Steven Emerson on C-SPAN - Washington Journal
The Threat of Homegrown Terrorism
November 25, 2011
Multimedia for this item
Greta Brawner [Host]: We are back with Steven Emerson, the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. The threat of homegrown terrorism. There was a high profile arrest in New York City of an accused lone wolf terrorist suspect; tell us who Jose Pimentel is and what was this all about?
Steven Emerson: He was an Hispanic or Dominican convert to Islam several years ago. He was very interesting because he was very conspicuously making threats on the Internet. He actually had nine radical Islamist terrorist websites registered to him and he made his views known, which is not your typical profile for someone who is about to carry out an act of terrorism, but it actually shows his transition from being rhetorically militant to actually starting to plan a terrorist attack using openly available sources on the web, including Inspire Magazine, the magazine started by Anwar al-Awlaki, or the late Anwar al-Awlaki, which was in English and had an article in the last issue or the issue before on how to make a bomb in your kitchen.
Brawner: So he was inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki's death?
Emerson: Well, you know, I think that there was some influence there. I don't think he was carrying it out as an act of revenge but certainly the spread of Islamic radicalism is sort of the reverse of the old global village phenomenon when we projected our image and our technology overseas. That is coming back now because of the Internet and because of international cable.
Brawner: How was he caught?
Emerson: He was caught because, first of all, he was initially tracked by the technology that tracks websites that mention the word "jihad" or certain key words, technology that was developed after 9/11. There are tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of websites that are dedicated to radical Islam and there's no doubt that groups constantly reconstitute new sites when they know that maybe they have been tracked. He developed nine sites and he had blogs. So those [sites] were being read although I must say there is a constraint on how much law enforcement can do it inside the country versus what they can do outside the country so there needed to be a higher level of a criminal predicate inside the U.S before they could move. There was a confidential informant who obviously was trusted by him because rarely do you see a person doing everything alone from a to z. He needed someone to help him. That CI actually belonged to NYPD, New York Police Department. I shouldn't say "belonged to", was under the jurisdiction of. He was an interesting guy because he was very smart but he also was very, I'd say, dumb insofar as he telegraphed his intentions to kill. So that made it easy to track him.
Brawner: Who made the arrest?
Emerson: NYPD, the New York Police Department. There's some dispute between the Feds and the NYPD over this but, no doubt, I know the feds were involved.
Brawner: Why the dispute?
Emerson: The dispute is often over jurisdiction. There were some reports over how serious it to take it. But I know there's no love lost between the NYPD and the FBI ever since 9/11. The NYPD has sought to replicate their own FBI since they got burned. There's a lot of -- I wouldn't say acrimony - they work together sort of like a husband and wife situation.
Brawner: This in the Wall Street Journal, this story, this headline; New York Police, FBI were reportedly split on the threat posed by this lone wolf terror suspect. The FBI just saw him as, well, he's quoted as being characterized as a stoner.
Emerson: Well, let's just say this, when you say the FBI, it's hard to talk about the FBI in one voice. These institutions have multiple voices. So it depends who they are talking to. I can tell you I spoke to people who did think it was a threat and there are others who didn't. In the same way there was a dispute last anniversary on 9/11 as to whether to make the threat public because some people in the FBI said it wasn't a real threat. If you remember during the anniversary of 9/11 there was a heightened alert about a potential attack. So I think there were differences in the FBI as to what they thought and I think if you spoke to some people on the ground they would have told you differently
Brawner: What is the track record for law-enforcement, FBI, et cetra, for getting lone wolfs before they make an attack?
Emerson: Well, let's define it, lone wolves being a would-be terrorist who is getting externally directed from some foreign group like al Qaeda or Lashkar e-Taiba or Hezbollah, whatever. Somebody who is self radicalized – and he may be influenced by what he sees, obviously influenced by what he sees and views on the Internet and what he hears in mosques, what he reads in books and radical Islamic literature but somebody who is on their own and acting out. The record is pretty good, although not as good as, let's say, someone who is actually going back and forth to Pakistan or being directed from someone in a foreign country. It's easier to track those because there are international phone calls, there is a conspiracy and there are people involved.
