Posts Tagged ‘IPT’

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Steven Emerson: Combating Radical Islam

January 13, 2010

Steven Emerson: Combating Radical Islam
Defeating Jihadist Terrorism

by George Michael
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2010, pp. 15-25

http://www.meforum.org/2578/steven-emerson-combating-radical-islam

On Christmas afternoon in 1992, Steven Emerson, then a staff reporter for CNN, noticed a large group of men in traditional Arab clothes congregating outside the Oklahoma City Convention Center. At first, he thought they were extras for a movie—until he remembered the date. So, he explored a bit; inside, he discovered a conference sponsored by the Muslim Arab Youth Association. The vitriol of the speakers, replete with hateful rhetoric against Jews, Israel, and America mixed with exhortations of violence toward these enemies, alarmed him. Spontaneous shouts of “Kill the Jews” and “Destroy the West” came from the audience throughout the event.[1]

Steven Emerson has emerged as a powerful independent force, working with U.S. security services while also carrying out investigations on his own in areas beyond their reach.

Worried by what he had witnessed, Emerson notified a contact in the FBI, only to be told that the agency knew nothing about the conference and also lacked a mandate to investigate it because no criminal activity had occurred or was imminent.[2] This experience indelibly impressed him, leaving a sense of government weakness and suggesting the need for a private agency to explore the threat of radical Islam within the United States.

On graduation from Brown University, Emerson (b. 1954) went to work as an analyst on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He served as an international investigator and helped shape the aid package to Israel and Egypt following the Camp David accords in 1978. He honed his skills while working for the committee until 1982, during which time he developed an abiding interest in Middle Eastern affairs.

In 1986, he joined U.S. News & World Report where he worked as a national security correspondent. During this time, he authored two books: Secret Warriors: Inside the Covert Military Operations of the Reagan Era[3] and The Fall of Pan Am 103: Inside the Lockerbie Investigation.[4] In Secret Warriors, Emerson argued that technical breakdowns, bureaucratic disarray, presidential interference, and professional jealousy contributed to the inertia of America’s elite forces.[5] This perception may have played a large role in convincing him that government alone is inadequate to the challenges of modern terrorism. In The Fall of Pan Am 103, he promoted the theory—then held by the U.S. government—that Iran was responsible for the bombing of the flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.

Since that early experience in Oklahoma, Emerson has emerged as a powerful independent force who works with U.S. security services but carries out investigations on his own in areas beyond their reach. He does not take any funds from the government. In 1995, he established his own think tank, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), which has since conducted investigations into many Islamist and terrorist groups and individuals. The IPT has stirred up more hornets’ nests than many government agencies. Its acute focus has allowed it to hone in on targets that broader agencies missed. Emerson’s initiative has paid off handsomely.

New Nongovernmental Agencies Emerge

The Islamist campaign to implement Shari’a law presents a grave challenge to the United States and all Western countries. And while a security apparatus has arisen to defend against these threats, several nongovernmental bodies have emerged as critical adjuncts in the effort to identify those who work within the law to change the Western way of life.

Compared to Western Europe, the United States has an unusual approach to domestic political extremism. Since 1976, the FBI has officially conducted surveillance of extremist and potentially violent groups under the attorney general’s guidelines, established after revelations of misconduct and abuses arising from the COINTELPRO initiative, a secret program through which the FBI disrupted both far-left and far-right groups.[6] However, the extremely well-coordinated attacks of 9/11 exposed gaping holes in the area of human intelligence and impelled the government to reexamine and recalibrate this policy.[7]

In response, the FBI relaxed its guidelines for investigations of religious extremists, and the federal government now allows information to be shared between intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Moreover, to augment their investigatory functions, the authorities increasingly rely on recently created, private monitoring groups, including JihadWatch.com and the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).[8] Their efforts are complemented by think tanks such as the Middle East Forum and publications such as the Middle East Review of International Affairs.

Operating in a decentralized fashion, private entities can be more flexible and effective than government agencies in providing time-sensitive and actionable intelligence resources. For example, MEMRI releases high-quality, up-to-date information and translations about radical organizations, frequently before such intelligence is processed by government.[9]

Emerson’s IPT has established itself as the most effective nongovernmental organization (NGO) monitoring Islamic radicalism. It is the only private entity in the United States that conducts undercover research into the activities of Islamist groups. To preserve its independence, IPT accepts no funds from the U.S. government or donors outside the United States.

