Saturday, February 20, 2010
Right wing runs wild with Fox News and CBN reports on dubious Fort Jackson "terror" plot...February 19, 2010 2:15 pm ET
Right-wing media seized on Fox News and Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) reports and claimed that in December "five Muslim soldiers" were "arrested for trying to poison the food supply at Fort Jackson," often while fearmongering about a "jihadist" plot against the base or speculating that the delay in reporting on the allegations was due to a "Fort Jackson cover-up." The right wing has made these claims despite the fact that military officials have said "there is currently no credible evidence to substantiate the allegations." Fort Jackson officials said, "[T]here is currently no credible evidence to substantiate the allegations"
Fort Jackson spokesman: "Two months of investigation, there has been no credible evidence to support the allegations." A February 18 press release from the Fort Jackson Public Affairs Office states: In December 2009, five Soldiers were investigated for potential verbal threats against fellow Soldiers. While the investigation continues there is currently no credible evidence to substantiate the allegations. At no time was there any danger to the Fort Jackson community.
ArmyTimes reported on February 19 that Fort Jackson spokesman Patrick Jones said, "Two months of investigation, there has been no credible evidence to support the allegations."
Army spokesman Garver: "[T]hey have not found any credible information to substantiate the allegations." The Associated Press reported on February 18 that "[t]he Army has been investigating allegations that soldiers' food at its largest basic training base in South Carolina was being poisoned, but no credible information to support the allegations has been found." The article noted that Army spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said, "I can say that, according to Criminal Investigation Division spokespersons, they have not found any credible information to substantiate the allegations."
Fox News: CID spokesman said "there is no credible evidence to support the allegations." Fox News' Catherine Herridge stated on the February 18 edition of Fox News' Special Report that Criminal Investigation Division spokesman Chris Grey "says there is no credible information to support the allegations, but their work continues." FoxNews.com also reported Grey's statement.
Pentagon spokesman "said he is unaware of any arrests made." The Christian Broadcasting Network reported that five Muslim suspects were "arrested," a claim repeated by Michelle Malkin, Jim Hoft, the New York Post, Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch, Fox Nation, and the Drudge Report. However, AP reported that Garver "said he is unaware of any arrests made in the investigation." The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder reported that "the Army says it's not true. No one has been arrested. The National Security Council was not aware of any arrests, a spokesperson said." The ArmyTimes article noted that "[t]he soldiers being investigated are not being detained, Jones said."
Fort Jackson said the investigation was into "potential verbal threats." In its February 18 press release, the Fort Jackson Public Affairs Office stated that the investigation was focused on "potential verbal threats against fellow Soldiers" and that "[a]t no time was there any danger to the Fort Jackson community." A February 19 AP report further noted that "Army spokeswoman Julia Simpkins said Friday no soldiers were ever in danger at the South Carolina base" and "[s]he said the investigation involved potentially threatening comments toward fellow soldiers."
Fox News' subsequent report notes "it doesn't appear there was ever any actual danger to the food supply." In a February 19 report on Fox News' America's Newsroom, correspondent Steve Centanni stated that "it doesn't appear there was ever any actual danger to the food supply at Fort Jackson, but there was talk about such a threat, and that's what the Criminal Investigation Division in the Army is looking into." Centanni further stated, "The fact that the FBI is not actively investigating is a fair indication it's not any kind of extremist plot." However, co-host Martha MacCallum and Centanni did not note that officials have found "no credible evidence to substantiate the allegations."
Stay tuned to this blog for more details.
Bill Warner Director of CSPI..Covert Surveillance by Private Investigators at WBI Inc.