Brawner: So the homegrown lone wolf is harder to track.
Emerson: Much harder to track. Look, it's even harder to define sometimes. Major Nidal Hasan the Army, Walter Reed, psychiatrist who ended up killing 13 people at Ft. Hood. There were 18 e-mails between him and Anwar al-Awlaki. 16 of them were to Anwar al-Awlaki asking for his a blessing to carry out an attack against the infidels. Two of them were returned from al-Awlaki sort of perfunctory emails saying "Yes, thank you very much", you know, "God bless you" and that's it. I would have considered him a lone wolf. He succeeded in carrying out a devastating attack that could have been a lot worse. He killed 13 innocent people. And by the way, all the warning signs, on him, were present way before he carried out the attack when he was actually openly displaying his intention or desire to kill infidels at Walter Reed. None of his nine supervisors reported it because they were afraid of being accused of being racist or "Islamophobic".
Brawner: All right, we're talking about the threat of homegrown terrorists the phone numbers will be on your screen. Start dialing now. We'll get your questions and your comments for Steve Emerson. Let's go back to Jose Pimentel that New York, lone wolf, Suspect. Here is a piece with the headline Confidential Informers Play Complex Roll For The FBI. You mentioned that he got help from a confidential informant from the New York Police Department.
Emerson: I wouldn't say he got help. Help would push him over. That's the complexity. If a confidential informant actually suggests and pushes a person over into carrying it [out], then the case is going to fall apart. A confidential informant can be used to collect information, offer assistance if it's asked for and also can only be utilized if there is a previous pattern by the suspect that he is inclined toward carrying out radical acts. So he can't just say, "Oh I think you should go carry out an attack against the U.S. Capitol."
Brawner: Are most of these lone wolf arrests made because there has been some sort of informant involved?
Emerson: I would say that is absolutely true. I can't give you an exact percentage but probably close to 80%. Now look, some attacks have been serendipitously stopped. The Times Square bomber, his bomb didn't go off. The Detroit bomber on Northwest Airlines 2 years ago in December on Christmas day didn't go off because the chemicals didn't detonate. So there has been good luck. There was the cargo bomb that was supposed to go over in to the United States sent from Yemen; didn't go off.
Brawner: Critics of the government say, though, that some of these suspected lone wolf terrorists would not actually commit the act were it not for the voice of the informant involved in this or encouraging them or whatever word you want to use but because there are FBI informants involved with them, they go one step further than they actually would have, and some say they would never have carried out the attacks.
Emerson: You can use that argument against any type of criminal conspiracy that is being charged by the Feds or by local or State authorities. Against Colombian cartels there are informants, against the Mafia there are informants, against the Japanese Yakuza there are informants. So these informants are no different. There are very strict guidelines. The "critics" who make this [accusation] are generally from Islamic "civil-rights" groups, and you can ask me what my definition is of those groups. They are out to stop actual arrests and impede the U.S. law enforcement. And so they claim that the FBI is actually instigating and fomenting and fabricating these plots. There is no evidence [of this] whatsoever. An informant has to be controlled. And if an informant actually goes over the line and starts promoting an act of terrorism, the FBI or the local authorities will drop that case.
Brawner: What has been the role of the Muslim community in helping law enforcement [and] giving them tips to make these arrests?
Emerson: It's a good question you asked. You have to define what the local community is. Unfortunately, and I've been doing this business now for 15 years, I think the Islamic community is largely disenfranchised or misrepresented or misled by the groups that claim to represent them. I could name names. They are 3 and 4 letter names from the Council on American Islamic Relations to the Muslim Public Affairs Council to the Islamic Society of North America. They're part of the Muslim Brotherhood. That's not me talking, those are documents released by the government that reveal that. Having said that, they claim that they assist the government but, in fact, on almost every one of their websites you'll see "do not to talk to the FBI", period, or "do not talk to the FBI unless you have a lawyer present". There is a great suspicion against the FBI, because they don't believe that the convictions of those Islamic terrorists, let's say in the Holy Land case (the Hamas financier case), or the paintball case (people plotting to wage war against the U.S. in northern Virginia) were cases that should have resulted in convictions. There are very few convictions that the Islamic "Community", and I should say these organizations, support. It's very hard to read what the community itself believes because the polling is not that clear. You're not going to get someone to say, "I support terrorism."