Emerson’s IPT focuses primarily on U.S.-based Islamist groups, some working in legal ways to undermine American society, others with links to terrorist organizations overseas. Along the way, he has created an unparalleled undercover investigative apparatus. According to Rep. Sue Myrick (Republican of North Carolina), cofounder of the bipartisan Congressional Anti-Terrorism Caucus, “The Investigative Project is the only one out there who is really doing substantial research into what is going on in the world and here in America. They are actually researching … they are verifying how these [jihadist] movements are taking place. … I don’t know of anyone else who is doing the same thing.”[10]

Emerson has returned the compliment: “Congressmen like Frank Wolf, Pete Hoekstra, and Sue Myrick have shown a backbone that is unparalleled in Congress in courageously tackling the Muslim Brotherhood, CAIR [Council on American Islamic Relations], and other Islamist groups, and radical Islamic groups. So it shows there are brave Congressmen as well.”[11] Like Emerson, Myrick focuses less on outright terrorism than the infiltration of American institutions by Islamists.[12] Alliances like this lend strength to Emerson’s own efforts. The task of exposing and combating Islamist organizations and individuals takes place in a highly political context and requires high-level lobbying and juristic skills.

Exposing Islamists in America

Emerson undertook effective investigations on his own before he started the IPT. Most notable was his 1994 documentary Jihad in America, which raised awareness of the threat of radical Islam in the United States. The film focused on a Palestinian, Abdullah Azzam, who founded the Arab Fighters Service Bureau in Afghanistan to recruit and train thousands of mostly Arab jihadists. Osama bin Laden, a protégé of Azzam’s, cofounded the bureau and later transformed it into Al-Qaeda. The bureau’s North American office, the Al-Khifa Refugee Center in the Al-Farooq Mosque in Brooklyn, soon became the hub of a network that included outposts in Atlanta, Chicago, Connecticut, and New Jersey.[13] Interestingly, while in Pakistan and Afghanistan for several months in 1993, shooting the documentary, Emerson befriended Azzam’s son Hodeyfa.

After Azzam’s assassination in Pakistan in 1989,[14] the blind Egyptian sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, emerged as the spiritual leader of the international jihadist wing of the bureau. In 1990, Abdel Rahman, who had been expelled from Egypt, was allowed to emigrate from Afghanistan to the United States despite having been named on the State Department’s terrorist watch list; he settled in the New York city area. Soon, a circle of Islamists congregated at his Al-Salaam Mosque in Jersey City. In 1990, one of his followers, Egyptian-born El Sayyid Nosair, assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane, the Israeli politician and founder of the Jewish Defense League.[15] A few years later, other Abdel Rahman followers linked up with Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six persons and wounded 1,042 others.[16] Emerson’s work in uncovering and exposing this network complemented the efforts of official agencies operating under greater constraints.

The Charity Networks

Since August 1994, Emerson has testified before or informally briefed the United States Congress hundreds of times.[17] His efforts appear to have had an influence on lawmakers. The videotape of his first documentary, Jihad in America, was distributed to all 535 members of Congress and, according to Rep. Chris Smith (Republican of New Jersey), it played a significant role in persuading them to pass the USA Patriot Act in the fall of 2001.[18] In 2002, he published a book entitled American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us,[19] in which he traced the development of radical Islam in the United States. He also testified before the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission) in July 2003.[20]

In later testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on November 8, 2005, he charged that Saudi Arabia had funded a vast network of charities and religious organizations that had ties to terrorist groups, including Al-Qaeda and Hamas.[21] This testimony prompted Treasury and National Security Council investigations into the labyrinth of radical Islamic charities operating in the United States. According to federal officials, these investigations led to an effort within the agencies to shut down some of the charities but nothing was done; the Clinton administration lacked the political will to close down the charities. Only after the 9-11 attacks did that will emerge and efforts to shut down the charitable fronts succeed.[22]

Emerson has focused primarily on the fundraising activities of mainstream Muslim groups and their links to the more radical organizations for which they serve as fronts. As he has observed, one of the most important activities carried out by Islamist groups in the United States has been the establishment of nonprofit, tax-deductible organizations to establish zones of legitimacy within which fundraising, recruitment, and even terrorist planning can occur.[23] Using a technique first developed in the Middle East, these groups often provide American Muslims with much-needed social services such as education, nutrition, and health care so as to win over and manipulate them.[24] This activity is usually justified by reference to the religious duty of paying zakat (the Islamic alms tax).[25] This practice creates substantial good will and much social capital for those Islamist groups who choose to employ it as a cover for collecting monies destined for jihadist groups.

