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Tilting at Windmills

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August 12, 2010

DEBUNKING THE DREADED 'TERRORIST BABY' THREAT.... In recent months, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) has been making his case against the 14th Amendment with an argument even most conservatives avoid: the dreaded "terrorist baby" threat.

Gohmert got the ball rolling in June, arguing that pregnant terrorists plan to come to American soil, have babies, and "20, 30 years down the road," these home-grown terrorists will "help destroy our way of life." This wasn't just some fantasy he cooked up, Gohmert argued. He claimed to have received important information from "a retired FBI agent" who told him national security officials believe "terrorist cells overseas" have "figured out how to game our system" when it comes to birthright citizenship.

This week on CNN, Texas state Rep. Debbie Riddle (R) also claims to have received information from "former FBI officials," warning of terrorist babies.

Last night, CNN's Anderson Cooper talked on the air to Tom Fuentes, who served as the FBI's assistant director in the office of international operations from 2004 to 2008. Fuentes didn't seem especially impressed with the right-wing lawmakers at their crazy theory.

"The FBI has 75 offices overseas, including offices in Jordan, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan," explained Fuentes. "There was never a credible report -- or any report, for that matter -- coming across through all the various mechanisms of communication to indicate that there was such a plan for these terror babies to be born.

"Also, I'd like to add, there seems to be a lot of former FBI agents lurking in the halls of Congress and in the legislature in the state of Texas, so I'm kind of curious about that issue as well."

"I think -- in this case, I think the FBI has knocked this story down completely, officially or unofficially," Fuentes also added. "I think at first they didn't want to comment on it just because they didn't want to lend any credence to the people spreading it, but realized that there has to be some comment or else the no comment, you know, means there might be some secret classified information out there, but -- but there is no credible information about this particular aspect."

Fuentes didn't come right out and say, "These Republicans are lying to the public," but he came awfully close.

If recent history is any guide, this won't affect the debate at all, and hacks like Gohmert will continue to repeat this nonsense anyway. But for those who care about evidence and reason, it's nice to have such a thorough debunking to refer to.

Steve Benen 3:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Comments

It's so ridiculous to even consider the credibility of this nonsense. My God, how many babies would have to be born here to make a difference and then how many years would it take for them to get old enough to attack. The stupidity of such comments is self evident and the shameful pettiness of candidates using such hypothetical fear mongering is just pathetic.

I don't buy the information comes from former FBI agents for a second. Voters should look at these candidates knowing their lying and just say "oh, please..."

Posted by: bjobotts on August 12, 2010 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Of course thay are lying and it is only to scare the whites into believing those hispanics are out to get their stuff. This I learned from listening to Rachel Maddow.

Posted by: mishanti on August 12, 2010 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who saw Anderson Cooper asking Debbie Riddle for any kind of proof to back up this story was as probably as shocked as both she and I at seeing the lost art of journalism being employed on American television.

Riddle was absolutely stunned that Cooper didn't just act as a faithful stenographer and let her use this ridiculous allegation to further the prospects of her party with nativist agenda. She was caught lying and all she could do was feign outrage at being "grilled" by him and complain that "no one told her in advance" she would be asked for even the tiniest shred of support for making [what are astoundingly outrageous] claims.

Now if only this journalism thing would catch on....

Posted by: trex on August 12, 2010 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who saw Anderson Cooper asking Debbie Riddle for any kind of proof to back up this story was as probably as shocked as both she and I at seeing the lost art of journalism being employed on American television.

Not as shocked as at Riddle's -- that's Texas state representative Riddle, mind, not random streetcorner ranter Riddle -- complete, unhinged, eye-popping derangement.

Posted by: Gregory on August 12, 2010 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

My fav from that interview was Fuentes saying:

"And something else I caught in your interview of Debbie Riddle where she says a former FBI agent informed her office. What does that mean? They talked to a receptionist? They talked to the janitor? You don't talk to an office.

Posted by: exlibra on August 12, 2010 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter transcript:

AC-What evidence do you have for your claim?
Wingnut Rep- I wasn't told that I would be grilled like this!

OMG! AC is playing gotcha. What next? Asking what newspapers the wingnut rep reads?

Posted by: RP on August 12, 2010 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Now, I'm amazed that you think that simply saying there is not FBI evidence of this 'plot' will shut wingnuts up about it, or stop the 'lamestream media' (to borrow a phrase) from reporting on it.

