The article begins by comparing the 1999 arrest of PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, in Italy and his release despite extradition requests from Turkey and Germany, and the 1977 arrest of Palestinian terrorist, Abu Daoud, in France and his release despite extradition requests from Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany. The contrast between the massive, worldwide response in 1999 and the more muted, localized response in 1977 is related to James Rosenau's turbulence model of global change. The article then compares two discourses about the possibility that terrorists could use weapons of mass destruction, one in 1999 and one in 1980, using the Aum Shinrikyo case as a referent. The earlier discourse explains why terrorists would not resort to WMD terrorism, except in certain exceptional cases, while the latter discourse suggests that WMD terrorism is inevitable and must be prepared for. The difference is again compared to Rosenau's turbulence model and the claims-making activities by (primarily American) security professionals. It is suggested that the 1999 discourse is not supported by the facts of the Aum case and that it risks imposing a threat assessment and policy prescription onto Europe that is not concordant with European realities.