Glenn Beck mischaracterized a study assessing the vulnerability of the United States to economic warfare to falsely suggest that a "Pentagon report" backed up his theory of a "perfect storm" involving "all of the forces in the world that want to take America down." In fact, the report's disclaimer states that its conclusion is not the view of the government.
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Beck Cites "Pentagon Report" To Explain Another "Element" Of His "Perfect Storm" Theory
Beck: A "Pentagon Report" Says That The Third Part Of "The Attack" On America "May Be Under Way Right Now." During the March 2 broadcast of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck promised to "add another" element the "perfect storm" that involved "all of the forces in the world that want to take America down," then pivoted to discuss a report assessing the possibility of economic warfare:
Maybe you caught the headline here. Let me show it to you. "Financial terrorism suspected in 2008 market crash." Now that is quite a claim -- that terrorists caused the economic crash. Not quite. Not quite. It comes from a Pentagon report - it's this report. It was issued by their Irregular Warfare Support Program, and done by an economic analyst that has been around for a while. He's no kook. His name is Kevin Freeman. It took six months to complete. Now, he's not a whack job, he's not a guy who needs to make a name for himself. He's a trusted Pentagon analyst.
I have to tell you, I don't know if he's right. But I know we should be aware of this, because there's a couple of things that don't feel right to me. Let me show you first what he found.
He found that, first of all, terrorists and other financial enemies were likely responsible for the U.S. financial collapse in 2008. That doesn't mean we're - we were irresponsible as well, but they took advantage.
The attack, which began in 2007, he says, is a three-tiered attack. The report claims two of the phases are complete -- two of them -- but the third one is not. He says it may be under way right now. [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 3/2/11]
But The Pentagon Explicitly Said That The Study "Should Not Be Interpreted" As An Opinion "Of The Government"
DOD: Study "Should Not Be Interpreted As Necessarily Representing The Official Policies, Either Expressed Or Implied, Of The Government." The cover page of the study Beck cited included the following disclaimer:
The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the author and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the Government. [Business Insider, 3/1/11]
The cover page of the study appeared in an article on Business Insider:
[Business Insider, 3/1/11]
And Freeman Is Not A "Trusted Pentagon Analyst"
Kevin Freeman Was A Subcontractor, Not A "Pentagon Analyst." The cover page of the study, "Economic Warfare: Risks and Responses" also states:
The report was originally published under contractual arrangement with a sub-contractor of the Department of Defense Irregular Warfare Support Program (IWSP) per contractual arrangement between sub-contractor and Cross Consulting and Services, LLC. [Business Insider, 3/1/11]
Salon: "The Pentagon No Longer Wants To Have Anything To Do With Freeman's Thesis." Salon's Andrew Leonard reported:
It seems the Pentagon no longer wants to have anything to do with Freeman's thesis, and even though it was submitted as source material to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, failed to be included in the final report. [Salon.com, 3/2/11]
CJR: The Pentagon Does Not Endorse Freeman's "Kookiness." Columbia Journalism Review's Ryan Chittum criticized the initial Washington Times article on Freeman's paper and the suggestion that it was endorsed by the Defense Department:
The credulous report in the cult-owned, right-wing Washington Times today is being pushed, naturally, by Matt Drudge, so it can't be long until Fox News weighs in. Here's the Times's misleading headline:
Financial terrorism suspected in 2008 economic crash
Pentagon study sees element
That creds up what is essentially a one-source story by making it seem like the Defense Department endorses this kookiness. It doesn't. [Columbia Journalism Review, 3/1/11]
Indeed, Freeman's Analysis Has Been Discredited As Implausible And "Pure Rubbish"
Yale Expert Paul Bracken: "Suggestions Of An Organized Targeted Attack For Strategic Reasons Don't Seem To Me To Be Plausible." Even The Washington Times article on the report quoted a Yale University professor who said he found "no convincing evidence" to support Freeman's theory:
"There were outside players in the market" for unregulated credit default swaps, Mr. Bracken said in an e-mail. "Foreign banks and hedge funds play the shorts all the time too. But suggestions of an organized targeted attack for strategic reasons don't seem to me to be plausible." [The Washington Times, 2/28/11]
Business Insider: Report Is "Pure Rubbish" And "Anti-Muslim." An article on the study by Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal stated:
Earlier we mentioned a new report funded by the Pentagon, which argues that economic terrorists were behind the collapse of the economy (and that they're not through).
Not only is the [sic] pure rubbish, but the report also appears to be anti-Muslim.
Not only does it claim that Sovereign Wealth Funds had a major hand in the crash, it makes a big point of their being "Shariah Complaint." [Business Insider, 3/1/11]