Only Eight Attacks on Donald Trump's Terror List Implicate Countries Restricted by the Travel Ban

Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, DC,on February 8, 2017. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

Only eight of the attacks appearing on the White House's list of "underreported" terrorist incidents involved people from the seven Muslim-majority countries subject to U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban.

The White House circulated the list to journalists on Monday, claiming that the Western media had "underreported" 78 violent incidents, such as the Charlie Hebdo attacks and Paris attacks. But a review of the list by ABC News shows that only 10.2 percent of the attacks on the list involved citizens from those countries.

The White House released the list after temporarily banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries—Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Yemen—citing reasons of national security.

Trump, after signing the controversial executive order, alleged that "bad" people would come into U.S. borders from those countries if the ban was not implemented. A federal judge last week placed a temporary restraining order on Trump's directive.

The president said on Monday that the press is "very dishonest" and had chosen not to report thoroughly on attacks that were mostly linked to radical Islamists, omitting far-right white nationalist attacks, such as the mosque attack in the Canadian city of Quebec last month in which a gunman killed six Muslims.

"It's gotten to a point where it's not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that," he said.

Read more: Trump's claims about media coverage of terror attacks are bogus

But security experts have pointed out that no citizens from those countries had committed an attack on U.S. soil since at least 9/11—and none of the hijackers that day came from the banned countries.

Analysts and journalists have discredited the terror attack list as an attempt by Trump to "bash" the media and possibly divert attention from his policies after his first two weeks as president.

"It's not clear to me that he this was something he thought a great deal about before he said it, or much at all," says Benjamin Friedman, a research fellow in security studies at the Washington D.C.-based Cato Institute. "It's likely that he said it offhand and now the White House is scrambling around trying to justify what he said."

Friedman continued: "This being the Trump White House, they are not going to give you some sort of standard about what the right reporting is. It seems it is maybe designed to cause a conversation about 78 terrorist attacks rather than the president's typically absurd comments."