Brawner: Right, but some Muslim communities have been helping the police?
Emerson: Absolutely. In Minnesota, there was an effort to help the Federal authorities by Somali Muslims whose children were going over [and] training with Al Shabab. And, in fact, there was a rally, an unprecedented rally, by Somali Americans, by the parents of those kids who actually complaint and protested the role of CAIR and other Islamic groups that they were telling the community not to cooperate with the FBI. And there was a famous poster put out by one of the groups saying, "don't talk to the FBI." So they've demonized the FBI in the eyes of the community. They call informants spies. Look, informants are used in every single possible case, in every ethnic crime case, every type of case whether it is terrorists, whether it's criminal, grand larceny whether it's drug-related. So it's no different. In this particular case they claim the informants, falsely, are involved in fomenting or fabricating acts of terrorism. I'm really afraid to say this but I'll say it anyway. It's those statements that are so incendiary that they actually lead to people carrying out acts of terrorism.
Brawner: Let's get to phone calls. Sheila a Republican in Champaign, Illinois. Go ahead Sheila.
Caller: Yes, good morning, I have an opinion that I do believe that it is all fabricated for the simple fact that I do know some friends that were in the law department in New York and Chicago and a lot of it is lies because homegrown terrorism, to me, is from Americans always taking advantage of other races and people of all colors, in my opinion, and different countries. So when you use the words homegrown terrorism it has been embedded from the beginning of the Europeans coming to America.
Emerson: Let me say this, the origins of the term "homegrown terrorism" actually were initially applied, years ago, decades ago, to right-wing and left-wing indigenous U.S. terrorists. The days of the SDS, the days of the militias when they would carry out acts of terrorism. It's been reapplied and redefined to apply sort of euphemistically to radical Islamic terrorists because there is a political correctness that, unfortunately, has been applied to the use of the term "radical Islam." That term "radical Islamic terrorist" has never been uttered once, actually once, in three years by any top official of the Obama administration. They use the term "violent extremism" and the term CVE is "countering violent extremism". It's the only type of terrorism that prohibits the use of the motivating factor in this case the belief in radical Islam.
Brawner: Here is a tweet from Jan Ness. "Mr. Emerson, is it more likely a terrorist attack would occur on the anniversary of a prior attack or would they pick a random date?"
Emerson: That's a very good question. The materials that were picked up in Osama bin Laden's home, after he was killed, showed that they were preoccupied, almost obsessed, with carrying out an attack on the anniversary of 9/11. So anniversaries do count, but so do iconic buildings count more for organized terrorist groups as opposed to lone wolves. I don't even like to use the term "lone wolf," because it doesn't tell you who they are. It's sort of like talking about violent extremists. Are we talking about environmental terrorists? It's violent radical Islamist extremists or Islamic extremists. I've always had an argument [against this] and this was started under the bush administration, under Michael Chertoff, when they decided to stop using the term "radical Islam" for fear of "stereotyping all Muslims". Well it's no more stereotyping all Muslims than using the words Christian terrorists or Catholic terrorists or Protestant terrorists or Jewish terrorists. They all exist and we have no problem using it except when it comes to the word Muslim.
Brawner: Let's go next to Leonard, Democratic caller in Muskegon, Michigan. Go Ahead.
Caller: Yes. My question is recently there was a program on CNN news that stated that there had been in Mississippi a murder down there, a lynching of sorts, by a group of Caucasian individuals. There were six, I believe, involved and only one was prosecuted. Could you speak to that?
