Sebastian Gorka Falsely Claims Obama Administration ‘Invented’ Lone Wolf Attacks
Professional White House procrastinator Sebastian Gorka appeared on MSNBC Tuesday for another contentious cable news spot, and seized at the opportunity to vigorously defend President Donald Trump, bash the media, and ding his boss’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama.
Gorka, who is no stranger to truth bending on behalf of the administration, was asked by Stephanie Ruhle and Ali Velshi how to fight against “lone-wolf lunatics.”
“There’s no such thing as a lone wolf, you know that right?” Gorka declared. “That was a phrase invented by the last administration to make Americans stupid.”
It’s worth pointing out that despite Gorka’s signature self-assuredness, his claims are absolute nonsense.
The concept of the “lone-wolf” terror attack was not invented by the Obama administration. While the phrase “lone wolf” dates back centuries, it has in recent years been used to characterize terrorists that have self-radicalized, and operate without the support of an established terror network.
There’s even a “lone wolf” provision in the Patriot Act — a law signed by from President George W. Bush following the 9/11 terror attacks, and extended by Obama — that allows the surveillance of individuals without ties to terror groups that are nonetheless suspected of terror-related activities.
Though rare, lone-wolf terror attacks pose a particular threat to national security as they are harder for intelligence agencies to detect and deter than those organized by a broader network — and they have indeed been deadly, in such cases as Timothy McVeigh and Omar Mateen.
Nonetheless, Gorka declared on MSNBC that “there has never been a serious attack or a serious plot that was unconnected from ISIS or al Qaeda.”
“At least through the ideology and the TTPs, the tactics, the training, the techniques and the procedures that they supply through the internet,” he continued.
Though Gorka’s apparent ignorance over the varying types of terror attacks is not entirely surprising for a TV talking head with a widely mocked PhD from a Budapest university, it’s important to recognize a distinction here.
While the lines have certainly been blurred given the availability of terrorist propaganda online, Daniel Byman — expert on the Middle East and jihadi movements — argues for the vital importance of understanding “the difference between ‘ISIS inspired’ and ‘ISIS directed'” attacks for Slate.
For intelligence services working to thwart terror attacks, it’s obviously important to not simply focus on attacks being orchestrated from ISIS and Al-Qaeda strongholds in the Middle East, but also individuals self-radicalizing at their homes in the United States who fly under the radar.
Gorka is particularly fond of bashing the Obama administration for its hesitation to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” repeatedly arguing that groups like ISIS can only be defeated if that particular label is used. In his MSNBC spot, Gorka boasted that the Trump administration “calls the enemy for what it is.”
One would expect Gorka’s fixation on accurate labelling to extend to the important distinction between attackers acting alone, inspired by an ideology, and those directed by a terror group.
“You cannot solve a problem unless you are allowed to talk truthfully about it,” Gorka said on MSNBC.
[image via screengrab]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]