TERROR ATTACKS: PERFECT RECORD

Zero for 40 at Predicting Attacks: Why Do Media Still Take FBI Terror Warnings Seriously?

By Adam Johnson/ FAIR/ July 1, 2015

On Monday, several mainstream media outlets repeated the latest press releaseby the FBI that country was under a new “heightened terror alert” from “ISIL-inspired attacks” “leading up to the July 4th weekend.” One of the more sensational outlets, CNN, led with the breathless warning on several of its cable programs, complete with a special report by The Lead’s Jim Sciutto in primetime:

CNN: US on Terror Alert

The threat was given extra credence when former CIA director—and consultant at DC PR firm Beacon Global Strategies—Michael Morell went on CBS This Morning (6/29/15) and scared the ever-living bejesus out of everyone by saying he “wouldn’t be surprised if we were sitting [in the studio] next week discussing an attack on the US.” The first piece of evidence Morell used to justify his apocalyptic posture, the “50 ISIS arrests,” was accompanied by a scary map on the CBS jumbotron showing “ISIS arrests” all throughout the US:

 CBS This Morning: Recent ISIS Arrests

But one key detail is missing from this  graphic: None of these “ISIS arrests” involved any actual members of ISIS, only members of the FBI—and their network of informants—posing as such. (The one exception being the man arrested in Arizona, who, while having no contact with ISIS, was also not prompted by the FBI.) So even if one thinks the threat of “lone wolf” attacks is a serious one, it cannot be said these are really “ISIS arrests.”  Perhaps on some meta-level, it shows an increase of “radicalization,” but it’s impossible to distinguish between this and simply more aggressive sting operations by the FBI.

In any event, this nuance gets left out entirely. As I’ve previously shown, in the media’s rush to hype the threat, the fact of FBI-manufactured—or at least “assisted”—terror plots is left out as a complicating factor altogether, and the viewer is left thinking the FBI arrested 50 actual ISIS sleeper cells.

Nevertheless, the ominous FBI (or Department of Homeland Security) “terror warning” has become such a staple of the on-going, seemingly endless “war on terror” (d/b/a war on ISIS), we hardly even notice it anymore. Marked by a feedback loop of extremist propaganda, unverifiable claims about “online chatter” and fuzzy pronouncements issued by a neverending string of faceless Muslim bad guys, and given PR cover by FBI-contrived “terror plots,” the specter of the impending “attack” is part of a broader white noise of fear that never went away after 9/11. Indeed, the verbiage employed by the FBI in this latest warning —“we’re asking people to remain vigilant”—implies no actual change of the status quo, just an hysterical nudge to not let down our collective guard.

There’s only one problem: These warnings never actually come to fruition. Not rarely, or almost never, but—by all accounts—never. No attacks, no arrests, no suspects at large.

Here’s a selection of previous FBI and DHS “terror warnings” over the past 14 years, not a single one of which actually predicted or foiled a terror attack:

October 2001: “Potential use of chemical/biological and/or radiological/nuclear weapons

November 2001: California bridges

February 2002: “Hollywood studios”

May 2002: Statue of Liberty

June 2002: “Around the Fourth of July holiday”

July 2002: Stadiums

August 2002: “Landmarks”

October 2002: “AQ to attack Amtrak

November 2002: “Spectacular Al Qaeda attacks

February 2003: “Apartments, hotels, sports arenas and amusement parks

May 2003: “Possibility of multiple attacks”

May 2004: “Attempt to affect the outcome” of presidential election

July 2004: “Military facilities and large gatherings” on July 4th

August 2004: VA hospitals

January 2005: Dirty bomb

March 2005: US/Mexican border

October 2005: NYC & Baltimore subways

March 2006: “Sporting events”

June 2007: Colleges

December 2007: “Shopping malls in Chicago and LA”

November 2008: “Al Qaeda to attack transit during Thanksgiving

November 2010: Mass transit in New York City

October 2011: “Americans in Europe” facing “commando-style AQ attack”

February 2011: “Financial institutions”

May 2011: “Threats of retaliation”

June 2011: Al Qaeda “hit list”

July 2011: “Private jets of executives” involved in drone manufacturing

September 2011: “Small planes”

September 2011: “New York City or Washington around…10th anniversary of 9/11

September 2011: Airports

March 2012: “Terrorist hacking”

August 2012: Anarchists blowing up bridge during Tampa RNC

September 2012: “Islamic violence over movie

August 2013: “San Fransisco on high alert

November 2013: “cyber attacks”

April 2014: “College students abroad”

December 2014: ISIS targeting Mississippi River bridge

December 2014: ISIS “sabotaging US military personnel” over social media

April 2015: ISIS targeting “parts of California

May 2015: ISIS targeting “military bases

A casual search reveals the FBI and DHS are a pitiful 0 for 40 warning of terror attacks—some of which were specifically about 4th of July threats, none of which materialized in any way. This should not be considered a comprehensive list of all threat warnings transmitted by media; I tried to narrow the scope to warnings that were at least in some way specific.

The actual terror attacks carried out on US soil—the Times Square bomber, “Underwear bomber,” Boston bombing and Garland attacks—were accompanied by no such warnings. (Nor were the often deadlier terrorist attacks by right-wing white terrorists–but terrorism in this category is rarely if ever the subject of FBI warnings.)

(CONTINUED–Read Entire Article Here)

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