Emerson: I apologize that I am not aware of that. And I apologize because I would like to be aware of it and I will check that out. But certainly if race was involved, as the motivating factor, that would be a hate crime. And, by the way, just because I focus on radical Islamic terrorism it doesn't mean there aren't other forms of religious terrorism. I fully grant that there are other forms of terrorism period. But because there is a paucity of people who actually investigate radical Islam in the United States today as NGO's, (Non Governmental Organizations), that is why I specialize in it. So in this case, the Department of Justice or FBI just released hate crime statistics and it showed for the past year that 65% of all hate crimes were being committed against Jews while only 13%, I shouldn't say only, but 13% had been committed against Muslims. However, if you look at the number of articles and press releases issued by both communities you would see almost 10 times more stories about hate crimes against Muslims because the groups that control or dominate the leadership of the Muslim community thrive on the notion of being victims. That's the way they legitimize themselves on the issue of hate crimes. CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, was described by the FBI as a front for Hamas yet it calls itself, and NPR calls it as well, a civil rights group. Well that would be no different than calling David Duke a civil rights leader.
Brawner: Let's go back to Jose Pimentel the New York City bomb plot suspect. He appears in court today. He faces a number of charges including criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree as a crime of terrorism and he is being held currently at the Manhattan detention center without bail. What happens when they go to court on the first day?
Emerson: Well, his defense attorneys are going to try to get bail. He is being held in a detention center. They may set bail at $1 million which he is only required to come up with 10%. On the other hand the judge may say you're being held over because of the seriousness of the crime and fear of flight risk. That's one case. The other disposition in the court will be an attempt to dismiss the charges; an immediate attempt for summary judgment on the basis, let's say, that some people may claim that there wasn't a conspiracy because it was only him and a CI (a confidential informant). You know there is always that trick, I shouldn't say trick, that issue in tracking a terrorist arrest as to when you actually arrest the person. You obviously don't want the person to carry out the attack. You have the proof, you can prove it then. At that point it's sort of a pyrrhic victory. So you want to get them just to the point where they are about to carry it out and you have the evidence. You have to have usually a tape-recording, a video, audio, or a C.I. that will testify to the effect. I know there are recordings in this case (invariably all C.I.' S are mic'd) that show "yes, I intend to carry out assassinations and bombings". And, moreover, he wrote that in his blogs. Which, from an operational security point of view, you hardly find those individual Islamic terrorist or any terrorist, for that matter, stating in their blog openly on the web that they intend to carry out an act of terror.
Brawner: How do outside groups radicalize Americans?
Emerson: Well, we live in a global village and it's not only outside groups. There are hundreds of Americans in Yemen, for example, that have been studying under Anwar al-Awlaki and I can assure you that they were not studying the game of chess. They were being radicalized. In fact several came back here who had been radicalized to carry out acts of terrorism. The radicalization that goes on stems from either the group itself, like Mohammad Atta who was the leader of the 9/11 hijackings who was a secular graduate student living in Munich. He was brought into a mosque, became religious and [was] then taught that he needed to fight the jihad in Chechnya, Bosnia and Afghanistan and after Afghanistan against the U.S. So there is a constant mantra that is being repeated and in radical Islamic literature, and also Muslim Brotherhood literature which dominates the religious institutions and political institutions in the Muslim world and in the western world which say there is a war against Islam. That notion that there's a war against Islam is the number one common denominator in inducing Islamic terrorism all over the world bar none.
Brawner: And use of the Internet?
Emerson: The use of the Internet is a great way to spread the message. I mean there are so many cases where the Internet has been used where you download videos, you download copies of Inspire Magazine or you watch radical Islamic television and you can do that today. There are so many cases where the Internet is being used to help radicalize. It used to be only the mosque years ago before the Internet became so widespread and before there was a crackdown and there would be radical Muslim leaders [speaking there]. We collect tapes of radical imams in the United States and I can tell you that they are much more careful now in what they say openly because they know they might be listened to. But they still distribute, look just 2 blocks from here, from Capitol Hill, there is a bookstore that still sells audio and videotapes of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki. It is not necessarily a radical bookstore but to the extent that you would see a bookstore selling books by David Duke or Adolf Hitler you would call it a radical bookstore. This is a normal bookstore and, frankly, the availability of that material, the widespread availability in the U.S., really makes it a lot easier for anyone to pick it up, read it and become suddenly imbued with this hatred of the United States to the point where they might carry out violence.
