Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Media, conservatives distort terrorism expert’s testimony to bash Obama administration


Expert tells Raw Story, "I ... have long ago given up trying to correct how individuals, whatever their political agenda, use quotes from my remarks to advance a cause"

Recent Congressional testimony describing how pressure from the US has destroyed al Qaeda's ability to engage in large-scale terrorist operations and forced it to fall back on scatter-shot attempts to stir up violence among disaffected young Muslims is being distorted by conservatives — and even some media outlets — to paint the Obama administration as weak on terror.

Brian Michael Jenkins -- a senior advisor to the president of the RAND Corporation who has been called "one of the world's leading authorities on terrorism -- testified (pdf) before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in November that after eight years of constant assault al Qaeda has been reduced to "a strategy of weakness," which "envisions an army of autonomous terrorist operatives, united in a common cause, but not connected organizationally."

Jenkins did acknowledge that al Qaeda's new emphasis on using the Internet to incite disaffected or mentally unbalanced young Muslims in the US to violence means there were more low-level jihadist plots uncovered in 2009 than in prior years and that a future attack "causing scores of casualties ... is not inconceivable." It is that part of his testimony which has been seized upon since the failed Christmas Day bombing by such outlets as Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal and used to charge the current administration with falling down on the job and to argue for harsher measures...............................

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