February 18, 2010: Man crashes plane into Texas IRS building

On February 18, 2010 a US citizen flew his plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas, killing himself and one IRS manager and injuring 13.

AUSTIN, TEXAS – If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and quacks like a duck it can still be a turkey.

Is there anything more iconic than 9/11? The pictures we saw as the single greatest terrorist attack in history unfolded are etched into all our memories I’d wager. As we saw the first tower billowing smoke a second airliner struck the second tower – in real time! I for one will never forget it.

An attack of this scale and using this method – commandeering commercial aircraft and converting them into fuel-laden missiles – had never been seen before (even if there was an Algerian terrorist plot in 1994 to explode a plane above the Eiffel Tower in Paris that was eerily similar). It became the nightmare scenario for law enforcement and security intelligence agencies from that time forward (i.e. we feared it could happen again).

If you don’t let us park our plane here you’ll be sorry! (Photo: Mustang Joe on flickr, Public Domain)

Not everything that bears resemblance to an attack MO is in truth a terrorist act however. Or so we think…

On this day in 2010

A US citizen named Andrew Joseph Stack III flew his single engine plane into an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office building in Austin, Texas, killing himself and one IRS manager: 13 people were also injured. Stack had previously burned his house down.

I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different. I am finally ready to stop this insanity. Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.

From the assailant’s suicide note

Stack was clearly unwell, as his last note rambled on about the US government, General Motors, the Catholic Church, unions and car insurance companies. He did have his issues but none of this constituted a ideology: hence the US ruled out terrorism. This duck did not quack after all.

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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