Playing Politics with Terror

1 August 2004, David Neiwert, Orcinus


It's bad enough that John Ashcroft's Justice Department treats domestic terrorism like an afterthought. What's outrageous is that it now appears to have raised the threat of such terrorism-- groundlessly-- to put a cloud over the Democratic National Convention.

And in the meantime, evidence continues to mount that the FBI's actual handling of domestic terrorism is dangerously inadequate.

I previously mentioned that the press reaction to the FBI's warnings that right-wing extremists might target media vehicles in Boston last week was strangely muted. But what wasn't immediately apparent was the likelihood that the reports themselves actually constituted a kind of disinformation.

Now questions are being raised about the warnings, and the reasons for the FBI circulating them in the first place. The most significant of these is from the Southern Poverty Law Center's Mark Potok, who was interviewed at length by Glynn Wilson about these warnings:

"We have had no indication whatsoever, not an inkling, that there is any kind of violent action planned by the radical right in Boston," Potok said. "We follow these groups quite closely."

How did the story-- that right-wing extremists planned to attack media vehicles-- get circulated in the first place?

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