Government Terrorism Fearmongering Just as PATRIOT Act Comes Up for Reauthorization: Coincidence?

I don't think so.


Daily News

Over the weekend, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned on ABC's Sunday television talk show that lone wolf terrorists inspired by the ISIS terrorist group could "strike at any moment." Similarly, U.S. military bases boosted their security level to "Force Protection Bravo." That level of seurity is defined as an "increased and predictable threat of terrorism." Johnson and the Pentagon pointed to the attack last week on a Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas by two homegrown terrorists as a justification for the increased warnings.

As it happens Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act which has been unconstitutionally interpreted as permitting the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect the metadata on essentially all of the telephone calls made by Americans expires on June 1. Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that that interpretation went way too far and that Congress did not intend for the NSA to have such sweeping surveillance powers. It is notable that pervasive surveillance apparently failed to detect the plans of the two Texas attackers.

Finally, the threat of terrorism by homegrown jihadis is minimal. As Mother Jones pointed out in 2013, there have been only 17 people killed by Islamic terrorists in the U.S. since the September 11, 2001 atrocities. The number of gun homicides in the U.S. averages over 200 per week. Terrorism, even on the scale of 9/11, does not pose an existential threat to our country. However, the growth of turnkey totalitarianism does.

Given the impending Section 215 expiration date, is it just a coincidence that national security state functionaries are ramping up terrorism warnings? I don't think so.

For more background, see my article, "The Internet Does Not Increase Terrorism."