US Anti-Terror Consultants Deny Report That They Classified Fallout 3 Screenshot as Al Qaeda Material

UPDATE: The SITE Intelligence Group has issued a press release which says, categorically, that the article in the Telegraph (upon which this story is based) is wrong. From SITE:

On May 30, 2008, the Telegraph newspaper ran a misleading story… which incorrectly and falsely described analysis provided by the SITE Intelligence Group.

 

Discussing a computer-generated image of a destroyed Capitol Building in Washington that was posted to a jihadist forum, the Telegraph claimed, without any basis, "The SITE Intelligence Group said that the image, showing a ruined Capitol Building in Washington, was created by extremists as part of discussions about the feasibility of nuclear strikes against the US and Britain."

 

This claim is entirely false, as is the characterization that SITE is "embarrassed" or "red-faced." SITE rejects the claims by the Telegraph and stands fully behind the accuracy of its information and analysis. SITE at no time maintained that the image "was created by extremists."

(original story follows🙂

A US defense contractor has mistakenly identified a screenshot from the upcoming Fallout 3 role-playing adventure as an al Qaeda-created graphic.

As reported by the Telegraph, the SITE Intelligence Group claimed that the image (seen at left) was created by terrorists as part of an al Qaeda investigation as to the feasibility of launching nuclear attacks against the US and UK.

From the newspaper report:

The images appeared in a video, called Nuclear Jihad: The Ultimate Terror, posted on two password-protected websites… believed to be affiliated with al-Qa’eda. SITE also released translated several chatroom threads… discussing the possibility of nuclear attacks on the West.

 

However, it has transpired that far from being a detailed simulation created by terrorist masterminds, the apocalyptic vision is in fact lifted from the computer game Fallout 3, by US game designers Bethesda Softworks.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper The Australian was among news outlets which ran the story including SITE’s claim that the graphic was an Al Qaeda product.

This isn’t the first time that video game graphics have shown up in US intelligence reports on Islamic terrorism. As GamePolitics reported in May, 2006, footage from EA’s popular first-person shooter Battlefield 2 and even a voice-over from the film Team America: World Police were presented to the House Select Committe on Intelligence as al Qaeda propaganda.

Commenting on SITE’s bungling of the Fallout 3 graphic incident, Alex Jones Infowars takes the mainstream media to task, claiming that it helps spread terrorism fears:

Whatever Al Qaeda is, the American (and Australian) mainstream media is doing their job of spread the threat of terror for them, and making money at the same time utilising dramatic free content supposedly supplied by terrorists.

 

It doesn’t matter how absolutely crap and ridiculous the supposed Al Qaeda videos are, the mainstream media gives them all front page and lead evening news story exposure, almost seven years after the United States was last attacked.

 

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106 comments

  1. the conspiracy says:

     Actually this is what you get with privitization. A private security contractor for the govt. made this error.

  2. GryphonOsiris says:

    You’re kidding yourself, this level of Stupidity has been around since the Nixon Administration.

  3. Jabrwock says:

    UPDATE: The SITE Intelligence Group has issued a press release which says, categorically, that the article in the Telegraph (upon which this story is based) is wrong.

    Interesting. "we never said it was terrorist generated, just that it was posted to the forum".

    Would be nice to see a copy of the original to see what the report actually said. I can’t find the reference on the SITE page.

    I wonder if the Telegraph was trying to pull a GP, only they didn’t do any ACTUAL research before making the proclamation that SITE goofed?

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  4. Dark Sovereign says:

    U.S. intelligence. The tabloids constantly see missile silos in mole hills.

    Then again, there was this.

  5. BlackIce, Dragunov Marksman ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    US Intelligence or the Tabloids? Because I can see the tabloids mistaking a comic book for propaganda.

  6. Dark Sovereign says:

    They didn’t use to be this bad. They fucked things up, sure. But at least they didn’t confuse the images of say, a comic book for actual propoganda.

     

  7. Dark Sovereign says:

    My point was that somebody who was trying to search through massive volumes of suspected "terrorist propoganda" is bound to make mistakes every once in a while. And to be honest, I had never seen the image before, and can understand completely why a building that looks like a demolished US seat of government might be used to give terrorist fighters something to fight towards.