According to one CIA study, one-fifth of all Islamic NGOs worldwide have been unwittingly infiltrated by Islamist terrorist groups.[26] As Emerson has pointed out, some of the religious and charitable organizations have mixed legitimate activities with illegitimate, thus betraying the true aims of the donations.[27] Investigators who seek to reveal this duplicity run a serious risk of being condemned as bigots who find wrongdoing in a meritorious religious activity that has close parallels to Jewish and Christian charities.

Hamas and Hezbollah Networks

Overall, the IPT, with its access to information and intelligence to which the government is not privy, has been instrumental in shutting down more than a dozen Islamic charitable terrorist and nonviolent front-groups since 2001.[28]

Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, offers one notable example of an organization involved in both terrorism and social services. According to Emerson, Hamas developed the most sophisticated infrastructure of all the Islamist groups operating in the United States.[29] During the early 1990s, the group worked out of an office in Springfield, Virginia, opened by Musa Abu Marzouk. In 1981, Abu Marzouk helped create the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), which served as the primary voice for Hamas in the United States. IAP participants were later among the founding members of CAIR.[30] IAP’s primary activity consisted of annual conferences, which hosted various Islamist luminaries who often gave incendiary speeches.[31]

In 1980, Abu Marzouk became founding president of the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR), which some sources indicate acted as the Hamas political command in the United States.[32] He went on to found additional groups in the United States, all of them closely associated with Hamas. For example, UASR and IAP were joined by the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), which Abu Marzouk himself designated as the primary source of donations for charitable work in the Palestinian territories.[33] In 2001, Abu Marzouk voluntarily shut down his office after its director, Ahmed Yousef, was forced to flee the United States where he had resided illegally for twenty years. Yousef now serves as a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza.[34] Abu Marzouk also returned to Gaza where he is now the deputy chairman of Hamas’s political bureau, but in 2004 he was indicted in his absence for coordinating and financing the work of Hamas.[35]

The FBI suspects that Hamas may also have established for-profit corporations in the United States. On September 5, 2001, it executed a search warrant against the InfoCom Corporation, an Internet service provider based in Richardson, Texas, suspected of ties to Hamas.[36] The authorities indicted its officials and subsequently convicted them of channeling funds to the Palestinian group.[37] Law enforcement officials commented on background that Emerson’s organization, with vast archives on the activities of Hamas front groups in the United States, had an instrumental role in prosecuting and convicting the Holy Land Foundation, a trial that resulted in sweeping convictions for all defendants in 2008.[38]

And the beat goes on: In 2007, the IPT broadcast video tapes on its website showing Esam Omeish railing against Israel and advocating jihad. As a result, Omeish was forced to resign from his appointment by Virginian governor Tim Kaine to the state’s Commission on Immigration.[39] In 2009, the IPT exposed the links between Viva Palestina USA and Hamas. Its report on the group laid bare its membership, activities, and motives and was provided to federal authorities for further investigation.[40]

Sami al-Arian and Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Emerson was the first investigator to link a former professor at the University of South Florida, Sami al-Arian, to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), an organization designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department.[41] He exposed Arian’s ties to the Islamic Jihad in his 1994 documentary Jihad in America and continued to write and testify about Arian’s links to the group throughout the rest of the decade. Arian has helped create several Islamist associations. One of these, the Islamic Concern Project (later called the Islamic Committee for Palestine), allegedly raised money for Palestinian Islamic Jihad and brought Islamist leaders to the United States.[42] In Jihad in America, Emerson called the Islamic Committee for Palestine the “primary support group in the United States for Islamic Jihad.”

Emerson revealed that Arian was running an organization that was in effect the American branch of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.[43] In February 2003, federal law enforcement agents arrested Arian for alleged fundraising and material support activities on behalf of terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.[44] In December 2005, Arian was acquitted of many serious charges against him, but the jury deadlocked on nine counts. He pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to provide services to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and agreed to be deported after serving the balance of a 57-month sentence.

