers shoot at cars as they are driving away, as they did with Carey?
"No," the officer said with a rueful laugh. "In training, no one uses precaution as they would if they thought they were going to die. If they say they do, they are lying."
So, what should officers have done in the real-life scenario?
"They definitely should not have approached the vehicle, number one," he explained. "For their own safety. Don't approach the vehicle like that. If you really had reason to fear this vehicle, wouldn't you be afraid that somebody might jump out of the back and spray you with an AK-47? That's why it struck me like a training scenario, because nobody thought their life was in jeopardy that day.
"If you go in hot pursuit of a vehicle, when you pull that vehicle over, and you don't know what's in the car, you don't just run up to the car," he added.
"Now, I understand getting behind cover and pulling out your weapon. But to run up to the car and constantly knock on the window? If you are really scared, by that time, why didn't you shoot right there?" he wondered.
Raheem described a schism within the uniformed division of the Secret Service. He said he and his fellow colleagues stationed at the guard posts generally have good relations with the public.
But, he said the officers in the patrol units, in cars and on bikes, have a different mentality. They are under orders to "generate activity" and to be proactive. He described them as actually looking for trouble.
"Those guys respond to a lot of things that never get real, that never hits the fan. So, they do a lot of things that look good, like they are in a movie, doing all that stuff. But they know none of that stuff is real."
He said that was the mentality they brought to the Carey chase, because, "They are not even thinking, 'If I get near this, something might happen.' Because nobody was scared. A scared person would never act like that."
"A lot of those units at the White House, they just jump out and do their little macho thing. It looks good. They like to give off that impression. Like tough guys. But they're not tough guys," he concluded.
Even if the federal officers responded poorly, as Raheem suggested, they do have a huge responsibility that no other police departments have, to help protect national security.
WND asked, could that added responsibility have, in any way, justified the killing of Carey?
"Not at all. Because it's still the same thing. Out on the streets, you are still a police officer," and, he explained, the rules are different only when you are protecting someone, not chasing someone.
"Protection is different," Raheem explained. "If you are in protection, you cover the protectee. You get that person out of there; you don't go after what's coming at him.
"In the Secret Service, that's how it is: minimum (attention) to the threat, maximum (attention) to the protectee. So, if somebody came in here trying to shoot you, I'm not going to chase them. I've got to cover you."
From what he knew of what happened at the final scene on Constitution Avenue, where Carey was shot to death, were officers protecting anyone? Or anything?
"No. Not at all. I don't know what they could have been protecting," was his simple but powerful analysis.
What about the officers' claim they shot and killed Carey in self-defense?
"Well, in self-defense of what?" was Raheem's rhetorical response.
He wondered: Just who were officers defending?
"When they went up to the vehicle, if they looked in and, as close as they were, she pulled out any kind of weapon that could cause a danger to them, if she pulled out a gun, that would be self-defense."
"If I'm in fear for my life, I'm getting behind cover," he added. "If I go up to a vehicle and I see a gun, I'm firing. I'm not waiting. There's a weapon. But that didn't happen."
What about the fear that she might hit them with her car? Is it Secret Service policy that a car can be considered a deadly weapon?
WND noted that Carey was already driving away from officers at Garfield Circle before they opened fire.
"So, to wait for the car to pull away before firing rounds, that's kinda like … What made you fear for your life? Now the car is not driving at you."
He continued, "If she went at that guy and he did fear for his life, and then she pulled off and went the other way, what are you shooting for? Who fears for their life now, you know? You have to know how to de-escalate."
Officers fired eight shots at Garfield Circle at Carey in the direction of a major street, Independence Avenue, and a congressional office building. Did he consider that reckless?
"Yes. Definitely. With the totality of circumstances, it's definitely reckless because you are taking a chance with other people's lives trying to stop someone who didn't even commit a felony," Raheem observed.
Was anybody disciplined, or was anything said about any of those actions?
"I have no idea. I just know the guys disappeared. We didn't see the people who were involved in that shooting, at least one of them, for over a year. They just didn't come back."
So, if he saw no justifiable reason for officers to fire their weapons, why did Raheem think they shot and killed Carey?
"Man," he said, and exhaled deeply, as if at a loss.
"In my opinion? I believe that the guys did not know how to de-escalate. In the heat of the moment, one person shoots, everybody shoots."
If they didn't know how to de-escalate, would that have been a training lapse?
"Definitely a training lapse."
Raheem identified other factors he believed were at play.
"Personal feelings. Bad decision-making. Decision-making is a part of training."
Did he think he would have acted similarly and shot at Carey?
"Definitely not. Definitely not. Definitely not. If I were in that position, I would've gotten behind cover, and I would have gotten out of the way because I don't know what's in the car. Because, first of all, I have to think of my own safety."
Raheem also saw a lost opportunity to resolve the situation peacefully when officers failed to prevent Carey from leaving Garfield Circle.
"From what I have seen in that situation, it was easy to box that car in. It was so easy to box the car in. I would've thought about doing that. Shooting at somebody moving? No. Definitely not."