Remember how the aluminum tubes and Nigerian yellowcake and Colin Powell’s vial of imitation anthrax got us into Iraq? Remember Karl Rove explaining that the American empire could create its own realities? Well, folks, the good times are back!
Before they can defend a rebooted ‘Muslim ban’ in federal court, the Trump administration needs to cook up a case for banning the same seven nationalities from the United States a second time. The 9th Circuit court’s opinion striking down his first executive order noted that the government “has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.”
So the Trump administration asked the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis for a report on the data concerning terrorism and nationality. But the results — “country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity” — were not what they wanted.
Of course, that’s the position held by most professional terrorism analysts — and the conclusion backed by publicly-available data. Yet the OIA analysis is not helpful to the white nationalist and Christian chauvinist agenda that Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller are pursuing.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the White House is now demanding a whole new report that reaches their preferred conclusions.
“Trump administration officials said the assessment ignored available information that supports the immigration ban and the report they requested has yet to be presented,” the WSJ reports.
“The president asked for an intelligence assessment. This is not the intelligence assessment the president asked for,” a senior administration official said. The official said intelligence is already available on the countries included in Mr. Trump’s ban and just needs to be compiled.
“The intelligence community is combining resources to put together a comprehensive report using all available sources which is driven by data and intelligence and not politics,” said White House spokesman Michael Short.
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security also took issue with the quality of the report, describing it as “commentary” based on public sources rather than “an official, robust document with thorough interagency sourcing.”
“It is clear on its face that it is an incomplete product that fails to find evidence of terrorism by simply refusing to look at all the available evidence,” said Gillian M. Christensen, the department’s acting press secretary.
The report was compiled from “public statistics and reports from the Department of Justice and the State Department as well as an annual report on global threats produced by U.S. intelligence agencies.”
But according to Short and Christensen, OIA has not told the whole story because federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies (presumably including DHS) are sitting on a secret trove of non-public information about terrorist incidents.
Of course, this is nonsense. The Trump team is solely responsible for injecting politics into this matter of simple data analysis.
As an anonymous White House source told CNN on Thursday, the White House expected the DHS report would show a “substantial” threat emanating from the seven countries in question — and that refugee programs are “a major incubator” for terrorism.
But this conclusion is impossible to prove with actual, real, not-imaginary data. In the world of non-alternative facts, no refugee has ever committed a fatal act of terrorism in the United States.
“Only two of the seven countries targeted by Mr. Trump—Iraq and Somalia—are among the top origins countries for foreign-born individuals who engaged in terrorism in the United States,” WSJ says of the DHS report. “Those countries, in order, are Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iraq and Uzbekistan.”
Previously, the Journal found that of 180 people charged with acts of terrorism in the United States since 2001, only eleven were from the countries subject to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. Slightly more than half were US citizens.
Since the real numbers just don’t support the Trump agenda, expect fabrication. We’ve been through this sort of disinformation campaign before, and not that long ago.
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