According to Bill West, the supervisory special agent of the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Miami Special Investigations Section (and now a consultant to the IPT), Emerson’s “outstanding and continued original investigative journalism” of Arian and his PIJ connections “was the catalyst that resulted in the launching of the federal criminal investigation against Al-Arian and his cohorts.”[45]

CAIR, MPAC, and AMC

Emerson’s detailed investigations into CAIR have generated consequences for this Islamist group in Congress. For example, in December 2006, following an appeal by “CAIR Watch” founder Joe Kaufman, Sen. Barbara Boxer (Democrat of California) rescinded an award to CAIR official Basim Elkarra, stating that she was uncomfortable with many of CAIR’s positions.[46] Not long after, Emerson disclosed Rep. Bill Pascrell’s (Democrat of New Jersey) role in sponsoring a CAIR forum to be held in a Capitol facility. The Republican Party House Conference objected to this use by CAIR, whose members the Republican Party had labeled as “terror apologists.”[47] It was also Emerson who discerned that CAIR had effectively been founded by Hamas.[48]

He has long sought to expose CAIR’s leading officials who have previously expressed extremist views and been linked to militant activities. One of these is Ghassan Elashi, founder of the Texas branch of CAIR, who has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for numerous offences, including money-laundering for Hamas.[49] In 2007, CAIR was designated an un-indicted co-conspirator in the trial of the officials operating the Holy Land Foundation, who were accused and later convicted of laundering money for Hamas.[50] In the trial, FBI agent Lara Burns testified that CAIR serves as a front for Hamas. In January 2009, Emerson revealed that the FBI was severing its contacts with CAIR due to its ties with Hamas.[51]

Emerson has released documents and tapes showing that leaders of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) have defended Hezbollah, excused Hamas terror attacks, compared the United States to Al-Qaeda, urged Muslims not to cooperate if FBI agents approach them, and issued demonstrably anti-Semitic and anti-American statements.[52] In return, MPAC tried to demonize Emerson. At a conference held in late 2004, it displayed a poster called “The Faces that Are Always Talking about Terrorism,” which included pictures of Osama bin Laden, Daniel Pipes, Pat Robertson, Donald Rumsfeld, and Steven Emerson.[53] The implication was that Emerson, et al., were as nefarious as bin Laden.

In December 2004, MPAC again focused on Emerson in a report entitled Counterproductive Counterterrorism: How Anti-Islamic Rhetoric Is Impeding America’s Homeland Security. It pointed out that several key public officials, including former national security advisor, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, had praised the efforts of MPAC in working with government officials to combat terrorism in America.[54] Emerson countered, saying MPAC has deceived public officials into believing the group is “moderate” while at the same time defending Hezbollah and Hamas and rationalizing radical Islam.

The American Muslim Council (AMC) may have been Emerson’s most dramatic exposé so far. He took issue with an invitation that President Bill Clinton extended in 1996 to Abdurahman Alamoudi, a prominent Muslim-American leader and the executive director of the AMC. The meeting between the president and Alamoudi was to take place in the White House. Clinton administration officials, including Clinton himself, Vice President Al Gore and National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, met with Alamoudi along with twenty-three Muslim and Arab leaders.[55] According to Emerson, AMC had significant ties to Hamas and was a defender of Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk.[56] Because of the notoriety Alamoudi received from the exposure by Emerson, the Clintons and President Bush returned Alamoudi’s campaign contributions.[57] This is an excellent example of how someone coming from outside the compliant structures of government can make an impact in political circles.

But the matter went even further. Emerson recorded a speech in which Alamoudi voiced support for both Hezbollah and Hamas.[58] Emerson also obtained a recording of Alamoudi calling for bombings in the United States, a tape that was introduced at Alamoudi’s detention hearing and credited with the decision to keep him in jail rather than let him out on bail.[59] In October 2003, Alamoudi was then indicted on charges that he had illegally accepted $340,000 from the Libyan government for his efforts to persuade the U.S. government to lift sanctions against the Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi regime.[60] Then, in 2004, Alamoudi was arrested and convicted of conspiring with two Al-Qaeda members to assassinate King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.[61] In October, 2004, he pled guilty and was sentenced to twenty-three years in prison. Treasury documents list him as a longtime courier for Al-Qaeda and Hamas.[62]

