White House's own terrorism list torpedoes the case for travel ban

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  • Peter Bergen: The White House's list of 78 terror attacks is devoid of evidence for President Trump's immigration order
  • Few who made attacks came from those countries; French, US citizens were responsible for more attacks, list shows

Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. He is the author of "United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists."

(CNN)The White House's list of 78 "major terrorist attacks targeting the West" is strikingly devoid of evidence to support President Trump's halt to immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Conspicuous by their absence on the White House list of terrorists carrying out major attacks against Western targets were Iraqis, Somalis, Sudanese and Yemenis, who are from four of the seven Muslim countries that the Trump administration is seeking to suspend travel from. (Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said there were no Libyans on the White House list of attackers. This article has been updated to reflect the omission.)
Instead, the incidents listed on the White House terrorism list identified France, the United States and Belgium as the countries supplying the most anti-Western terrorists.
    With great fanfare on Monday the White House released a list of 78 terrorist attacks since September 2014. A White House official described them as "major terrorist attacks targeting the West."
    The list was released after President Trump's claim that the media is under-covering terrorist attacks, a contention that is not borne out by the evidence.
    The White House's own terrorism list underlines the arbitrary nature of the travel ban because, by the White House's own account, the countries that are generating the most significant number of terrorists threatening the West are in the West.
    The list also underlines the fact that it is American citizens who largely foment terrorism in the United States. This is also the case in countries such as France and Belgium, where it is French and Belgian citizens who are often the ones conducting significant acts of terrorism.
    Of the total of 90 terrorists on the White House list, at most nine are from travel ban countries.
    Indeed, 50 of the terrorists — more than half -- are from Christian-majority countries in the West.
    On the list, which includes the identities of attackers where they are known, France leads the way with 16 French terrorists, followed by the United States with 13 American terrorists, 11 of whom are US citizens and two of whom are legal permanent residents.
    Of these 29 American and French terrorists, only two even have family origins in travel ban countries and they are both from Somalia.
    Belgium comes in third place with seven terrorists.
    In descending order after that are:
    --Tunisians (6),
    --Libyans and Bengalis are tied with 5,
    --Saudis (4),
    --Syrians, Algerians and Indonesians are tied with 3 each;
    --Afghans, Australians, Bosnians, Canadians, Danes, Germans, Russians and Turks are tied with two each and
    --One each from Chad, Egypt, the Emirates, Iran, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
    These findings may cause a problem for the White House as it makes the argument that citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen are particularly likely to foment anti-Western terrorism, when the White House's own terrorism list demonstrates that this is not the case.
    For example, an unspecified number of Filipinos participated in a botched attempt to blow up a bomb outside the US embassy in Manila last year.
    In 15 of the 78 attacks the perpetrators have not been identified.
    I took the White House terrorism list and grouped it by nationalities below. The countries with the largest number of identified terrorists are at the beginning, while attacks where the perpetrator was not identified are listed at the end. The wording added by me is in boldface.
    FRENCH
    TOURS, FRANCE
    December, 2014
    TARGET: Three police officers wounded in knife attack
    ATTACKER: Bertrand Nzohabonayo (French citizen, convert from Burundi)
    PARIS, FRANCE
    January, 2015
    TARGET: One police officer and four hostages killed in shooting at a kosher supermarket
    ATTACKER: Amedy Coulibaly (French citizen born in France, family from Mali)
    NICE, FRANCE
    February, 2015
    TARGET: Two French soldiers wounded in knife attack outside a Jewish community center
    ATTACKER: Moussa Coulibaly (French originally from Mali)
    LYON, FRANCE
    June, 2015
    TARGET: One civilian killed in beheading and explosion at a chemical plant
    ATTACKER: Yasin Salhi (French of Moroccan-Algerian descent)
    MAGNANVILLE, FRANCE
    June, 2016
    TARGET: One police officer and one civilian killed in knife attack
    ATTACKER: Larossi Abballa (French, born in France, family origin not clear)
    NORMANDY, FRANCE
    July, 2016
    TARGET: One priest killed in knife attack
    ATTACKERS: Adel Kermiche (French-Algerian) and Abdel Malik Nabil Petitjean (French, from eastern France)
    PARIS, FRANCE
    September, 2016
    TARGET: One police officer wounded in raid after VBIED failed to detonate at Notre Dame Cathedral
    ATTACKERS: Sarah Hervouet, Ines Madani, and Amel Sakaou (French, family origins French or unclear. )
    QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA
    August, 2016
    TARGET: Two killed and one wounded in knife attack at a hostel frequented by Westerners
    ATTACKER: Smail Ayad (French, family origin unclear)
    PARIS, FRANCE
    November, 2015
    TARGET: At least 129 killed and approximately 400 wounded in series of shootings and IED attacks
    ATTACKERS: Brahim Abdelslam, (French, Moroccan-Algerian family) Saleh Abdeslam, (French, Moroccan descent) Ismail Mostefai, (French, family origin not clear) Bilal Hadfi, (French, Moroccan descent) Samy Amimour, (French, Algerian descent) Foued Mohamed Aggad, (French, Algerian-Moroccan descent)
    AMERICANS
    NEW YORK CITY, NY, USA
    October, 2014
    TARGET: Two police officers wounded in knife attack
    ATTACKER: US person (American citizen, African-American)
    GARLAND, TX, USA
    May, 2015
    TARGET: One security guard wounded in shooting at the Prophet Muhammad cartoon event
    ATTACKERS: Two US persons (Americans, one had a father from Pakistan, the other was African-American)
    BOSTON, MA, USA
    June, 2015
    TARGET: No casualties; one police officer attacked with knife
    ATTACKER: US person (American, African-American)
    MERCED, CA, US
    November, 2015
    TARGET: Four wounded in knife attack on a college campus
    ATTACKER: US person (American, family originally from Pakistan)
    SAN BERNARDINO, CA
    December, 2015
    TARGET: 14 killed and 21 wounded in coordinated firearms attack
    ATTACKERS: Two US persons (American citizen whose family emigrated from Pakistan and legal permanent resident, originally from Pakistan.)
    PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
    January, 2016
    TARGET: One police officer wounded in shooting
    ATTACKER: US person (American, African-American)
    COLUMBUS, OH, US
    February, 2016
    TARGET: Four civilians wounded in machete attack at a restaurant
    ATTACKER: US person (American, originally from Guinea)
    ORLANDO, FL, US
    June, 2016
    TARGET: 49 killed and 53 wounded in shooting at a nightclub
    ATTACKER: US person (American, family originally from Afghanistan.)
    ST. CLOUD, MN, US
    September, 2016
    TARGET: 10 wounded in knife attack in a mall
    ATTACKER: Dahir Ahmed Adan (American, family originally from Somalia.)
    NEW YORK, NY; SEASIDE PARK AND ELIZABETH, NJ, US
    September, 2016
    TARGET: 31 wounded in bombing in New York City; several explosive devices found in New York and New Jersey; one exploded without casualty at race in New Jersey; one police officer wounded in shootout
    ATTACKER: Ahmad Khan Rahami (American citizen, born in Afghanistan.)
    COLUMBUS, OH, US
    November, 2016
    TARGET: 14 wounded by individuals who drove a vehicle into a group of pedestrians and attacked them with a knife
    ATTACKER: US person (American legal resident, originally from Somalia.)
    BELGIANS
    These Belgians were both involved in the Paris attacks in November 2015
    Chakib Ahrouh, (Belgian-Moroccan)
    and Abdelhamid Abaaoud (Belgian-Moroccan)
    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
    March, 2016
    TARGET: At least 31 killed and 270 wounded in coordinated bombings at Zaventem Airport and on a subway train
    ATTACKERS: Khalid el-Bakraoui, (Belgian) Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, (Belgian) Najim Laachraoui (Belgian-Moroccan), Mohammed Abrini (Belgian)
    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
    October, 2016
    TARGET: Two police officers wounded in stabbing
    ATTACKER Belgian national
    TUNISIANS
    NICE, FRANCE
    July, 2016
    TARGET: 84 civilians killed and 308 wounded by an individual who drove a truck into a crowd
    ATTACKER: Mohamed Bouhlel (Tunisian)
    SOUSSE, TUNISIA
    June, 2015
    TARGET: 38 killed and 39 wounded in shooting at a beach frequented by westerners
    ATTACKERS: Seifeddine Rezgui (Tunisian)
    PARIS, FRANCE
    January, 2016
    TARGET: No casualties; attacker killed after attempted knife attack on Paris police station
    ATTACKER: Tarek Belgacem (Tunisian)
    TUNIS, TUNISIA
    March, 2015
    TARGET: 21 tourists killed, including 16 westerners, and 55 wounded in shooting at the Bardo Museum
    ATTACKERS: Two ISIL-aligned extremists (Tunisians)
    BERLIN, GERMANY
    December, 2016
    TARGET: 12 killed and 48 wounded by individual who drove truck into a crowded market
    ATTACKER: Anis Amri (Tunisian)
    LIBYANS
    TRIPOLI, LIBYA
    January, 2015
    TARGET: Ten killed, including one US citizen, and five wounded in bombing and shooting at a hotel frequented by westerners
    ATTACKERS: As many as five ISIL-Libya members (Libyans)
    BENGALIS
    DHAKA, BANGLADESH
    July, 2016
    TARGET: 22 killed, including one American and 50 wounded after hours-long siege using machetes and firearms at holy Artisan Bakery
    ATTACKERS: Nibras Islam, Rohan Imtiaz, Meer Saameh Mubasheer, Khairul Islam Paye, and Shafiqul Islam Uzzal (Bengalis)
    SAUDIS
    RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA
    November, 2014
    TARGET: One Danish citizen wounded in shooting
    ATTACKERS: Three Saudi Arabia-based ISIL members (Saudis)
    RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA
    January, 2015
    TARGET: Two US citizens wounded in shooting
    ATTACKER: Saudi Arabia-based ISIL supporter (Saudi)
    SYRIANS
    ANSBACH, GERMANY
    July, 2016
    TARGET: At least 15 wounded in suicide bombing at a music festival
