Judge Jeanine Pirro: And with me now, the founder of The Investigative Project, Steve Emerson. Alright Steve, ISIS has Americans worried. How justified are those fears?
Steve Emerson: Very justified. Look, Judge, the problem here is that it's not just a regional issue. ISIS definitely is a threat in the region in the Middle East, it's a threat to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, to Jordan, it's a threat to Israel, they've made statements now they're going to attack Israel, but they're also a threat to the United States. There are nearly 300 to 400 American volunteers with U.S. passports now fighting for ISIS. They can return to the United States anytime they want. The FBI has been handcuffed in terms of investigating religious extremists in mosques, as a result of guidelines put out by the attorney general earlier this year. And so therefore, there is… a definite problem now in investigating those militants in the United States who are either recruiting for ISIS or have returned from Syria or Iraq having fought for ISIS, and are ready to carry out freelance or directed terrorist attacks on behalf of ISIS against the United States. That's the first problem that we're facing that's not being met or being handled properly because of the constraints put on law enforcement by this administration.
Pirro: Tell me, Steve; tell the audience exactly what you mean by the restraints being put on the FBI by the Department of Justice.
Emerson: The FBI [has been constrained by] the Department of Justice [which] put out guidelines that restricted the FBI and other law enforcement agencies from using religious factors in identifying threats, national security threats to the United States in the homeland. That is so if someone was a religious extremist, though they didn't plot to carry out an attack, that [indicator] could not be factored into an investigation, into an intelligence investigation, into identifying them as a potential threat to the United States. Therefore, they [law enforcement] would have to wait until they actually plotted to carry out an attack. Well that's too late. And unfortunately, what we're seeing right now is the fact is that we've seen massive numbers, increasing numbers of volunteers going over not just from Europe, from Asia and Africa, but we're seeing ISIS recruiting biophysicists, engineers, social media types, people who have expertise in really carrying out sophisticated terrorist attacks coming back to the United States. And look, if you remember 20-, I got an email from an FBI agent just yesterday, he said, 'Steve, nobody remembers what happened in the 1980s when all the jihadists were recruited, went over to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, then came back, and then what happened?' In February, 1993 they plotted, they almost took down the World Trade Center bombing, [the World] Trade Center at that time; they didn't, they failed, they [Al Qaeda] returned again in 2001. So the reality is, Judge, that with the handcuffs put on by this administration, there's a disconnect between what we're not doing against ISIS, [which is that] we should be decimating them. The president said it may take one, two, three years; we don't have that kind of time to wait. Within three years –
Pirro: Steve, you know what's amazing to me, I mean it's just like the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston bombers, I mean you get, they're telling us not once, but twice, these guys are terrorists. We're letting them go in and out of the country, I mean and you know not calling the Fort Hood shooter a terrorist, but instead it's workplace violence. Steve Emerson, really fast, these recruiters where are they going to get these potential jihadists, American jihadists?
Emerson: Well they're going-- I mean there's one recruiter that [had been]... picked up [in the past], well identified, in Bloomington, Minnesota at the Al Farooq Mosque. There are recruiters going around the country in other mosques, where they identify potential volunteers. They test them out to see if they're willing to die on behalf of martyrdom of the cause for Allah. Then they give them cash, they provide money for their families in case they die. They give them tickets to go to Turkey. Turkey has allowed them, hundreds, to go through to Syria, then to Iraq. And we [the U.S.] count Turkey as one of our top allies. We haven't put [many of] them on the terrorism watch list, which we should. So there's a major disconnect, Judge, here between what we should be doing to protect the homeland and protect American citizens versus what the president is doing, in not stopping ISIS on the ground in Iraq, versus what he's not doing here in the homeland itself.
Pirro: Alright, Steve Emerson, always good to hear your take on things. Thanks so much for being with us.