MSNBC Brings On Harvard Professor to Speculate ‘Far Right’ May Be Responsible For Boston Attack

The media’s irresponsible speculation regarding the perpetrator of the terrorist attack in Boston seems to continue on MSNBC.  Appearing on MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on April 16, fill-in host Thomas Roberts brought on Harvard’s Jessica Stern to make predictions about who might have initiated the terrorist attack on April 15.

Stern began her segment by saying that the kind of bomb used in this attack was published in an al-Qaeda magazine before launching into her speculation that the far-right may be responsible:

It's also important to recognize that the recipe was shared and lauded by storm front, which is a neo-Nazi website. And the whole idea of leaderless, which comes out of the far right neo-Nazi patriot movement also spread over to al-Qaeda-related groups.  [See video after jump.  MP3 audio here.]

After Roberts commented about what he saw as the “crude” nature of the attack, Stern continued to push her wild speculation about who she thought was responsible for the attack:

So my guess is that this probably is a do-it-yourselfer kind of individual or individuals, or perhaps a small group. Either one that was inspired by al-Qaeda or perhaps neo-Nazis or anti-government patriot groups who have been known to act on Patriot’s Day.

While she’s at rampant speculation, why not toss out there that a left-wing group might be behind it?  Stern concluded her baseless accusations, claiming that:

So the date of the attack suggests that we not overlook the possibility that this could be an American anti-government group. Although the type of bomb has most recently been attempted by American jihadists, allegedly promoting al-Qaeda's vision.

Unlike earlier in the day when Roberts confronted former Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) for politicizing the terrorist attack, he failed to push back on Stern’s accusations:

It still leaves a lot of people wondering where the lead is going to come from that's going to start the investigators on the right trail to find whoever did this.

At the time of publication, the FBI says that there are no suspects into the terrorist attack, so for Stern to suggest that the far-right might be responsible is baseless.  Her assertion that an American anti-government group was responsible, being that it the attack occurred on Patriot Day is unreliable, but Roberts failed to challenge her. 

At this point, investigators haven’t a clue as to who is behind the attack and what political motivations, if any, he or she has.  It’s pointless to speculate, unless, of course, you’re hoping to needlessly tar mainstream conservative Americans by merely hinting that the bombing was motivated by a grievance held by a right-wing group critical of the government. 

 

See relevant transcript below. 


MSNBC

Martin Bashir

April 16, 2013

4:37 p.m. EDT

THOMAS ROBERTS: We want to turn now to Jessica Stern, she’s a terrorism expert who’s a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Stern it’s good to have you here. And as we're hearing there from Michael and also from the report that I'm getting about the bomb material recovered being sent on to Quantico for the FBI to evaluate there, we do know that the items inside, the nails, the ball bearings, BB’s used to create the chaos and the injuries, they've also been used in previous attacks. So does that help give any insight into who may have initiated this attack? Or is that information just so widely accessible via the internet that it really does provide a lot of cover to whoever may have put this together?

JESSICA STERN: Well, a recipe for creating this kind of bomb was actually published in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s online magazine known as "Inspire." And a couple of terrorist wannabes were inspired by that al-Qaeda's call for individuals to carry out their own jihad in America and try to detonate these bombs. Faisal Shahzad in Fort Hood. But it's also important to recognize that the recipe was shared and lauded by storm front, which is a neo-Nazi website. And the whole idea of leaderless, which comes out of the far right neo-Nazi patriot movement also spread over to al-Qaeda-related groups. So it's hard to say. It's a technology that is of interest to terrorists who want to make their own bombs of any stripe.

ROBERTS: But does it look, when we think about a formal terrorist group, and the sophistication that it would use, does this lend itself to that style of sophistication? I mean, when we talk about pressure cooker bombs, it seems kind of crude.

STERN: Yes. So my guess is that this probably is a do-it-yourselfer kind of individual or individuals, or perhaps a small group. Either one that was inspired by al-Qaeda or perhaps neo-Nazis or anti-government patriot groups who have been known to act on Patriot’s Day. So the date of the attack suggests that we not overlook the possibility that this could be an American anti-government group. Although the type of bomb has most recently been attempted by American jihadists, allegedly promoting al-Qaeda's vision.

ROBERTS: It still leaves a lot of people wondering where the lead is going to come from that's going to start the investigators on the right trail to find whoever did this. Our thanks to Dr. Jessica stern. Thanks for being here. I appreciate it.

STERN: Thank you.

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.