    ATTACKER: Mohammad Daleel (Syrian)
    MALMO, SWEDEN
    October, 2016
    TARGET: No casualties; mosque and community center attacked with Molotov cocktail
    ATTACKER: Syrian national
    ISTANBUL, TURKEY
    January, 2016
    TARGET: 12 German tourists killed and 15 wounded in suicide bombing
    ATTACKER: Nabil Fadli (Syrian)
    ALGERIANS
    TIZI OUZOU, ALGERIA
    September, 2014
    TARGET: One French citizen beheaded
    ATTACKER: Jund al-Khilafah in Algeria (Algerian)
    PARIS, FRANCE
    April, 2015
    TARGET: Catholic churches targeted; one civilian killed in shooting, possibly during an attempted carjacking
    ATTACKER: Sid Ahmed Ghlam (Algerian immigrant)
    CHARLEROI, BELGIUM
    August, 2016
    TARGET: Two police officers wounded in machete attack
    ATTACKER: Khaled Babouri (Algerian)
    INDONESIANS
    JAKARTA, INDONESIA
    January, 2016
    TARGET: Four civilians killed and more than 20 wounded in coordinated bombing and firearms attacks near a police station and a Starbucks
    ATTACKERS: Dian Joni Kurnaiadi, Muhammad Ali, Arif Sunakim, and Ahmad Muhazan bin Saron (Indonesians)
    AFGHANS
    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
    September, 2014
    TARGET: Two police officers wounded in knife attack
    ATTACKER: Abdul Numan Haider (Afghan)
    KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
    June, 2016
    TARGET: 14 killed in suicide attack on a bus carrying Canadian Embassy guards
    ATTACKER: ISIL-Khorasan operative (Afghan)
    AUSTRALIANS
    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
    December, 2014
    TARGET: Two Australians killed in hostage taking and shooting
    ATTACKER: Man Haron Monis (Australian citizen)
    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
    September, 2016
    TARGET: One civilian wounded in knife attack
    ATTACKER: Ihsas Khan (Australian)
    CANADIANS
    QUEBEC, CANADA
    October, 2014
    TARGET: One soldier killed and one wounded in vehicle attack
    ATTACKER: Martin Couture-Rouleau (Canadian convert)
    OTTAWA, CANADA
    October, 2014
    TARGET: One soldier killed at war memorial; two wounded in shootings at Parliament building
    ATTACKER: Michael Zehaf-Bibeau (Libyan Canadian)
    DANISH
    COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
    February, 2015
    TARGET: One civilian killed in shooting at a free-speech rally and one security guard killed outside the city's main synagogue
    ATTACKER: Omar Abdel Hamid el-Hussein (Danish citizen)
    COPENHAGEN, DENMAKR
    September, 2016
    TARGET: Two police officers and a civilian wounded in shooting
    ATTACKER: Mesa Hodzic (Danish)
    BOSNIANS
    ZVORNIK, BOSNIA
    April, 2015
    TARGET: One police officer killed and two wounded in shooting
    ATTACKER: Nerdin Ibric (Bosnian)
    RAJLOVAC, BOSNIA
    December, 2015
    TARGET: Two Bosnian soldiers killed in shooting
    ATTACKER: Enes Omeragic (Bosnian)
    GERMANS
    HANOVER, GERMANY
    February, 2016
    TARGET: One police officer wounded in knife attack
    ATTACKER: Safia Schmitter (German-Moroccan)
    WURZBURG, GERMANY
    July, 2016
    TARGET: Four civilians wounded in axe attack on a train
    ATTACKER: Riaz Khan Ahmadzai (German-Pakistani)
    RUSSIANS
    ISTANBUL, TURKEY
    June, 2016
    TARGET: 45 killed and approximately 240 wounded at Ataturk International Airport
    ATTACKERS: Rakhim Bulgarov, Vadim Osmanov, and an unidentified ISIL operative (Russians)
    TURKS
    MARSEILLES, FRANCE
    January, 2016
    TARGET: One Jewish teacher wounded in machete attack
    ATTACKER: 15 year-old Ethnic Kurd from Turkey (Turk)
    ISTANBUL, TURKEY
    March, 2016
    TARGET: Four killed and 36 wounded in suicide bombing in the tourist district
    ATTACKER: Mehmet Ozturk (Turk)
    EMIRATIS
    ABU DHABI, UAE
    DATE: December 2014
    TARGET: One American killed in knife attack
