LA Deputy Chief to CNN: Terror Threat Hasn’t ‘Been This High Since 9/11’


On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Police Department announced it would be on high alert for the July 4th weekend. As local ABC 7 reporter Leanne Suter notes, “There are no credible or specific threats, but there is serious concern of a potential homegrown attack.”

So nothing “credible” or “specific” — just “serious concern” about “potential” attacks. Sure, maintaining alertness during periods of vulnerability can be a good thing, but the nonexistence of evidence is concerning, especially when you consider what Deputy Chief Michael Downing said: “The threat stream is very high. In fact, we don’t think it’s been this high since 9/11.”

I’m sorry, what? First of all, what’s the “threat stream”? I assume it’s a specific thing since, according to your use of the definite article, there’s either (a) only the one, or (b) the one you’re alluding to is the most important. However, and more importantly, “since 9/11”? Were we even talking about terrorist threats just before the first plane struck the World Trade Center in New York City? Sorry, I have to check with my records, and… No, we weren’t.

Yet Downing’s words were immediately caught in the 24-hour news cycle’s nets, and he was invited on to CNN on Friday to discuss his comments and what they indicated (if anything) about the Independence Day weekend. The segment began promisingly, as This Hour co-anchors John Berman and Kate Bolduan asked Downing point blank about his “not since 9/11” comment and what information convinced him to say it.

Did Downing reveal any new information? Or did he opine that it was a strong, or at least poorly phrased statement, and recant it?

Nope, he merely repeated his prior talking points. And to make matters worse, Berman and Bolduan went along with it and never questioned what Downing had to say (or didn’t say at all). The Deputy Chief argues, “It just makes sense that we’re on a higher level of alert” after listing off various terrorism-linked events around the world, and that’s that.

To counter, I could probably quote Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s 1933 inaugural address — you know, the one with the “fear itself” line that everybody likes to end their emails with — but I won’t. Instead, I’ll try and enjoy my Independence Day weekend festivities, even with the knowledge that a few dozen militarized police or so will be eyeing me and everyone else with twitchy-trigger-finger suspicion. God bless America, y’all.

Check out the clip below, courtesy of CNN:

[Image via screengrab]

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