WASHINGTON â Several witnesses to the Beltway sniper shootings over the past two weeks have described suspects resembling Middle-Eastern men, but authorities have played down the Islamic terrorism angle to avoid mass "panic" in the area, an ATF official told WorldNetDaily.
"That angle is actually being looked at, and the FBI has the lead on it," said the official, who is working with the sniper-murders task force based in Maryland's Montgomery County, where the first five shootings took place.
"None of this has been overlooked. There's an awful lot that they're not allowing out," he said. "But the issue really is, as it was with the nuclear (terrorism) stuff, that they do not want public panic."
The Bush administration fears parents might pull their children from schools if police speculate about a terrorist connection, he says. And federal employees might skip work, effectively shutting...