  8. Demontestament says:

    Because like a moron he instantly jumped any form of logical thought and went right to "OMG terrorism in picture form. They are training terrorists this way!". Instead of doing what an intelligent person would do, study the material at hand and actually see if this was "Terrorist Propaganda" he jumped the gun like every other moron out there.

  9. Trent ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hahahahahahahaha!

    Thats pretty stupid.

    Now just think about this: If this silly image can be accidentally used for real world news, it begs the question, how much real world news is bullshit for this exact reason? You can almost be certain that some of this stuff slips in to White House briefs etc.

     

    Scary eh?

  10. shady8x says:

    Ha ha ha…

     

    Shouldn’t the game be used as communist propaganda?

    After all the nukes that destroy all in the game are chinese…because of a war over the arcitic oil reserves hmm sounds familiar…

  11. Dark _Sovereign says:

    How exactly is whatever the government is saying propoganda? Propoganda polarizes an issue, and then sets up one position as highly desirable and demonizes the other side. It’s kind of hard to demonize a group responsible for thousands of deaths of both their own people and the people of other nations. The group does the demonizing itself.

  12. Dark _Sovereign says:

    You know, I’m kinda feeling for the guy. He spends his days quickly searching through images, videos, text, etc. for terrorist propoganda, seemingly finds something, and his mistake is placed on the internet for all to see.  

  13. KayleL says:

    It funny how they call it "Al Qaeda Propaganda" but the only propaganda is what the government is saying.

  14. Ken says:

    It is nice to see that the Islamic extremists have graduated from the toddler activity of using Bert to the preadolescent activity of using video games.  Can we expect Al-Qaeda communications using moody emo album covers next?

  15. Brokenscope says:

    Where does it say that SITE claims the image were made by terrorists? Cause I can’t find anything to back that claim.

  16. Salen says:

    Too late! Don’t worry, they’ll only listening to your phone calls right now, and you should be ashamed for not donating to your local police department when they called you. 😉

  17. Jabrwock says:

    This isn’t the first time that video game graphics have shown up in US intelligence reports on Islamic terrorism. As GamePolitics reported in May, 2006, footage from EA’s popular first-person shooter Battlefield 2 and even a voice-over from the film Team America: World Police were presented to the House Select Committe on Intelligence as al Qaeda propaganda.

    You’d think they’d have learned by now. Although it’s a different group this time. Last time it was Science Applications International Corp (SAIC). This time it’s SITE Intelligence Group.

    Don’t these people stop and think for a minute when they compile these "lists". Next thing you know it’ll be footage from "Sum of all Fears" or something like that… "OMG they’ve got Hollywood-quality studios!"

    — If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap…

  18. Gene ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I just almost pulled a stomach muscle laughing. Genius, dude. Kudos to you.

    And I suppose it’s a credit to Bethesda that they managed to create such an emotive, detailed image so as to be taken seriously by the American government. Whilst whoever was in charge of this investigation is obviously a complete bellend, it doesn’t disguise how good the image is.

    Off-topic question: does anyone know if I can get that picture as a widescreen wallpaper for my laptop? Cheers.

  19. Demontestament says:

    It is more likely than you think. Hell order the collectors edition and win a free trip to Gitmo paid in full by the Patriot Act.

  20. Demontestament says:

     

    Once again our "Intelligence" groups show how stupid they really are. I love how it is people like them who keep terrorism alive and fuel it more with propaganda without first researching the material they are given. Though seeing as who is running our country at the moment we shouldn’t really be surprised at this show of pants on head retardation.

  21. Ghost Coins ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What kind of half assed, !#$% for brains operation is SITE?  They are advertising what material they have found on the net related to terrorism, and then charging a fee to see it.  Good god, it’s like advertising that we know where they are, what they are doing, and all their pretty little tricks.  No wonder we can’t get a leg up on terrorists, jackasses like this are putting it up on the net for the entire world to see.  If they don’t have the common sense to keep that shit under wraps it is no suprise that they did not research the image or do a backround check on the forum.  For all those asshats know, it might have been the arabic version of fallout.com.  Dear lord, we pay these people to defend our country?  Where do I sign up.  I can play solitaire all day long, and get paid six digits a year to print out BS like this.

  22. Jahkaivah ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Actually to be fair they didn’t say who made it, but they failed to mention it was from a game and wasn’t made with ill-intention.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Jeez, I could just imagine if someone keeping up with news on the game called in.

    Caller: Er, yeah, saee the IGN logo i nthe corner? It’s a screenshot form a fictional video game that takes place in a fictional post apocolyptic earth

    Show: So, the game developer is saying they’ll train people to blow up the USA

    Caller: no, Iwas saying…. *click*

    Show: Woops, call was cut, technical problem

     

    YOu’d be surprised, well, maybe not really ,at how often these selective technical problems happen.

     

     

  24. Jack Wessels says:

    This has to be a joke…. There’s no way anyone can be this stupi….

    Who the hell am I kidding. We’ve been putting up with this level of stupidity for the past 7 and a half years.

  25. Ghost Coins ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Saw the picture months ago when Bethesda Released it for the Fallout 3 website…honestly, I am not suprised that it ended up here.  I wish I was getting paid upwards of seven digits to make bogus claims about images and videos that, right below it on youtube, say that it was american.  Wait, were the watermarks for the images still on them?  God, it would be hillarious to have a giant IGN.com or Bethesda marking right on the image.

     

    Agent #1: "is that a…does that say Bethesda in the corner?"

    Agent #2: "I think it does.  Wait, here is one with Gamespot.com on it."

    Agent #1: "what does it all mean?"

    Agent #2: "This goes far deeper than we expected.  Bin Laden is in charge of the gaming industry."

    Jack Thompson: THANK YOU.  Finally, someone believes me.

  26. the1jeffy says:

    Remember kids, this is where your taxes go, and this is what you get with Big Government. 

    ~~All Knowledge is Worth Having~~

  27. Arad ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ohnoes it’s those deadly terrorists from Al Con Queso.

    A cookie to the person who gets the reference.

  28. V-22 Osprey says:

    I find it pretty disturbing that the main GP website links to such a conspiracy nut like Alex Jones.

  29. Azhrarn ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, there’s a lot you can say about someone mistaking these images for "propaganda" material, but you have to admit, the artist who made these captured the feeling of desolation perfectly, or they would not have fallen for it.

    Still, it should not happen, this doesn’t make the US intelligence services look good. (not that a EU agency couldn’t have made the same mistake, it probably just wouldn’t have been as public then)

  30. Ghost Coins ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    First line of the Telegraph article.  However, a quick trip to SITE’s website won’t get you much.  It seems that all the links end in a note saying that the non-profit organization has gone south, and all the assets were sold off, blah, blah, blah.  So, no actual confirmation from the actual source….yet.  Still looking.

  31. Erik says:

    If people are paranoid then I suppose its "Mission Accomplished" for the government.  Keeping people scared is the creedo of the current administration.  They use fear and terror to manipulate the masses.  There is a word for that, its on the tip of my tounge…

     

  32. jswanson ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    You folks are completely misunderstanding what the Anti-Terrorist organizations are saying…

    Al Quaeda and their ilk take images from American media, and twist them to use IN THEIR PROPAGANDA.

    NO ONE is trying to say that terrorists MADE the images, merely that they use them in their own propaganda. Which is actually true. Obviously they don’t have the technology to produce high-quality media, so they recycle American media and twist it and blend it with their own.

    It’s not government paranoia or complete idiocy. Research the facts before you get all hyped up and defensive – that’s real paranoia.

  33. sucks says:

     It could happen very soon, sooner than you than imagine, trust me, wait and see. all or your bragging here are all nonsense. wait and see, you poor little frogs.

  34. Raven says:

    I think Yatzee covered that angle in his review of Army of Two, which he considred to be nothing more than a recrutement video for Blackwater and other military contractors. 

     

    As for the blinged weapons, in his words,  "If you think that is a vital thing then give yourself a salt-water douche because you’re officially a cunt!"

  35. Wyvern says:

    It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic…

    Oh, what the hell, I’ll laugh anyway. MAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

  36. gameman9 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    They actually believe that terroists created that. They can’t make something like that. They don’t know how.

  37. Aliasalpha says:

    If we’re talking about games & terrorism, I think it might be a good point to bring up my new suspicion about Army Of Two. I was playing it again today because after GTA4, I needed a break from quality and I was again struck by the glaring implicit racism (Anyone not american is an enemy, suicide bombers apparently sleep in their explosive vests so they’re ready to run waving their arms like kermit the frog at a moment’s notice. Seriously I reckon if they could have gotten away with it, the word "sandnigger" would have been in there), the grossly unlikeable main characters and the obssession with money & excess (gold plated weapons are bad enough but gold plated RPG WARHEADS?) and I realised that at one point I was thinking "God I hate americans!"

    Obviously I don’t really hate americans, I hate wanky greedy superficial arrogant idiots but for a brief second, the game got me thinking that all americans are like that. Then it hit me, the game was made by terrorists! It sounds crazy but I think its part of a brainwashing scheme to make as many people as possible hate americans & recruit new members.

    Its either that or EA was so desperate to release something that they ignore practically everything about the game that made it suck but that hardly seems like the quality comitted EA we know & love…

  38. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    (Steals shot from Elder Scrolls) This is Morrowind. As you can see, it’s under attack by a bunch of Islamic trolls from the Cargothian Hills of Gelfingdor. These sad dark elves-I mean MINORITIES, are suffering because of acts of terror from these zealots. This is why I would like President Hillary Clinton to allow us to send aid to these poor people. Oh, and this is absolutely, 100%, not a screenshot from one of those kickass Elder Scrolls video games.

    Hillary: Assistance is authorized. Proceed.

    Glad she can’t tell the difference between videogames and real life…

    -GRIZZAM PRIME(c)is property of the U.S. Marine Corp. Wetworks Dept., and also The Incredible Hulk-GRIZZAM PRIME is not to be associated with GRIZZAM 512 or any other GRIZZAM entity under penalty of law, so sayith ZARATHOS.

  39. Aliasalpha says:

    Ahhh journalistic integrity, how I miss thee…

     

    I suspect that the root of the problem is the obsession of news networks with ratings, the insane rush to be the first is pretty analogous to the wankers who add comments like "FIRST POST! LOL!!" and say nothing else. The rush must even compromise their audience, an example of something particulary petty: In Australia we have 3 commercial TV networks, 7, 9 & 10, the traditional time for news is 1800 which seems fairly logical as its the time when their core audience would mostly be home from work. Channels 7 & 9 air their news at this time as did channel 10 at one point, 10 then decided to shift their news to 1700 & created the tagline "First At Five" so they could claim to be ahead of the competition. The downside is that their broadcast begins right at the time when most work days are ending so a good percentage of their audience would spend half of their broadcast getting home.

    As with most things, you can have it fast or you can have it right

  40. metroidprimegmr says:

    DarkeSword?! THE DarkeSword from OverClocked ReMix???

    I absolutely LOVE your tunes, man; five-star stuff!!!

    Anyway, pleasure seeing you here!

  41. HalfShadow says:

    I’ve never actually claimed to be more intelligent than anyone (American or otherwise); simply that I felt myself to be.  And, you have to admit, given the stories on this page alone, it isn’t hard to see my point.  Can you deny you didn’t think to yourself ‘Holy crap, these people are stupid; I’m way smarter than them’ when you read any of them?

    We all think of ourselves as ‘better than the other guy’ from time to time. I simply never stop.  We are 6.7 billion master races of one.

  42. Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Very well.  Now prove you are smarter than the average American.  Stating your "smartness" on a blog is really as productive as yelling the same thing at the roaring of the ocean.  But congrats on being more evidence in favor of Gabrial’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.

