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Austin plane crash targeted IRS, officials say

The remains of the plane's pilot – believed to be Joseph Andrew Stack – have been recovered. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo calls the attack "a criminal act by a lone individual."

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News vans stop by the side of a highway next to the Echelon office building complex in Austin Tex., on Thursday. Joseph Stack crashed his single engine plane into a building at the site, which houses offices of the IRS.

Newscom

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The pilot who flew his small, single-engine airplane into an Austin, Tex., office building Thursday morning intentionally targeted federal government employees, according to law enforcement officials.

Authorities said Thursday evening that a body believed to be the pilot had been recovered from the charred seven-story building, which contains Internal Revenue Service offices. All indications are that the plane was flown by Joseph Andrew Stack, a 53-year-old software engineer from Austin with an apparent long-standing grudge against the IRS.

Even though Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo called the apparent attack on a federal office building “a criminal act by a lone individual,” the scene of smoldering steel and crumbling concrete in suburban Austin drew immediate comparisons to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and 9/11, and has led many to call Thursday’s crash an act of domestic terrorism.

This was a “deliberate and intentional attack against a federal building,” said US Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.) at a press conference. When asked by a reporter if he consider it terrorism, Representative McCaul said, “it sounds like it to me.”

"The incident has “revealed a weakness we have been aware of since 9/11.... It’s an issue that Congress definitely needs to look at,” he said.

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