So Much for Those Sochi Terror Fears, Huh?

We need to stop succumbing to baseless panic over terrorism, Peter Bergen argues
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 26, 2014 1:56 PM CST
So Much for Those Sochi Terror Fears, Huh?
Olympic security personnel watch the sun set after the men's gold medal ice hockey game at the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.   (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Hey remember that time, lo those many weeks ago, when most Americans believed a terror attack would hit the Sochi Olympics? You could hardly blame them; there were ominous reports of approaching black widows and evacuation plans as important people predicted doom. But a funny thing happened: Nothing. "It turned out that the most terrifying image from Sochi was the look of disgust" on Ashley Wagner's face, observes CNN security analyst Peter Bergen. It was just the latest example "of hyperventilating hyperbole of the doomsday terrorism prognosticators."

In November, GOP Rep. Mike Rogers said al-Qaeda "poses a bigger threat" than before 9/11, a statement Bergen believes "defies common sense." The US has decimated al-Qaeda, while dramatically improving American security and intelligence capabilities. A much-discussed 2004 book argued that "a nuclear attack on America in the decade ahead is more likely than not." Looks like "not" won out. "It's relatively easy to say the sky is always falling," Bergen writes, because when it doesn't, "doomsday prognosticators are rarely held to account. … they are too busy warning of the next catastrophe." Click for his full column. (Read more 2014 Sochi Olympics stories.)

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