Anti-Abortion Escapee Joins bin Laden on FBI List

Clayton Lee Waagner vows to kill as many Americans as possible connected with abortions-doctors, bookkeepers-it makes no difference. The self-described terrorist claims his mission is God's will.

Clayton Lee Waagner


(WOMENSENEWS)-The most recent terrorist addition to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center or the Pentagon. But he has threatened to kill Americans where they live and where they work, and anywhere he can find the targets he has selected.

His name is Clayton Lee Waagner and he has threatened to kill “as many” Americans as he can who happen to work for Planned Parenthood Federation of America-from doctors to janitors.

He is a self-described “terrorist” and he posted a manifesto proclaiming his intentions on the Web site of the anti-abortion Army of God, in whose name numerous bombings, arson and assassinations have been committed against abortion providers over nearly two decades. The FBI considers him to be “armed and extremely dangerous”-not unlike the description of Saudi exile and suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden.

The FBI's addition of Waagner to the Ten Most Wanted List received little attention, however, even during the global hunt for those who committed the terrorism at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Federal law enforcement agencies led by the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service are hot on the trail of this federal fugitive.

Waagner escaped from federal custody in February while he was awaiting sentencing on federal weapons and stolen vehicle charges. He faced a possible sentence of 15 years to life. He had admitted that he was heading out to Seattle to kill a doctor when he was stopped by Illinois State Police who pulled over his stolen Winnebago with weapons stashed under the seat. During his trial last year, he also had said that he had stalked and gathered dossiers on numerous doctors and clinics. His only regret was that he didn't manage to kill a doctor before he was captured.

While on the lam, Waagner has become known in law enforcement circles for repeatedly and narrowly escaping capture while going on a national crime spree. He has been indicted for holding up a bank outside Harrisburg, Pa., and he is suspected in other robberies. He has stolen numerous vehicles and has been indicted for a carjacking in Mississippi. In his flight from justice he has crisscrossed the country and had to abandon a vehicle stuffed with weapons and plans to attack clinics.

Waagner: ‘If You Work for the Murderous Abortionist, I'm Going to Kill You'

In June Waagner posted a manifesto on the Web site of the Army of God that made national news. In it he bragged of his travels, claiming to have stalked clinics, assembled a cache of weapons and compiled dossiers on clinic staff in order “to kill as many of them as I can.” He said he would be “going after ... anyone who works at an abortion location or Planned Parenthood. (I don't care if their location actually performs abortions or not. ALL Planned Parenthood locations are targets.).

“It doesn't matter to me if you're a nurse, receptionist, bookkeeper, or janitor, if you work for the murderous abortionist I'm going to kill you.”

While Waagner has not been charged with any crimes for these threats, the seriousness with which federal law enforcement officers regard them undoubtedly played a role in his addition to the Ten Most Wanted List.

Like other religious zealots whose views have become all too familiar, Waagner envisions himself as God's representative, standing up to “the most powerful country in the world.” He acknowledges and embraces the identify conferred on him by his fellow Americans.

“They're right,” he wrote. “I am a terrorist. And that's the reason I'm posting this letter.” Waagner believes that God rescued him from jail, so that “I might lay down my life for His will. He freed me to make war on His enemy. ... And a war it shall be. ... I do not believe I will live long enough to see this war end,” he declared, “but I do believe I will see it become changed.”

Waagner is known to have corresponded with Army of God members while in prison, notably Rev. Donald Spitz, of Chesapeake, Va., who maintains the Army of God Web site that posted Waagner's communique.

Ten Days After Trade Center Attacks, Waagner Joins bin Laden on List

After Waagner was added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, just 10 days after the World Trade Center attacks, Spitz issued a press release in which he complained that “Clayton Lee Waagner has never hurt anyone.” He called it “ludicrous to list Clayton Waagner in the same company as Osama bin Laden and said the George W. Bush administration “is still in the pocket of the pro-abortionists.”

Spitz recently posted a further note regarding “Brother Clayton Waagner,” stating, “Only God and Clayton know if Clayton will take action against the baby killing abortionists.” Spitz compares preventing the performing of legal abortion to a hypothetical defense of the World Trade Center, writing that “helpless babies deserve to be protected and defended; just like the people in the World Trade Center deserved to be defended.” He further states that those who would prevent legal abortion, apparently by any means, “are heroes; just as if someone had been able to stop the terrorist they would be deemed a hero.”

Indeed, Spitz's Army of God Web site hosts the “authorized home pages” of Army of God “martyrs,” including Paul Hill, who sits on Florida's death row for the double murder of an abortion provider and his escort and the wounding of another escort, as well as Rachelle “Shelly” Shannon, who is serving a long sentence in a federal penitentiary for the attempted murder of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kan., and for the fire bombings of clinics all over the West.

Someday, Spitz may get to host the official Clayton Waagner home page. But for now, the FBI ‘s Web site is featuring Waagner.

Frederick Clarkson has written about the intersection between religion and politics for almost 20 years. He is the author of “Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy,” Common Courage Press, 1997.

For more information:

FBI Most Wanted List:

Feminist Majority Foundation:

National Abortion Federation:

Army of God:

“Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy,” by Frederick Clarkson: