Fact-Check: Tim Kaine Claims Terror Threat ‘Has Decreased’ During Obama Era

Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty/Reuters

Asked during Tuesday night’s Vice Presidential debate whether the threat of terrorism in the United States has increased or decreased in the past eight years, Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine argued that the threat of terrorism has decreased “in some ways” because of the reduction in the number of deployed troops, the passage of the Iran nuclear deal, and the death of Osama bin Laden.

“The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways because Bin Laden is dead,” Kaine argued, receiving the question to answer before rival Mike Pence. “The terrorist threat has decreased in some ways because the Iranian nuclear weapons program has been stopped,” he added, arguing that U.S. troops are also safer because there are “not 175,000 in a dangerous part in the world, there’s only 15,000.”

The death of Al Qaeda head Osama bin Laden with little strategy for what to do with the beheaded jihadi organization has led to the terror group splintering into multiple factions. Al Qaeda in Iraq, once led by former terror camp leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, evolved into what is now known as the Islamic State, led by self-appointed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Al Qaeda affiliated militia al-Nusra Front has officially severed from its parent terrorist group in Syria, and continues operating as a jihadist terror group under the name “Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.”

Despite parenting new, deadly terror threats, Al Qaeda itself remains extremely formidable, expanding out of terrorist attacks and into “drug trafficking affiliated with Mexican drug cartels, kidnapping for ransom, smuggling of arms, wildlife, coal, oil, gas, timber, precious metals, and people.” 

“This has enabled them not only to become independent but also richer and more powerful,” according to a Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report.

Al Qaeda has also cemented itself in regions destabilized during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, notably Libya and Yemen.

Kaine’s claim that the Iranian nuclear deal (the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” – JCPoA) eliminates the Iranian nuclear program entirely has been proven inaccurate.

The Chairman of the 9/11 Commission has said that the threat of terrorism worldwide is greater in 2016 than in 2001. For a numerical analysis, the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) documented 32,685 terrorist-caused deaths in 2014, compared to slightly over 5,000 in 2001.


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