Brawner: Senator Joseph Lieberman, the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, wants Google to crack down on jihadist web sites.
Emerson: Well, there is a free-speech issue there. Interestingly enough, and I must tell you I am not a lawyer although sometimes I try to play one on TV without great success, inside the United States there are more protections for, let's say, websites then there are outside of the United States. In fact CENTCOM, Central command down in Tampa, created this new digicommand which is designed to respond to all of the conspiracy theories and all of the paranoia that is disseminated against the U.S. that mobilizes radical Muslims. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars doing this to respond quickly to any website in Arabic, Urdu, Persian, whatever. At the same time the very same Pentagon invites to their Iftar dinner, and invites as guests of the Pentagon, the very same groups in the United States that spread the same paranoia, the same notion that there is a war against Islam and you should not cooperate with the FBI. So on the one had we're trying to fight it and the other hand internally they're actually enabling the enablers.
Brawner: Well, this is an email from one of our viewers. "Perhaps you can tell us what Anwar al-Awlaki was doing at the Pentagon meeting with military brass and government officials?"
Emerson: That is a good question. I think we're going to find out pretty soon.
Brawner: Why do you say we will find out soon?
Emerson: There are numerous inquiries that have been put in by Congress and I understand there is going to be some type of response forthcoming from the Pentagon and from the CIA. Look, the fact is Anwar al-Awlaki, according to our investigation - when I say "our" I mean the Investigative Project on Terrorism which is a non-profit group investigating radical Islamic leaders and organizations - found that as early as 1999 he was delivering radical speeches or sermons in San Diego (he was born in New Mexico). He continued to deliver them to the point that he became the imam of Dar-al-Hijra mosque right here in northern Virginia, where two of the hijackers followed him. There was always suspicion that he was connected to the 9/11 hijacking but never convicted of it. At the same time, he gave speeches externally proclaiming his belief in peace and moderation. I am coming out with a new documentary in several months called The Grand Deception. It is about the deception perpetrated by radical Islamists into deceiving the public, the media, Hollywood, Congress law enforcement, Hollywood, into thinking they are moderate, when in fact, behind closed doors they are much more radical, militant and actually terrorist-oriented.
Brawner: Frank is next. He's an independent in Largo, Florida.
Caller: Good morning. Mr. Emerson, since you were last on C-Span some things have happened. It has come out that the State Department wanted to revoke the visa of the underwear bomber Umar Farouk but certain unnamed intelligence agencies said no, this is part of a larger investigation, let him go through. And we know that because Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy said so in congressional testimony. We also see that his supposed handler, Anwar al-Awlaki, the CIA lackey, was killed by a predator drown in Yemen by order of the President, no judge, no jury, and his 16-year-old son was slain along with him. So my question to you is this sir. How long do you think it will be before a predator drone or a federal agent directly kills an American citizen because the President thought he probably might be a terrorist?
Emerson: You raise some interesting issues although I am not familiar with your allegations. I do not believe Anwar al-Awlaki was a CIA plant although it is definitely true that the U.S. government tried to recruit him in 2002, I believe October of 2002, when he came in from Yemen and they tried to flip him to be a witness against another indicted terrorist. He refused, however. I don't believe al-Awlaki himself ever became a CIA asset. As far as a drone assassinating a U.S. citizen; this was an issue that the Justice Department wrestled with whether, in fact, it was legal to do that and they came back with a decision that it was because he was a terrorist who was basically controlling terrorists [who were] attacking and killing American citizens around the world. I don't think they took that decision lightly. I don't think you are going to see any American killed by a drone in the United States but if, let's say, another al-Awlaki emerges who has U.S. citizenship and then has a sanctuary in Yemen, which is an uncontrolled territory, and starts sending terrorists into the United States to carry out acts of terrorism, I guarantee you that almost any president, left or right, is going to take the legal prerogative of trying to eliminate him. And I think at that point you have to understand that that person is outside of the United States, they have renounced citizenship, and therefore they are not eligible for the same constitutional rights as you would be and I would be in the U.S.
