Appearing as a guest on Sunday's CNN Newsroom to preview preview their episode of The Nineties about terrorism, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem was twisting herself into knots to downplay the threat of terrorism from radical Muslims by claiming that the "biggest threat" is from "white supremacists or sort of anti-government terrorism."
Kayyem incoherently conflated the standoffs at Waco and Ruby Ridge with terrorism as if the two events were terrorist attacks, even though those were botched attempts by federal agents at making arrests in which it is far from clear that any terrorist attacks were being planned.
She also included the Columbine school shootings, even though no anti-government or white supremacist motives were attached to their plans for mass murder.
Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph and Oklahoma City bombing culprits Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols would seem to be the only examples of anti-government domestic terrorists covered on the special who have actually succeeded in creating a large number of casualties in the past 30 years, in contrast with the thousands killed in attacks by Muslim radicals.
The special also included the left-wing Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, and the 1999 attempt to target America's Millennium celebrations.
At 7:52 p.m. ET, on the August 6, CNN Newsroom, after recalling that, in the aftermath of the Cold War era, there was optimism for a more peaceful 1990s decade, the CNN analyst recounted:
And on the domestic terrorism side, of course what's animating all of them is anti-federal government animus -- Oklahoma City being the most significant and Timothy McVeigh -- access to weapons, and also wanting to play to the media. I think that's a lesson of Columbine, the, you know, the school shooting that shocked the world, but also this sense that they, there was this sort of hero aspect to what they thought they were doing.
After host Ana Cabrera asked if there had been a change in "how America approaches domestic terrorism" since the 1990s, Kayyem made her argument that domestic terrorism is the "biggest threat" as she responded:
So, because I think 9/11 made us think terrorism was only Islamic terrorism, and I think, you know, all of us are guilty of that, you know, that, and what we saw in the '90s was the biggest threat in the United States then and now -- it's hard for us to fathom -- and now is white supremacists or sort of anti-government terrorism targeting individuals and, or, institutions or government buildings. And we tend to think of terrorism only as relates to al-Qaeda or ISIS, and it's just not true.
Kayyem then mentioned Waco and Ruby Ridge as if they were examples of terrorist attacks as she tried to bolster her argument:
The United States has been -- has suffered from domestic terrorism, and the number of cases that we go through in the documentary that's airing at 9 very soon. You're sort of overwhelmed at how many there were, right? You have Waco and Oklahoma City and Ruby Ridge.