FBI agents in Washington reportedly have concluded that anti-abortion activist James C. Kopp considers himself to be on a "covert military mission" that included the sniper slaying of an Amherst doctor last October.
According to CBS television, agents have found a Kopp diary that contains "critical insight" into his thought processes prior to the slaying of Dr. Barnett A. Slepian.
CBS issued a news release late Monday promoting an appearance tonight by James Fitzgerald, an agent from the FBI's Profile Unit in Washington, who has been working on the Kopp case.
The CBS report also states that investigators believe Kopp is "unequivocally responsible" for the attempted slayings of several abortion doctors in Canada.
Fitzgerald will be talking about the Oct. 23 slaying of Slepian and the Kopp diary during tonight's "60 Minutes II" television show on WIVB-TV, Channel 4, the network said.
"(Kopp is) a conflicted individual in many ways," Fitzgerald said in a statement attributed to him by CBS. "Here we have a highly educated individual, with a master's degree, yet he's only had menial jobs his entire life. Here's a man who espouses a strong religious belief, yet he's (allegedly) on a violent campaign to kill people.
"(Kopp) is fully focused on his mission. His covert military mission, as I'm sure he describes it to himself . . ., is to acquire target and kill."
According to CBS, Kopp kept a diary that provides critical insight into his thought processes leading up to the shooting death of Slepian. The FBI's search for Kopp relies primarily on extensive analysis done by Fitzgerald, whose work paints a portrait of a man who's more a guerrilla soldier than a moral crusader.
"Fitzgerald, who also has examined the psyche of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, is a behavioral scientist who believes that when Kopp has zeroed in on a target, his only thought is, 'Target, pull trigger, take in breath, pull trigger, kill."
Kopp, 44, who used various identities and addresses all over the United States, was indicted in June on charges of murder and reckless endangerment in the sniper killing of Slepian.
Fitzgerald told CBS the FBI has the diary, saying it has "pages and pages of clues" in it about Kopp's state of mind. He said the diary has no specific information about the shooting itself.
"It's more useful to us in a behavioral sense, rather than an evidentiary sense. It clearly states there was an escalation in his thought process toward violence," Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald added that, in his opinion, Kopp would have greatly enjoyed being called "Atomic Dog," the nickname given to him by people who advocate violence against abortion clinics.
"In terms of all the locations we've searched looking for Mr. Kopp, we've gathered hundreds of documents, including books with thoughts scribbled in them," said Michael Mason, assistant special agent in charge of the Buffalo FBI office.
"I don't know if I would refer to any of those documents specifically as a diary."
Mason confirmed that the FBI's Profile Unit, which often investigates serial killers and criminals, has been working on the case.
Although the massive investigation has not yielded an arrest of Kopp, Mason said police are "working as hard as ever" on the case. "I'm confident that, eventually, we're going to catch him."