Brawner: Costa Mesa, California. James, a Republican.
Caller: Hi, not only that, I am running for United States Senator my name is James Proctor. There is no bigger threat right now than Barack Hussein Obama. Now let me tell you why. On February first, I gave a speech and in the speech I said that he had broken the law. And in this he brought Secret Service agents to my home after I had declared I was running for United States senator. There is no bigger threat than Barack Obama.
Brawner: All right James. Chris, a Democrat, in Boston, Massachusetts. Go ahead, Chris.
Caller: I would like to remind viewers out there that this self-proclaimed expert on terrorism told us the Oklahoma City bombing was the work of radical Islamists. The only thing we need to know about Steve Emerson is that he is a promoter of Israeli interests and I think that alone should disqualify him from being on your program.
Brawner: Let's get a response, Steve?
Emerson: Actually I've got three heads and six legs, and I control the world. That was the allegation made by a recent Democratic Party think-tank alleging that I and nine other individuals created the entire climate of fear in the last decade against Muslims simply because we hated them. Now let me tell you this. The only reason there is a disproportionate suspicion against Muslims, innocent Muslims, disproportionate to the effect that there is more wariness about Islam than about Judaism or Christianity is because nearly 65% to 70% of all international casualties are carried out by radical Islamic terrorists. That's number one. Now, as far as trying to discredit me, you can try to discredit me as much as you want. My track record stands pretty good. As far as Oklahoma is concerned, just for the record, all I was repeating was what law enforcement said and was believing at the same moment within minutes after the bombing because we had experienced a similar bombing just two years before in New York City. And when it was found out that it was a white, militant, member of a radical group, actually it was a lone wolf himself, I immediately said that feds had gotten the right guy, Timothy McVeigh. This is something that the radical Islamic groups, now for 25 years, have been using against me. I dare say that my record, if you look at my documentary in 1994, you will see that every single one of the terrorists that I identified, every one of them, in 1994 were ultimately convicted, deported, prosecuted, or in other ways punished by the U.S. Government as an Islamic terrorist. Even though at the time I made the film, everybody said, including the very groups you are citing, implicitly citing, were saying "there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism."
Brawner: Here is a tweet from T.J. "I think the Fourth Amendment rights of the citizens are being violated by local police under the disguise of homeland security."
Emerson: Well, there have been allegations to that effect. I think you need to be more specific. Certainly, I am not against free speech, which is "hate speech." I think it's everyone's right to say "I hate America," or "Death to the Christians," or "Death to Americans," or "Death to Jews." In fact, that's said many times, we have on tape, tens of thousands of times around the world every year. In the United States it's said hundreds, if not thousands, of times. We have rallies on tape [from] earlier this year where they were saying "Death to Israel" and "Death to America" in New York City. That is protected speech. Also your home is protected unless, of course, there is a criminal predicate. That's the key word. And in many cases if there is knowledge that a home, an office, an individual or a building is housing terrorist material that could harm the United States in a conspiracy to actually carry out an attack; that office, building, or individual, is subject to a search that has to be approved by a judge who is independent from the actual agency carrying out the search.
Brawner: John, a Republican in Sebring, Florida.
Caller: Good morning. Any other country would not allow millions and millions of illegal aliens and all of these people from all of these other foreign countries to come into this country. There were news reports that said there were 66,000 terrorists coming across the Mexican border every year. They're not doing anything about it.
Brawner: Let's take that point. Is that statistic true?
Emerson: I don't know that 66,000 figure. Honestly, I don't think anyone really knows the number of illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico. I think there is a national security problem with illegals coming into the United States because within that bunch of illegals coming in you are going to have a smaller percentage of people who threaten national security. You know there is another euphemism that I just learned about 4 years ago. It's called OTM. I didn't know what that meant. I originally said "OTM, what is that?" I thought they meant ATM but OTM means other than Mexican and it's a euphemism used to describe, by DHS and other agencies, middle easterners that come in illegally. They have found dozens of people coming in from Mexico that have come from Hezbollah, Hamas [and] from al Qaeda over the last few years, and it's very dangerous because once they get into the United States, you can disappear [to] anyplace you want.