I would suggest as a rather more cogent argument that you simply point out that the 9/11 terrorists entered this country WITH VISAS stamped in their passports by the Government of the United States.

It didn't take a citizen to kill 3000 Americans.

Posted by: Lance on August 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

It is looking like Arizona Gov Jan Brewer has been putting private medium security (civilian) prisons
up for dangerous murderers, her own attorney general is holding her responsible for the recent escapes!!!!
Couldn't happen to a nicer woman!

Posted by: js on August 12, 2010 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

The charge of McCarthyism is trotted out far too often, but the Rs really do seem to be doing their best these days:

Muslim = Jihadist = enemy of the state not entitled to Constitutional protection

Progressive = Communist = enemy of the state not entitled to Constitutional protection

Posted by: kk on August 12, 2010 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Now, what I don't understand is, if these jihadi terrorists want their "anchor babies" to be American citizens, why did Obama's mother fly all the way to Kenya when she was 17 years old and pregnant just to have a baby on foreign soil, so that he would NOT be a natural born citizen, and then elaborately fake all those documents and birth announcements in Honolulu papers to create the impression that he was, when she could just have had her jihadi anchor-baby Manchurian-candidate rugrat in the U.S. like all the other terrorist jihadis? Don't you hate these intellectual elitist show-offs who have to do everything the most complicated way possible?

The other problem with all this of course is the Boys from Brazil scenario. "But I don't want to be the Fuhrer and lead the mighty Aryan people! I want to sing with a punk-rock band!"

Posted by: T-Rex on August 12, 2010 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

As we've witnessed the tendency of our dear friends on the Far (Bat Shit Crazy) Right to project their emotional foibles upon us with false issues with which they themselves seem not to be able to cope, we might proffer a number of things about Rep. Gohmert's irrationality!

I don't know his bio, nor do I care to know. But just hearing him make these allegations, I can't but wonder if his own children may have rebelled during their teenage lives and hurt him tremendously!

Other than that, Rep. Gohmert's observations are just crazy talk! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on August 12, 2010 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Well, good thing the Obama Administration is coming out fighting against these anti-14th Republicans. Oh, they're not? Well, good thing the national Democratic Party is coming out fighting against ... oh, they're not? Well, gosh, then why is the Overton Window moving ever rightward?

Posted by: Tom Allen on August 12, 2010 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

"there is no credible information about this"

I wish such skepticism were applied to ALL assertions by government people. Politicians=PR flacks=car salesmen. They're all lying (even when you broadly agree with their aims).

Posted by: flubber on August 12, 2010 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

In recent months, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) has been making his case against the 14th Amendment with an argument even most conservatives avoid: the dreaded "terrorist baby" threat.

If by "making his case" you mean "babbling inchoherently."

Posted by: martin on August 12, 2010 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

You know what's wrong with us liberals?
We assume that human beings are rational, logical and reasonable. But most of them ARE NOT.

Conservatives at least understand that most people think with their emotions, have short memories, believe contradictory things, and are easily confused. They know how easy it is to stimulate the primitive parts of the brain.

Posted by: Speed on August 12, 2010 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK
Fuentes didn't come right out and say, "These Republicans are lying to the public," but he came awfully close.

yea --- any self respecting critic ought to call a person who lies, a liar.

So then why did I read @ 3:05:

I can say, however, that Kristol is playing a dishonest little game, which is consistent with his usual brand of intellectual dishonesty.

Just call the prick Kristol a liar!
That's the simplest description of him...
...and the most accurate.

Posted by: cwolf on August 12, 2010 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

That was Representative Debbie Riddle!! I was sure that Fire Marshal Bill was back on TV. I am so disappointed.

Posted by: bigo8479 on August 13, 2010 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

The notion alone that children of terrorists will become terrorists themselves is ridiculous.

Posted by: Vokoban on August 13, 2010 at 4:52 AM | PERMALINK

"The notion alone that children of terrorists will become terrorists themselves is ridiculous."
Posted by: Vokoban on August 13, 2010 at 4:52

Not at all.
Although the genes are recessive, if both parents have the terrorist genes, they'll reinforce, and bang! -- terror-kids.
Didn't they cover that in your science class? Or did you go to one of those government-schools?

Posted by: smartalek on August 13, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

I can't believe this stuff!!! Next thing you know, they'll be claiming the president was born in another country!!!!

Posted by: tornredcarpet on August 15, 2010 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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