Hostage Taker James Lee: Al Gore Made Him Do It?

Family Security MattersJim Kouri

A man who was allegedly angry with the Discovery Channel's environmental line-up, and entered the company's national headquarters outside Washington, DC and took several people hostage at gunpoint, was negatively influenced by Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth."

The suspect -- identified as James Lee -- also had a "suicide vest" with explosives strapped to his body. A police tactical unit, however, was able to rescue the hostages and killed the enraged hostage-taker.

The three hostages — two Discovery Channel employees and a security officer — escaped unharmed after a four-hour hostage incident Wednesday. Following several hours negotiating with the gunman, SWAT officers moved in when Lee was observed pulling out a handgun and pointing it at a hostage on a CCTV monitor, according to Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger. SWAT officers shot and killed the suspect and rescued the hostages unharmed.

This hostage situation was not the first time Lee had targeted Discovery's headquarters. In 2008, he was charged with disorderly conduct for staging a "Save the Planet Protest." In court and online, he had demanded an end to Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel children's shows. He believed the network should air "programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility."

"Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what's left of the planet with their false morals and breeding cultures," Lee wrote on his Internet blog.

On Wedneday, Lee went on his hostage-taking rampage at 1 PM (eastern) and by 5 PM (eastern) a police tactical unit reportedly shot and killed the suspect and freed his hostages.

According to a police source, Lee was influenced by radical environmentalist and author Daniel Allen and former Vice President Al Gore.

According to Fox News, Lee wrote on his blog:

"All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs' places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it."

"It's interesting that most of the news coverage omits the influence of Al Gore on this gunman. Had he been affiliated with the Tea Party movement or was influenced by Sarah Palin, that tidbit would have resulted in a feeding frenzy. But here's a madman with a gun and explosives who was influenced by Al Gore and the environmental movement, and the silence is deafening," said former police detective Sid Franes.

Hostage and Barricade Situation Response

In the US, negotiators work closely with tactical teams, like SWAT and Hostage Rescue, in barricade situations. Unlike what you might see on TV, one group doesn't trump the other; they work on a continuum. It is termed a "parallel application of force."

In fact, most barricades and hostage situations in the US are resolved through negotiations or a combination of negotiation and tactical force. Less than one in five incidents are resolved strictly through tactical means. The unit's Latin motto is "Pax per Conloquium," which means "resolution through dialogue."

The FBI maintains the only database on barricade situations. The Hostage Barricade Database System contains information on about 5,000 incidents, most from state and local jurisdictions. The database is a service for law enforcement to learn from other incidents — how they were resolved, weapons used, how long they incidents lasted, and how communications were handled.

FBI agents, meanwhile, have to pass a rigorous two-week National Crisis Negotiation Course, held a few times a year at the FBI Academy in Virginia, to become negotiators. The course puts students in real-life scenarios and tests their mettle, because there are no second chances when called to help. Contributing Editor Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner ( and New Media Alliance ( In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB ( Jim Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.