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Roger L. Simon

Peter Bergen: Who’s a ‘Terrorism Expert’?

April 16th, 2013 - 12:13 am

In the aftermath of Monday’s horrific events at the Boston Marathon, only one thing is certain — for the next week or so, our television screens will be filled with a creature known as the “terrorism expert.”

But what exactly is a “terrorism expert” and what qualifies one to be one? Operational knowledge of an AK-47? Intimate familiarity with the Damascus bazaar? Fluency in Arabic? (But that would be profiling, wouldn’t it?)

CNN has its own in-house terrorism expert in Peter Bergen, aka their “national security analyst.” Mr. Bergen popped up on Jake Tapper’s The Lead only a couple of hours after the Boston events with the following exchange (bolds from Newsbusters):

[4:19 p.m. EDT]

 JAKE TAPPER: Peter, does this — obviously we don’t want to speculate. We don’t know what this was. But is there reason for people who deal in counter-terrorism to think that this is an act of terrorism? Or suspect it strongly, at least?

PETER BERGEN: Sure. Although I’m reminded of Oklahoma City which was a bombing, which was initially treated as a gas explosion. So first reports are often erroneous. But the fact that there were two explosions — two bombings — one of the things I’d be looking at is once the device, if it is a device, is found, what kind of explosives were used? For instance, if it was hydrogen peroxide, this is a signature of al-Qaeda. If it was more conventional explosives, which are much harder to get a hold of now, that might be some other kind of right-wing extremists. We’ve seen a number of failed bombing attempts by al-Qaeda using bombs, (Unintelligible) and for instance, the Manhattan subway in 2009, Faisal Shahzad in 2010, the attempt to bring down Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit in 2009. But we’ve also seen other extremist groups, right-wing groups, for instance, trying to attack the Martin Luther King parade in Oregon in 2010.

(…)

[4:59] TAPPER: And Peter, what are you waiting to hear for — hear about in these coming hours?

BERGEN: I think the actual — the constituency inside the bomb will make a big difference about how we identify the person who did this. Or the persons who did this. Because if it’s hydrogen peroxide, that puts (Unintelligible). If it’s something else –

TAPPER: Could be a different –

BERGEN: — could be a right-wing extremist group. Or some other group.

Excuse me for playing my screenwriter card, but it seems to me the subtext here is that Bergen wants the perpetrators to be “right-wing extremists.”

Nothing amazing there. In all honesty, when I hear of events like this I hope it is the work of Islamic terrorists, not some whacked-out character like Timothy McVeigh. That’s because in the end I suspect there are far more Ramzi Yousefs in the world than there are Tim McVeighs, and that the Ramzis are ultimately a far bigger threat. (The statistics bear me out.) But that’s my bias. Sadly, we all play sides in these things, even when we’re pretending we’re not, but most of us have the good sense (and good manners) not to be so obvious about it as Bergren. After all, at this point we don’t know what happened. And people have died while others have been maimed for life. That’s where our concentration should be.

Why then did Bergen have so little impulse control? Well, he was on CNN, but I think it’s more than that. Bergen is the man who — shortly after the death of Osama bin Laden — stated that “Killing bin Laden is end of the War on Terror. We can just sort of announce that right now.”

Whoa. No wonder he favors domestic terrorism. How inconvenient it would be for him if it turned out some Wahhabis were still running around Boston blowing people up.

That might even hurt his career as a “terrorism expert.”

But his bin Laden statement is, of course, far worse than that. It’s absurd on the face of it.

First of all, what in the Sam Hill is a “War on Terror”? As many have said before me, terror is a strategy, not a person, place, creed, country, or any other thing you could conceivably have a war on. The War on Terror is one of the more transparent euphemisms of our time.

But even if there were a War on Terror (or more properly a War on Jihadism or something like that … I’m not about to get into the weeds on this one), Bergen’s assertion that it was over with the killing of bin Laden is nothing short of imbecilic. What did he think those demonstrators meant when they chanted, “Obama, Obama, we are all Osama!”? What exactly did he think happened in Benghazi? (Speaking of which, isn’t it interesting that Obama promised the exact same thing after Boston that he did after Benghazi — to bring the perpetrators to justice. How’s that working out?)

Now I know you think my conclusion is to say that Bergen is NOT a “terrorism expert.” It’s not. He IS a “terrorism expert.”  But the point, these days, is that we ALL are. We have been forced to become one.

But the wise ones know this: Being an expert is foolish. No one knows anything. Wait for the facts.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
What color is the sky in your world?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I know of two bona fied experts in terror: Bill Ayers and Kathy Boudin. Some enterprising reporter should query them on their opinions concerning the effectiveness of yesterday's blast, both from a carnage and political perspective. I would also ask them if they think yesterday's killers should merit positions at elite universities in a few years. Perhaps Ayers, who is undeniably a great writer, can mentor yesterday's terrorist so that he can write his own book, and maybe even become a confidant of a future president, along with ghostwriting his own version of "Dreams".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yea,well it's always "right wing extremists" with this bunch....until it isn't....which is every time
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (85)
All Comments   (85)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
If CNN had "real experts" on anything, I'd be watching that rather than reading anything in PJ Media.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
When the wolf shouts "DOG" who do we suspect are killing the sheep?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I hope no American is involved in these attacks.
Whether they are on the right or left they haven't proven anything and deserve what they get.

But wouldn't it be ironic if it was someone protesting gun violence...?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Expert":

An "ex" is a has-been. A "spurt" is a drip under pressure.

'Nuff said.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Robert,
You are quite correct!
Obama says he will look into these terrorists attacks,but after more than nearly 7 months&we still don't know every fact into Benghazi.
I'm doubting Bosten will get solved.LIz Anyone else see it as I am?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Boston will get "solved" by blaming it on "right wing extremist elements", hinting at the GOP, NRA, and Tea Party activists.
A few token people get arrested, charged with "terrorism related activities", and shipped off to Gitmo (which Obama vowed to close in 2008) where they're put before the military tribunals Obama vowed to stop and quickly sentenced to death (which no actual terrorist has ever been that they were designed for) after making statements that they "did it" to "protest new gun control legislation" or some such.

Oh wait, we're not living in the USSR, are we?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama and Axelrod both said early in the morning that the bombings may be "Tax Day Related" and of course the MSM Hyenas knowing the Liberal Democrat "Code Words" jumped on the band wagon immediately and started yelling "RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS" and we all know who they are right? The Great Teflon President (Clinton) must really be jealous of this POSPOTUS because not only does nothing STICK to him but, he is never even mentioned during disasters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just find out who did it!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Can we please just fire Incompitano and hire somebody who can find their own a$$ with two hands and a strobe light?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Later tonight I expect anchors and commentators claim it was an executive of NRA or GOA committing this horrible deed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Any terrorism ‘expert,’ even an amateur one, would have picked up on the Saudi-national-here-on-a-student-visa news item hours after the attack. But, no, it’s CNN. Never mind.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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