The Investigative Project on Terrorism

Emerson founded the Investigative Project on Terrorism in 1995 and currently serves as its executive director; this think tank and archive maintains the world’s largest collection of nongovernmental data on radical Islamic groups, including more than four million documents, thousands of hours of clandestine video and audio recordings made at radical Islamic conferences, training sessions, fundraising activities, and assorted gatherings; and tens of thousands of original terrorist manuals and periodicals.[63] The IPT has also compiled a database of thousands of known or suspected terrorists as well as dossiers on radical groups.[64]

The IPT website offers a comprehensive counter-Islamist source of information, with government documents, proprietary information, and breaking stories.[65] The IPT also employs analysts to collect and interpret data and sends associates to listen to speeches by Islamist leaders. To inform interested parties of its work, it mails out daily updates. Emerson also contributes to the Counterterrorism Blog website, which posts articles and information relating to radical Islam, terrorism, and nonviolent Islamist threats.

The IPT receives information from a variety of sources, including many not available to government agencies. The archive holds the trial exhibits from the first World Trade Center bombing case, which include numerous records on Muslim terrorists in the Middle East and elsewhere. Emerson and his staff meticulously copied the documents, which were all publicly available and obtained from the court and prosecutors. After reviewing the records, Emerson concluded that these various Islamist groups were coordinating their activities in a worldwide network.[66]

The IPT, acting as a nongovernmental agency, assists, without fee, numerous government offices and agencies, in part because constitutional limitations tie the hands of federal and state security services. Due to a strong civil liberties tradition rooted in the First Amendment, the U.S. government lacks the authority to disband extremist groups or proscribe extremist speech. While the IPT does not possess any governmental powers or authority, it has the ability, like the media, to shine a light on the activities of Islamist groups, gatherings, and officials. Emerson often quotes Justice Louis Brandeis’s dictum that “sunshine is the law’s best disinfectant.”

The constraints imposed on government agencies investigating terrorist threats created space for Emerson’s Investigative Project. Since the mid-1970s, federal authorities have been hampered in their efforts to monitor political extremism, largely due to the legacy of the secret FBI project designated COINTELPRO.[67] Negative publicity surrounding that program led the Justice Department to change FBI law enforcement and investigative methods to de-politicize the FBI. The Levi guidelines, adopted in April 1976, require evidence of a criminal predicate or a reasonable suspicion before commencing investigation of a dissident group.[68] These changes had dramatic consequences, not least that the number of domestic intelligence cases dropped from 1,454 in 1975 to only 95 in 1977.[69] Nothing in the guidelines, however, precludes the FBI from opening an investigation based on information received from a private group. NGOs such as the IPT and individuals such as Shannen Rossmiller[70] have done much to fill the void. For its part, the IPT monitors not only radical Islamic groups in America advocating violent jihad but also those employing nonviolent or “stealth” jihad.

Conclusion

Emerson believes that the Islamist movement in the West continues to strengthen, in large part due to what he refers to as the “cultural jihad,” which provides a congenial environment in which Islamists can flourish. He cites survey data indicating that many Muslim communities in the West sympathize with aspects of the Islamist worldview. These cultural jihadists in turn give moral support to the terrorists.[71] In Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah, the French scholar Olivier Roy argues that Muslims in the West often experience a trauma of “deterritorialization” because they feel estranged from their native lands. To overcome anomie and alienation, young Muslims find solace in a new, purified Islam and attach themselves to a “virtual ummah [Islamic nation]” built by them on the Internet.[72] This pool of mostly young, alienated, Muslim men provides a reservoir from which Islamists can recruit in the West.

In Emerson’s opinion, the November 2, 2004 murder of Theo van Gogh by Mohammed Bouyeri[73] was a watershed event that inspired Europeans to reevaluate the viability of the multicultural model, seeing that it results not in peaceful coexistence but rather in separatism and cultural jihadism, threatening the social fabric of Western Europe. He warns that moderates have little influence in Muslim communities in the West.[74] Although the Muslim underclass in the United States is smaller than in Europe, Emerson finds substantial alienation in the Muslim-American community. He sees groups such as CAIR, MPAC, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Muslim American Society as agents that exacerbate this tendency. What is more, he notes, Islamist schools in the United States are often funded by Wahhabi sources promoting an extremist variant of Islam.[75]

