CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: Barcelona Terrorism Could Be ‘A Copycat’ of Charlottesville Attack

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was anchoring the network’s breaking news coverage Thursday afternoon on the possible radical Islamic terror attack in Barcelona, Spain when he made the inartful and arguably pathetic assertion that the truck attack could be “a copycat” of the neo-Nazi car attack on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia. 

Former Obama administration official and CNN correspondent Jim Sciutto actually laid out the recent rap sheet of ISIS and Islamic terror attacks across Europe (including Nice and Belgium) with Spain being a country featuring a less-known track record of problems that France and Belgium have had. 

Sciutto brought the matter back to Charlottesville, but only from the standpoint of how that also involved a vehicle:

And the final point I would make, Wolf, is just know that, in light of the uproar over the last several days, five days apart you have whites supremacists in Charlottesville use a vehicle to kill and here you have — attackers at least following the modus operandi of terrorists using vehicles apparently to kill as well and that — those shared tactics that should be alarming. 

Blitzer’s word choice could obviously have been better, but it was nonetheless a head-scratching statement when he responded that “there will be questions about copycats” of Charlottesville.

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What made his rhetoric even more absurd was that he immediately doubled down [emphasis mine]:

There will be questions, if not what happened in Barcelona, was at all, at all, a copycat version of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. Even though they may be different characters and different political ambitions, they use the same killing device. A vehicle going at high speed into a group, a large group, of pedestrians and as local police are saying, at least one person is now dead. 32 injured. Many of them in critical condition right now.

It’s clear that the news media want to capitalize on Charlottesville, but perhaps they should leave this horrifying event aside for the moment. Connecting something on the other side of the world likely done by Islamists who are far different than neo-Nazis other than the key point that they’re anti-Semitic is a stretch.

Here’s the relevant transcript from CNN’s Wolf on August 17:

CNN’s Wolf
August 17, 2017
1:18 p.m. Eastern

JIM SCIUTTO:  Well, Wolf, an eyewitness shared a video in the immediate minutes after the attack walking down the stretch of Las Ramblas, this tourist attraction in the middle of Barcelona, and just a tangle of bodies, Wolf. It was horrific to see, and the nature of the injuries so severe that it wouldn't be surprising to see the human toll of this rise and it’s evocative of those pictures, you and I remember, our viewers as well, of the attack in Nice. A long stretch of street with a lot of bodies left in the trail of the vehicle and — it's — this is, the scale looks particularly alarming. That's one thing. Two, Spain has not had the numbers that, say, France had, for instance, in terms of jihadi suspects et cetera or volunteers for ISIS in Syria and Iraq. That said, I was speaking to a security source in Europe a short time ago who was just in Barcelona in March, profiling what is still a large and insulated, isolated Muslim community there. Within it a militant presence authorities have been aware of. Typical for them to penetrate because of the insularity of that group. A number of Pakistani nationals, Moroccan nationals, ties to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a powerful Pakistani terrorist group. So, at the top of the list, like Belgium, for instance, or France, it has had a presence and it's something that not just Spanish authorities but U.S. authorities have been aware of. And the final point I would make, Wolf, is just know that, in light of the uproar over the last several days, five days apart you have whites supremacists in Charlottesville use a vehicle to kill and here you have — attackers at least following the modus operandi of terrorists using vehicles apparently to kill as well and that — those shared tactics that should be alarming. 

WOLF BLITZER: Yeah and there will be questions about copycats. There will be questions, if not what happened in Barcelona, was at all, at all, a copycat version of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia. Even though they may be different characters and different political ambitions, they use the same killing device. A vehicle going at high speed into a group, a large group, of pedestrians and as local police are saying, at least one person is now dead. 32 injured. Many of them in critical condition right now. They fully expect the death toll to go up. No official statement yet from U.S. officials, although the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of Defense James Mattis, they have been meeting at the State Department with Japanese counterparts. They’re going to be speaking shortly. We'll see if they do make a statement. Let’s take a quick break. We’ll have special breaking news coverage right after this.


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