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Fox News Trumpets Another Plot Broken Up by the FBI

Reported by Judy - July 7, 2006 -

The FBI claimed Friday (July 7, 2006) that another planned attack on the U.S. has been thwarted and Fox News rushed to sensationalize the danger, even while subtlely admitting that the plot was not well thought out.

"Dayside" opened its show with a "Fox News Alert" on the alleged plot, with co-host Juliet Huddy announcing that "A plot to attack trains and tunnels in the U.S. is revealed."

Fox News reporter Rick Leventhal reported that "it appears this plot never made it past the planning stages, but that’s in part because of the aggressive efforts of the FBI, which discovered jihadists allegedly working to blow up the underground PATH train, a commuter rail line connecting New York and New Jersey."

The kicker was that "FBI agents heard about the plot while monitoring internet chat rooms used by extremists who were designing a catstrophic event to throw the cityi’s finances into chaos, jihadists hoping that a massive amount of explosives would shut down the PATH train and other services and flood lower Manhattan, like post-Katrina New Orleans. But they weren’t the brightest bunch. Manhattan is built above the level of the Hudson River and engineers say while the tunnel might flood, the city would not."

The "Fox News Alert" gives the impression that this is brand new news, but actually the New York Daily News smeared the story all over its front page in the morning. And by the time Fox News was getting everybody excited about this second bunch of not-too-bright terrorists, other news organizations were already beginning to voice some skepticism. As CBS News noted on its web page, the "plot" was more of an aspiration or dream than a calculated plan.

And discussing it on an interrnet chat room? How serious could they be? If nothing else, the FBI bust is a reminder that big brother is watching. Even the internets.