Emerson has not gone unnoticed by Al-Qaeda. In September 2006, a leading public representative of the organization—American-born Adam Gadahn, who has adopted the Muslim name of Azzam al-Amriki—mentioned Emerson and several other Americans in a public videotape.[76] The video begins with an introduction by bin Laden’s lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who refers to Gadahn as a “brother” and “a perceptive person who wants to lead his people out of darkness into the light.”[77] Then Gadahn invites Emerson and the others to Islam:

If the Zionist crusader missionaries of hate and counter-Islam consultants like Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Michael Scheuer, Steven Emerson, and yes, even the crusader-in-chief, George W. Bush were to abandon their unbelief and repent and enter into the light of Islam and turn their swords against the enemies of God, it would be accepted of them and they would be our brothers of Islam.[78]

Emerson and his colleagues remain unimpressed and continue their work.

George Michael is associate professor of political science and administration of justice at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He is the author most recently of Willis Carto and the American Far Right (University Press of Florida, 2008), and Theology of Hate: A History of the World Church of the Creator (University Press of Florida, 2009).

[1] Steven Emerson, American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us (New York: The Free Press, 2002), p. 6.
[2] Ibid., pp. 5-25.
[3] New York: Putnam Adult, 1988.
[4] With Brian Duffy, New York: Penguin Group, 1990.
[5] See also Steven Emerson, “Stymied Warriors,” The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 13, 1988; Beau Grosscup, The Newest Explosions of Terrorism: Latest Sites of Terrorism in the 1990s and Beyond (Far Hills, N.J.: New Horizon Press, 1998), p. 405.
[6] James Kirkpatrick Davis, Spying on America: The FBI’s Domestic Counterintelligence Program (Westport: Praeger, 1992), pp. 25-159.
[7] Los Angeles Times, Dec. 1, 2001.
[8] See “Why Jihad Watch?” JihadWatch, accessed Oct. 1, 2009; “About Us,” Middle East Media Research Institute, accessed Oct. 1, 2009; “About the Project,” Terrorism Awareness Project, accessed Oct. 1, 2009.
[9] John Robb, Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2007), pp. 89-91.
[10]About the Investigative Project,” The Investigative Project on Terrorism, accessed Oct. 1, 2009.
[11] Jamie Glazov, “The-Islamist Lobby in the House: An Interview with Steven Emerson,” FrontPageMagazine.com, Aug. 4, 2009.
[12] Sue Myrick, “The War at Home: When Will We Open Our Eyes?” editorial, Feb, 5, 2008, accessed Nov. 29, 2009.
[13] Peter L. Bergen, Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden (New York: The Free Press, 2001), p. 133.
[14]Who Killed Abdullah Azzam?” Time, Nov. 24, 1989.
[15] United States of America, Appellee, v. Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, New York, Aug. 16, 1999.
[16] Simon Reeve, The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism (Boston: Northeaster Press, 1999), p. 15.
[17]Testimony,” The Investigative Project, accessed Oct. 1, 2009.
[18] John Mintz, “The Man Who Gives Terrorism a Name,” The Washington Post, Nov. 14, 2001.
[19] New York: Free Press, 2003.
[20] The 9/11 Commission Report (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2004), p. 441.
[21] Steven Emerson, “Saudi Arabia: Friend or Foe in the War on Terror,” testimony before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2005.
[22] E-mail correspondence with Steven Emerson, Nov. 19, 2009.
[23] Emerson, American Jihad, p. 37; Rohan Gunaratna, Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), p. 5.
[24] Gunaratna, Inside Al Qaeda, p. 6.
[25] See Raymond Ibrahim, “The Dark Side of Zakat: Muslim ‘Charity’ in Context,” Pajamas Media, Aug. 15, 2009.
[26] Ibid.
[27] Steven Emerson, “How to Really Fight Terrorism,” The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 24, 1998.
[28] WTHR- NBC (Indianapolis), Nov. 10, 2003.
[29] Emerson, American Jihad, p. 80.
[30] Daniel Pipes and Sharon Chadha, “CAIR: Islamists Fooling the Establishment,” Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2006, pp. 3-20.