    ATTACKER: Dalal al-Hashimi (Emirati)
    PAKISTANI
    KARACHI, PAKISTAN
    April, 2015
    TARGET: One US citizen wounded in knife attack
    ATTACKERS: Pakistan-based ISIL supporters (Pakistani)
    MOROCCANS
    PARIS, FRANCE
    August, 2015
    TARGET: Two civilians and one US soldier wounded with firearms and knife on a passenger train
    ATTACKER: Ayoub el-Khazzani (Moroccan)
    PALESTINIANS
    COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
    September, 2015
    TARGET: One police officer wounded in knife attack
    ATTACKER: Palestinian national (Palestinian)
    IRAN-BORN AUSTRALIAN
    PARRAMATTA, AUSTRALIA
    October, 2015
    TARGET: One police officer killed in shooting
    ATTACKER: Farhad Jabar (Iranian born Australian)
    BRITISH
    LONDON
    December, 2015
    TARGET: Three wounded in knife attack at an underground rail station
    ATTACKER: Muhyadin Mire (British citizen)
    EGYPTIAN
    KUWAIT CITY, KUWAIT
    TARGET: No casualties; vehicle carrying three US soldiers hit by a truck
    ATTACKER: Ibrahim Sulayman (Egyptian)
    November, 2016
    CHADIAN
    TARGET: No casualties; attacker arrested after opening fire at entrance of US Embassy
    ATTACKER: Chadian national (Chad)
    SWEDISH
    One of the 2016 Brussels attackers is Osama Krayem (Swedish)
    UNIDENTIFIED ATTACKERS
    MANILA, PHILIPPINES
    November, 2016
    TARGET: No casualties; failed IED attempt near US Embassy
    ATTACKERS: Philippine nationals aligned with the Maute group (Unspecified number of Filipinos)
    KARAK, JORDAN
    December, 2016
    TARGET: 10 killed and 28 wounded in shooting at a tourist site
    ATTACKERS: Several gunmen
    EL GORA (AL JURAH), EGYPT
    June, 2015
    TARGET: No casualties; camp used by Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) troops attacked in shooting and bombing attack
    ATTACKERS: Unknown number of ISIL-Sinai members
    HAMBURG, GERMANY
    October, 2016
    TARGET: One killed in knife attack
    ATTACKER: Unknown
    LUXOR, EGYPT
    June, 2015
    TARGET: One police officer killed by suicide bomb near the Temple of Karnak
    ATTACKER: Unidentified
    HASANAH, EGYPT
    October, 2015
    TARGET: 224 killed in downing of a Russian airliner
    ATTACKER: Unidentified ISIL-Sinai operatives
    DINAJPUR, BANGLADESH
    November, 2015
    TARGET: One Italian citizen wounded in shooting
    ATTACKER: Unidentified
    CAIRO, EGYPT
    July, 2015
    TARGET: One killed and nine wounded in VBIED attack at Italian Consulate
    ATTACKER: Unidentified ISIL operatives
    CAIRO, EGYPT
    July, 2015
    TARGET: One Croatian national kidnapped; beheaded on August 12 at an unknown location
    ATTACKER: Unidentified ISIL-Sinai operative
    EL GORA, EGYPT
    September, 2015
    TARGET: Four US and two MFO troops wounded in IED attack
    ATTACKER: Unidentified
    DHAKA, BANGLADESH
    September, 2015
    TARGET: One Italian civilian killed in shooting
    ATTACKER: Unidentified
    EL GORA, EGYPT
    October, 2015
    TARGET: No casualties; airfield used by MFO attacked with rockets
    ATTACKER: Unidentified ISIL-Sinai operatives
    RANGPUR, BANGLADESH
    October, 2015
    TARGET: One Japanese civilian killed in shooting
    ATTACKER: Unidentified
    DERBENT, RUSSIA
    December, 2015
    TARGET: One killed and 11 wounded in shooting at UN World Heritage site
    ATTACKER: Unidentified ISIL-Caucasus operative
    CAIRO, EGYPT
    January, 2016
    TARGET: Two wounded in drive-by shooting outside a hotel frequented by tourists
    ATTACKERS: Unidentified ISIL operatives
    HURGHADA, EGYPT
    January, 2016
    TARGET: One German and one Danish national wounded in knife attack at a tourist resort
    ATTACKER: Unidentified
    ESSEN, GERMANY
    April, 2016
    TARGET: Three wounded in bombing at Sikh temple
    ATTACKERS: Three identified minors