  43. HalfShadow says:

    Very well. If knowing where I live will somehow make you feel better about yourself, it’s Canada. The information will do you no good, however, as attempting to insult me based on my country of origin is a non-starter: I don’t make any assumptions that Canadians are any smarter than anyone else; I’ve said as much already.

  44. HalfShadow says:

    By strict definition, no. I haven’t stated one particular country’s people are smarter than another, in fact, the exact opposite is true. I’ve simply stated that America’s were the ‘funniest’. Knowing my country of origin will earn you nothing, as I myself consider a good portion of the people here slope-browed idiots.

  45. metroidprimegmr says:

    This reminds me of something from a Simpsons comic. If I remember correctly, it was something along the lines of, "Everybody is stupid; it’s just that some people are less stupid than others."

    Anyway, get off your high horse; you’re sounding like Jack ‘Troll’son.

  46. Adder says:

    I predict a karmic death for you, one that will earn you a permanent place in the Darwin Awards.

  47. Void Munashii says:

      We’re not all stupid, just those of us who manage to get on TV, and the loudest of us, and the people we elect…. I’m not making a very good case for us here, am I? 

      Really, other than launching invasions based solely on utter bollocks, being stupid is probably about the last thing we’re best at… that and sending jobs to other countries.

    http://mallvillestory.blogspot.com

  48. HalfShadow says:

    Oh well. I don’t want to brag, but yeah; it often makes me smile.

    We are, most of us, better than our kith and kin. We think this often. I simply don’t mind admitting it.

  49. Zerodash can't login ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Thank god smart people like you are alive (an posting on the internet) to look out for us idiots.  It must be nice to know you are smarter than everyone else.

  50. HalfShadow says:

    Simply wait for everyone to die, of course. And laugh my ass off.

    Snacks might be a consideration, as well.

  51. Strªngعr_Dªngعr says:

    "And to be precise, I judge almost everyone as  stupid…"

    But not yourself… of course.    So wise master what would you do to fix the world of its stupidity?

  52. HalfShadow says:

    That’s because I haven’t seen any evidence to the contrary yet. And to be precise, I judge almost everyone as  stupid; Americans just do it the most comically. It’s like watching a kid with Downs syndrome fall down a flight of stairs.

  53. Strªngعr_Dªngعr says:

    and no, being stupid doesn’t hurt.  It may get someone killed in an incredibly painful way.  but thats why its so much fun reading the Darwin Awards.

  54. Anonymous says:

    On May 30, 2008, the Telegraph newspaper ran a misleading story, "SITE red-faced as Islamist ‘Washington ruin’ image turns out to be from Fallout 3 game," which incorrectly and falsely described analysis provided by the SITE Intelligence Group.

    Discussing a computer-generated image of a destroyed Capitol Building in Washington that was posted to a jihadist forum, the Telegraph claimed, without any basis, "The SITE Intelligence Group said that the image, showing a ruined Capitol Building in Washington, was created by extremists as part of discussions about the feasibility of nuclear strikes against the US and Britain."

    This claim is entirely false, as is the characterization that SITE is "embarrassed" or "red-faced."

    SITE rejects the claims by the Telegraph and stands fully behind the accuracy of its information and analysis. SITE at no time maintained that the image "was created by extremists."

    SITE reported to its subscribers that extremists posted the image to a password-protected forum affiliated with al-Qaeda. This is entirely accurate. Moreover, this information was part of a report describing the general atmosphere in this forum with regard to extremists’ discussions on weapons of mass destruction, making its context all the more important. This report in its entirety is also completely accurate.

    The Telegraph is not a subscriber to SITE’s services. Apparently, the newspaper made these erroneous claims without actually reading SITE’s original report, and the basis of their information for their incorrect article is unknown to us.

    The SITE Intelligence Group, a leading provider of intelligence and analysis to governments, organizations, and institutions across the world, has contacted the Telegraph to correct their factually inaccurate and misleading article.

    Figures, leave it to the media to commit a FUBAR like this and not correct it.

  55. shaoron says:

    *facepalm*

    WRYYYYYYY!?