Brawner: This is a tweet from one of our viewers. I think he meant Guantanamo. "The existence of Guantanamo has been considered a prime recruiting tool for terrorists yet we refuse to allow it to be closed. Why?"
Emerson: I would disagree with the premise. First of all, when you say it is a recruiting tool, Guantanamo Bay did not exist before 9/11. So if it's a recruiting tool how else do you explain the 9/11 attacks, or the 1998 bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, or the bombing of Khobar Towers or the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center? You can't explain it away because there was is Guantanamo Bay or there was torture, or anything like that. I think you have the chicken and egg problem here mixed up. Number two, Guantanamo bay was established because of the fact that you had a new status of combatants. They were illegal combatants. They weren't fighting for a nation. They weren't sovereign armies. They weren't subject to the Geneva accords actually. They were a new class of combatants that we had never experienced before, and we needed to establish a base where they could be held but not apply actual civil rights as you would be entitled to if you were in the United States. So Guantanamo bay was built to house them. I have been down to Guantanamo Bay, and I can tell you this much. In the years since it was built, it has become maybe a three or four-star palace. I'm being facetious here, of course, but they're treated humanely. There are full caloric meals designed not to allow anyone to lose weight. Their rights may have been violated to the extent that if you were in an American citizen, and put in that camp, your rights might be violated, but if you carried out an act of terrorism, and this was documented by intelligence or by other evidence, therefore you would be allowed to be put in that camp as some Americans were.
Brawner: Let's go next to James, a democratic caller in McMinnville, Tennessee. James.
Caller: Thank you. In the last few days we have noticed that Rupert Murdoch has resigned from the newspaper.
Brawner: His son has resigned.
Caller: Yes. They have been accused of phone hacking and the Fox networks and Wall Street over here they own it too. Anyone who believes they're not doing damage to our country and it leads to...
Brawner: All right James, I think we are off topic. Let's go to Bishop next. He's an independent in Detroit. Go Ahead. Bishop you're on the air.
Caller: Please give me patience because I know he's going to have his time to redirect and to refute, so please give me a chance to finish my idea. The reason I would like that is because I have seen you identify things like denial, like minimization, justification and rationalization, also, I see that the government doesn't address the part that it plays in whatever cause and effect is going on in the world. We have bases all over the place. We have people in America who have been killed by the FBI. One in Detroit here. Imam Luqman, who the FBI was in his Masjid for two years and couldn't find anything on him.
Brawner: Ok, we got your point and we do have to run so let me get a response from Steve Emerson.
Emerson: Real quickly, the incident you are referring to Imam Luqman who was shot by police, by the feds, by FBI and the police. He was resisting arrest. He, actually, had brandished a weapon. He shot a police dog. He would not come out when he was given full opportunity, for days, to come out and he didn't. He violently resisted arrest. He was a threat to the safety and lives of police officers, and he was shot. Yes, anyone who is shot, it is a sad thing, but to claim that he was innocently shot somehow because he was targeted for assassination is simply baloney.
Brawner: before we go, real quickly, the impact of Osama bin Laden's death on al Qaeda recruitment?
Emerson: You know what? His legacy goes on. The Internet makes it impossible for anyone to disappear forever. The Internet now makes you live forever. It gives you a guaranteed perpetuity in life. You can now live for a thousand years because of the Internet.
Brawner: All right, Steven Emerson, thank you for being here and talking to our viewers. We appreciate your time.
Emerson: You're welcome.
Reader comments on this item
Steven Emerson on C-Span
Submitted by Steve, Jan 18, 2012 11:00
I've read American Jihad and Jihad Incorporated so many times that the pages are starting to fall out of the books. I can't wait for the next book. Mr Emerson is a genius when it comes to radical Islam and its threat to America, as well the world, and whenever he is interviewed on TV I watch and listen and am blown away by his knowledge. His investigative crew should get an award for their very difficult and dangerous work in keeping us aware of our enemies.
If Mr Emerson should ever run for president, he would certainly have my vote.