Last March, seven Texas cities were named on an ISIS “kill list” as part of an online terroristic threat disseminated over social media that identified U.S. Armed Forces personnel and released the individual’s names, photos, and home addresses. Concerned “kill list” chatter kicked up among Texans over social media following the gruesome ISIS attack on Paris, leaving at least 129 dead. That list gives pause to all in this post-9/11, post-Madrid, and now, post-Paris world.
The Texas cities listed were Abilene, New Braunfels, San Antonio, Wyle, Bedford, Killeen, and Fort Hood, the last being the tragic site of the 2009 terrorist attack in which Army Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30. U.S. officials believed Hasan was inspired by Al-Qaeda. The Pentagon only called the carnage “workplace violence.”
Breitbart News reported the list was an attempt by ISIS to make it appear as if they hacked into sensitive and secure American military systems, although most of the data was easily accessible from online public records, residential search sites, and social media. ISIS urged sympathizers and/or members already in the U.S. to attack those service members on the list, some deployed active-duty service members, according to KPRC 2 Houston. The ISIS list included a handful of active navy ships, aircraft carriers and destroyers. Texas was one of 23 states and its stationed military personnel numbered a dozen out of approximately 100 individuals spread out over 55 U.S. cities.
At the time, the U.S. Department of Defense called the “kill list” mostly a scare tactic, although the Pentagon asked law enforcement to provide extra protection for military personnel whose personal information was released. Amarillo’s KFDA 10 reported the Pentagon also notified the targeted identified on the list, recommending police departments and military police increase patrol in the neighborhoods where these soldiers lived.
Post-Paris’ ISIS attack, Jacksonville CBS-TV affiliate WJAX-47 dusted off the “kill list,” cautioning area residents that the state’s oldest city, St. Augustine, was one of five Florida cities listed. Blogsites, most notably, revived the story online, some erroneously sharing the information as new. Urban legend website Snopes stepped in to verify the ISIS “kill list” and then, clarified it happened but not following the Paris terrorist attack on November 13.
Texans posted KFDA 10’s original news story on social media. One Facebooker posed: “How many Syrian refugees does Obama plan to send to Texas? How many ISIS terrorists assigned to kill people in our cities could be hidden among refugees?”
On Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott boldly refused to allow Syrian refugees into Texas in a letter to President Obama. Later in the day, Abbott explained in more detail why allowing Syrian refugees into the country is “playing the same game of risk that Europe played” in the aftermath of Paris’ murderous bombings. Abbott referred to the known Syrian refugee who recently entered Europe “and then participated in the terroristic bombing of Paris.” Then, the governor recalled the failed Garland terrorist shootings last May, for which ISIS claimed credit. He said he was not willing to “roll the dice” and take that risk on Texans. At last count, 29 other governors decided to refuse allowing Syrian refuges in their states.
On Tuesday, security concerns over a terror threat stopped a soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands in Hannover stadium, canceled less than two hours before game time, although later it proved a false alarm.
Even though Snopes pointed out about the “kill list” that “neither ISIS militants nor any ISIS supporters or sympathizers in the U.S. actually killed or attempted to kill any of the persons named in that March 2015 report,” high alert prevails.
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.