On The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley asserted that "[a]fter 9-11, President Bush and Vice President Cheney had a 100 percent perfect track record in keeping the homeland safe from an Islamic terrorist attack." In fact, while Crowley and other conservative media figures have recently downplayed the number of attacks on the United States under former President Bush, there were numerous post-9-11 terrorist attacks attempted and carried out during the Bush administration.
From the January 5 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
CROWLEY: After 9-11, President Bush and Vice President Cheney had a 100 percent perfect track record in keeping the homeland safe from an Islamic terrorist attack. So far this year, we've had numerous attacks.
O'REILLY: Well, what about the shoe bomber? What about the shoe bomber?
CROWLEY: That was coming into the United States. It was not a domestic terror attack. I mean, it was meant to be, but it was stopped by the folks on the plane. So far this year, we've had a dramatic uptick in the number of attacks that have actually been successful in being carried out. We had the shooting deaths of the U.S. military in Little Rock, Arkansas, left one dead. We had the Fort Hood shootings. We've got the arrest of five Muslim Americans coming out of Washington, D.C., in Pakistan on terrorism charges. And the list goes on. And now, of course, we have this Detroit bombing.
Fact: Islamic attacks took place under Bush after 9-11
2002 attack against El Al ticket counter at LAX. In July 2002, Hesham Mohamed Hadayet opened fire at an El Al Airlines ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport, killing two people and wounding four others before being shot dead. A 2004 Justice Department report stated that Hadayet's case had been “officially designated as an act of international terrorism.”
2006 UNC SUV attack. In March 2006, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill graduate Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove an SUV into an area of campus, striking nine pedestrians. According to reports, Taheri-azar said he acted because he wanted to “avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world.” Taheri-azar also reportedly stated in a letter: “I was aiming to follow in the footsteps of one of my role models, Mohammad Atta, one of the 9/11/01 hijackers, who obtained a doctorate degree.”
2001 shoe bomber attempted attack. In June 2008, then-Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff described Reid's December 2001 attempt “to blow up a trans-Atlantic plane with a shoe bomb” as an attempt to “carry out terrorist operations for Al-Qaeda.”
Fact: Crowley's list of “numerous attacks” during Obama administration included arrest of students, foiled attack
Students arrested while seeking to join terrorists, not for having carried out attacks. After stating that “we've had a dramatic uptick in the number of attacks that have actually been successful in being carried out,” Crowley listed several attacks, including the arrest in Pakistan of five Muslim students from Virginia. However, the students reportedly were arrested after an investigation by Pakistani officials and the FBI while seeking to join terrorist groups.
Crowley cites Abdulmutallab among attacks, dismisses Reid's similar attempted bombing. In her list of “numerous attacks,” Crowley also included “this Detroit bombing.” However, the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from the Netherlands to Detroit by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was unsuccessful after other passengers on the flight subdued him as he attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his underwear. The circumstances of his attack were similar to those of the attempted December 2001 bombing of American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami. In that attack, passengers subdued Reid as he tried to light a fuse to set off explosives concealed in his sneakers. When O'Reilly brought up the Reid attack, Crowley stated: “That was coming into the United States. It was not a domestic terror attack. I mean, it was meant to be, but it was stopped by the folks on the plane.”
Fact: Other conservatives have also denied existence of terrorist attacks under Bush
Frederick, Perino ignore attacks that occurred during Bush term. As Media Matters for America has documented, other conservative media figures also have denied that terrorist attacks occurred under Bush after 9-11. In a Las Vegas Review-Journal column, Las Vegas Review-Journal publisher Sherman Frederick falsely claimed that “the two cases of domestic terrorism since 9/11” happened “on Obama's watch.” Bush White House Press Secretary Dana Perino falsely claimed on the November 24, 2009, edition of Fox News' Hannity that "[w]e did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term."