ISIS triples down on claims of responsibility for Vegas attack, FBI says no evidence of terror connection

ISIS claimed credit for the attack in Las Vegas Monday, however, an FBI agent involved in the investigation said there is no evidence of a connection to terrorism at this point. NY Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi says it’s not true that ISIS claims responsibility for every attack, but she has her doubts about the accuracy of this claim:

Rita Katz, Director of SITE Intelligence Group, also has a thread on the ISIS claim. She says ISIS is doubling down on this claim but still providing no evidence:

So ISIS is definitely claiming this but still offering nothing in the way of proof. The translation of the most recent statement is behind SITE’s paywall but it appears they are claiming this was inspired by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s call for more attacks made in an audio statement released last week. This was the first time in 10 months that anyone had heard from Baghdadi.

At the Atlantic, author Graeme Wood also says ISIS does not claim credit for every attack. However, he notes that the group recently made similar claims of responsibility for another attack which appears to have been a lie:

They have offered no evidence—no cell-phone video from the killer, pledging allegiance in broken Arabic; no selfies of him, raising a finger of monotheism. Another absent sign of Islamic State involvement is videos from Paddock’s rifle-scope. At attacks like the Holey Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the killers have uploaded real-time images, exclusive and corroborating imagery for Amaq. As with many subsequently verified attacks, we have not yet, in these early hours, seen any such evidence.

If their claim is a rare false one, it will not even be the first false claim to feature a casino. In June, a gambling addict shot up and torched the Resorts World casino in Manila, Philippines. The Islamic State claimed credit, with a dubious follow-up alleging that Jessie Javier Carlos, 42, converted to Islam some months before, without telling anyone. That explanation appears to be a total lie. A false claim of credit in Las Vegas will effectively shred the Islamic State’s news agency’s credibility. It will become a news agency that was once reliable, and now associates itself indiscriminately with heavily armed crazy people in casinos.

However, FBI Special Agent Aaron Rouse said at a press conference today that there is no evidence “to this point” the shooter had a connection to terrorism.

The police have searched the shooter’s home but Sherriff Joseph Lombardo said he was “not aware of any derogatory information that we can utilize in furtherance of the investigation at this point.”

When someone commits an act with a terrorist motivation, they usually want the world to know. Omar Mateen, the Pulse nightclub shooter, made 911 calls in which he pledged allegiance to ISIS, knowing those calls would be recorded and, eventually, shared. So if this really is ISIS-inspired it seems odd that Paddock didn’t leave a note or a video or something making clear his motive. Maybe something will turn up but so far ISIS’ claim is unsupported.