The Trump Administration’s Recent Terrorism Report Is Simply ‘Fake News’

The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security have just released a public report allegedly exposing the involvement of  foreign immigrants and refugees in domestic terrorism.

The report declares that between September 11, 2001 and the end of 2016, 549 people were “convicted of international terrorism-related charges” — 73 percent of whom were foreign-born.

And that’s a pretty astounding revelation, isn’t it? For Trump and his supporters, this analysis surely proves the national security threats posed by foreigners. Well, not quite.

While these figures make a tidy headline for ultra-conservative echo chambers like Breitbart and Townhall — the latter of which asserted that it was a “blockbuster” report – the findings are, at best, disingenuous. To be more accurate, however, this report is little more than data manipulated in order to produce propaganda, or, to quote President Trump, “fake news.”

First of all, the methodology used to generate this report is deliberately unclear. For instance, the report states that “at least 549 individuals” have been tallied for these figures, implying two possibilities: that this number could be larger – or, more likely, that perhaps the data is incomplete and therefore cherry-picked. After all, how could the DOJ and DHS not have complete data on such events?

Another even more crucial choice of words in the report reinforces that second possibility. The individuals reported here were “convicted of international terrorism-related charges.” Legally speaking, this language is quite ambiguous.

An independent analysis of the report explains that “terrorism-related” is not a legal term. It also explains that, because of the vagueness of this phrasing, individuals who have been arrested during the course of a terrorism investigation and convicted on other charges can and are included in these figures. In other words, not all of these people are actually terrorists or would-be terrorists.

It is not particularly confidence-inspiring that the DOJ/DHS report only includes details relating to a mere eight convictions — an incredibly small sample size that does not represent the spectrum of individuals included in the report’s figures. This is yet another example of this overly simplistic report’s convenient selectiveness.

This analysis — infinitely more exhaustive and transparent than the initial report — finds that from 1975 to 2016, 154 foreign-born people committed acts of terrorism on U.S. soil.

All of this aside, what might be most telling about the report is its most glaring omission: figures related to acts of terrorism committed by citizens born in the country. If the purpose of this publication is to illustrate terrorism risks and inform policy, then surely all acts of terrorism and the individuals behind them should be included, right?

But the reason is not difficult to decipher. President Trump, long before entering the White House, has stated that he aims to restrict the flow of immigrants and refugees into the U.S.. And he’s tried to keep this promise by attempting — and failing — to implement moratoriums on people traveling to the U.S. from Muslim-majority nations.

This report is little more than a shameless grasping for straws aimed at aiding Trump’s vulgar goal of pandering to a xenophobic and hateful support base.

Photo Credit: Masha George/Flickr

66 comments

John B
John B5 months ago

Thanks Llowell for sharing the info.

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Jen S
Jen S6 months ago

I have said this before but the only fake news I have heard has been from Trump's mouth and Fox. What we have is a fake President, marginally literate, willing to take pages from the National Socialists playbook from the 1930s, clearly lacking in reason and judgment, of mediocre intellect at best, and unstable.

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Stephanie s
Stephanie Y6 months ago

Trump is a FAKE.

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Mia G
Past Member 6 months ago

Thank you

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Tanya W
Tanya W6 months ago

I wish"Where's Wally" would join the human race...

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Tanya W
Tanya W6 months ago

I spy a fake president..🇺🇸

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KimJ M
KimJ M6 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ M6 months ago

Tfs

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heather g
heather g6 months ago

Everything about the Orange Peril is fake.

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Winn A
Winn A6 months ago

RESIST!!!!!

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