Anti-Muslim Hysterics

Drudge has a headline in red: “Five Muslim Soldiers Arrested at Fort Jackson.” The link goes to a story on a CBN blog post (Pat Robertson’s network) that claims it has the scoop on the story, that five Muslim soldiers were arrested two months ago for allegedly trying to poison the food supply at Fort Jackson. [UPDATE: CBN has revised its headline and story so that it now merely says they were “questioned”). On the basis of this CBN blog post, folks on the rightwing fringe are saying this shows the folly of allowing Muslims to serve in the military.

But would the military sit on something like this for two months? And why would someone desperate to tell the story have to take two months to find a news source that would report it? And why CBN? Terry Mattingly is skeptical, especially as he compares the CBN post with an AP story. Donald Sensing (former chief of public affairs for Army CID) notes that the scenario as described just doesn’t make sense. Also here.

The South Carolina State went to the trouble of interviewing locals.

Fort Jackson issued this statement late Thursday night: “In December 2009, five Soldiers were investigated for potential verbal threats against fellow Soldiers. While the investigation continues there is currently no credible evidence to substantiate the allegations. At no time was there any danger to the Fort Jackson community.”

A local law enforcement official familiar with the reports who insisted on anonymity said Thursday that there was no attempt made to poison any soldiers, adding that a rumor started when several disgruntled soldiers shot their mouths off late last year. There was never any threat, nothing credible, he insisted. …

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said he could not release any specifics of the investigation by the Army’s Criminal Investigative Service to protect its integrity.

“I can say that, according to CID spokespersons, they have not found any credible information to substantiate the allegations,” Garver, who’s based at the Pentagon, said in an e-mail.

He said he is unaware of any arrests made in the investigation.

I think Sensing is right. There’s nothing to this story–except what it reveals about our fears.

Update: See also L.A. Times.

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