     

    this is worse than someone saying that the Florida Bar biulding will turn into that hiroshima bombing memorial… figuratively speaking of course

  56. Ravenhawk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The state of media these days disgusts me. First step was from "This is what happened" to "Based on some vague information and statistical analysis, here is what could happen!"

    And now we’re at "Based on this picture I found on the intarwebz with no words, I thinkz this happened!"

  57. GryphonOsiris says:

    I guess this ranks right up there with the French official who got ‘secret intelligence’ by way of a chain letter that the flight that crashed out of New York back in the late 90’s was shot down by a US Naval launched Surface-to-Air missile.

     

    Yeah, people need to learn to check their sources before they claim the sky is falling.

  58. GRIZZAM PRIME says:

    Yall know you can set up an account and automatically have your name filled in, right? It will also remove the CAPTCHA.

    -GRIZZAM PRIME(c)is property of the U.S. Marine Corp. Wetworks Dept., and also The Incredible Hulk-GRIZZAM PRIME is not to be associated with GRIZZAM 512 or any other GRIZZAM entity under penalty of law, so sayith ZARATHOS.

  59. Anonymous ( User Karma: -12 ) says:

    tis zippy

    Zippyisim: The terrorists have given the US government everything they need to set democracy back 100 years.

     

    prehaps I should change that to fuax news….

  60. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t hurt to read a forum discussion before banging on the war drums, America.

  61. JustChris says:

    At least they didn’t spend a million dollars investigating the picutre as they did with that CS video of a terrorist player tooting his own horn! Or did they….

  62. Strªngعr_Dªngعr says:

    Wow.  I have to wonder if Aids to these people do this on purpose just to make them look like fools and to show people how out of touch the people in government are.  I can only hope this is correct.

  63. Loudspeaker says:

    Hmmmm…  Cover up of retardedness or bad reporting (by news agencies other than GP since GP was covering the coverage  )?  Not sure.

    -Loudspeaker
    "Volume helps to get a point across but sharp teeth are better."

  64. CyberSkull says:

    There is a reason that something that hurts is called something that "smarts". We don’t get smarted much.

  65. Wag says:

    You will have to explain to me where the true stupidity lies.  My stupid American brain can’t seem to wrap itself around the issue with your statement.  Since you are clearly reading an American website and posting comments in a section that is dominated by Americans, one can only assume that you, yourself, are just as stupid due to the fact that your apparent intellect (which is predetermined to be higher than that of Americans due to your geographic location) is being squandered making inflammatory remarks on an American website instead of being used to further the intellectual superiority of mankind.  Please explain to us, the stupid Americans, what is intelligent about what you have done?  Our simple, stupid, brains can’t take it.

  66. Erik ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hey shadow boy.  Why don’t you tell us your country of residence so the rest of us can have our jollies by ripping into it.  That is if you have the stones to fess up what it is that is.

     

  67. Kincyr says:

    you know, studies have shown that the bigger one’s balls are, the more likely women are to cheat on him

    岩「…Ace beats Jack」

  68. HalfShadow says:

    Mankind can take a flying leap. I would go so far as to say it already has. I’m simply here for amusement’s sake.

  69. JimK says:

    This was a great post until you quoted the nuttiest nutburger in the entire country.

    Quoting Alex Jones is like quoting Jack Thompson on the law.  Don’t do it.  It detracts from your larger point and if you take Jpnes seriously, makes me (and others I am sure) lose respect for your intellect.

     

  70. Anonymous says:

    Department of Homeland Security, always hard at work and the finest defense department there is…

    *FACEPALM*

     

  71. Athest says:

    Makes me glad I don’t watch the news. If I need information i’ll hit the internet. Bit harder to weed through, but at least it’s not complete shit like T.V.

     

    /sigh

  72. Brainswarm says:

    What next?  Will they take a screenshot from Cloverfield and spin it a terrorist threat to unleash a giant monster on New York?

  73. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    Facepalm… Facepalm… Facepalm… Facepalm…  and more Facepalm. Thanks god they didn´t mistaken pictures from Independence Day with an attack to US cities made by a super-weapon created by Al Qaeda…

     

       —————————————————————————- The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/

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