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No, Don Lemon, the Facts Show Jihadists Are the Biggest Terror Threat

CNN’s Don Lemon has found himself in the middle of a controversy for claiming, in the wake of a shooting in a Kentucky supermarket, that “the biggest terror threat in this country is white men.” When criticized, Lemon doubled down, claiming that “the evidence is overwhelming.”

It isn’t.

Ironically, Lemon began his venture into counterterror analysis by saying: “I keep trying to point out to people not to demonize any one group or any one ethnicity.” He then did just that. Lemon continued: “[W]e keep thinking that the biggest terror threat is something else -- some people who are marching towards the border like it’s imminent.” The real terror threat, he said, was not those marchers:

[W]e have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them. There is no travel ban on them. There is no ban -- you know, they had the Muslim ban. There is no white-guy ban. So what do we do about that?

Responding to the outcry created by his remarks, Lemon later clarified:

Earlier this week, I made some comments about that in a conversation with Chris [Cuomo]. I said that the biggest terror threat in this country comes from radicals on the far right, primarily white men. That angered some people. But let’s put emotion aside and look at the cold hard facts. The evidence is overwhelming.

According to the Washington Post:

Lemon pointed to a recent Government Accountability Office report that shows that since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, far-right violent extremists have killed 106 people in 62 attacks in the United States, while radical Islamist violent extremists have killed 119 people in 23 attacks.

He also referenced several studies, including a 2017 report from the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund and the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal, which found that from 2008 to 2016, there were almost twice as many terrorist incidents carried out on U.S. soil by right-wing extremists -- many of whom are white -- than by Islamist extremists. It showed there were 115 incidents involving right-wing extremists and that those that ended in death were more deadly than incidents carried out by other groups.

Lemon concluded:

So people who were angered about what I said are missing the entire point. We don’t need to worry about people who are thousands of miles away. The biggest threats are homegrown. The facts prove that.

No, they don’t. It is a false claim that “white men” or “right-wing extremists” are a bigger threat to Americans than Islamic jihad terrorists.

There are many obvious issues with the Government Accountability Office study that counted 106 people killed in 62 attacks by “far-right violent extremists,” as compared to 119 people killed in 23 attacks by “radical Islamist violent extremists.” One major issue: The study doesn’t take failed plots into account.