[31] Emerson, American Jihad, pp. 93-8; Harvey Kushner with Bart Davis, Holy War on the Home Front: The Secret Islamic Terror Network in the United States (New York: Sentinel, 2004), pp. 22-4.
[32] Emerson, American Jihad, pp. 84-5; Kushner, Holy War on the Home Front, pp. 109-12.
[33]HLF Officials Convicted on All Counts,” IPT News, The Investigative Project, Nov. 24, 2008.
[34] FrontPageMagazine.com, Feb. 9, 2008; The Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 2, 2009.
[35] United States of America v. Mohammed Abu Marzook, et. al., United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, no. 03 CR 978.
[36] Emerson, American Jihad, pp. 103-4; The Dallas Morning News, July 15, 2007.
[37] Associated Press, Apr. 13, 2005.
[38] The New York Times, Nov. 24, 2008.
[39] Associated Press, Sept. 27, 2007.
[40]Viva Palestina: An IPT Investigative Report,” Investigative Project on Terrorism, accessed Nov. 17, 2009.
[41]Foreign Terrorist Organizations,” U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., Apr. 8, 2008.
[42] Emerson, American Jihad, pp. 111-6; Kushner, Holy War on the Home Front, p. 52.
[43]Target Terrorism,” CBS 48 Hours, Jan. 30, 2002.
[44]ADL Commends Law Enforcement for Arrests of Suspected Terrorist Supporters,” Anti-Defamation League, Feb. 20, 2003.
[45] E-mail correspondence with Bill West, chief, Special Investigations Section, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Miami (Fla.) District Office, Nov. 19, 2009.
[46] Newsweek, Dec. 29, 2006.
[47] Steven Emerson, “One Muslim Advocacy Group’s Not-So-Secret Terrorist Ties,” The New Republic Online, Mar. 28, 2007.
[48] Emerson, American Jihad, pp. 197-203.
[49] Steven Emerson, “Kicking a CAIR Extremist off the Human Relations Commission,” FrontPageMagazine.com, Nov. 6, 2006.
[50] United States of America v. Holy Land Foundation, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, Appendix A, CR no. 3:04-CR-240-G.
[51] IPT News, Jan. 29, 2009; FoxNews.com, Jan. 20, 2009.
[52] Steven Emerson, “Threatened by the Jihad,” FrontPageMagazine.com, Mar. 14, 2007; Daniel Pipes, “MPAC, CAIR, and Praising Osama bin Laden,” FrontPageMagazine.com, June 1, 2007.
[53] Daniel Pipes, “MPAC on Steven Emerson and Me,” Daniel Pipes Blog, July 12, 2004.
[54] Counterproductive Counterterrorism: How Anti-Islamic Rhetoric Is Impeding America’s Homeland Security (Washington, D.C.: Muslim Public Affairs Council, 2004), p. 4.
[55]Profile: American Muslim Council (AMC),” Center for Grassroots Oversight, accessed July 7, 2009; Steven Emerson, “Friends of Hamas in the White House,” The Wall Street Journal, Mar. 13, 1996.
[56] Emerson, “Friends of Hamas in the White House.”
[57] The New York Times, Oct. 26, 2000.
[58]Target Terrorism,” CBS 48 Hours, Jan. 30, 2002.
[59]Declaration in Support of Detention,” United States of America v. Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, no. 03-1009M, Sept. 30, 2003.
[60] David Frum and Richard Perle, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror (New York: Random House, 2003), p. 83.
[61] The Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2004.
[62] United States of America v. Abdurahman Muhammad Alamoudi.
[63] Steven Emerson, Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US (Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 2006), p. 15.
[64] Steven Emerson, “DOJ Oversight: Preserving Our Freedoms while Defending against Terrorism,” testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, D.C., Dec. 4, 2001; idem, American Jihad, p. 14.
[65] The Investigative Project on Terrorism, accessed July 7, 2009.
[66] Emerson, American Jihad, pp. 20-1.
[67] Davis, Spying on America, pp. 25-159.
[68] “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Compliance with the Attorney General’s Investigative Guidelines,” (Redacted), Special Report, Office of the Inspector General, Washington, D.C., Sept. 2005.
[69] Davis, Spying on America, p. 176.
[70] See Shannen Rossmiller, “My Cyber Counter-jihad,” Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2007, pp. 43-8.
[71] Steven Emerson, “Jihadism: Where Is It At in 2006?Sydney Papers, The Sydney (Aus.) Institute, Autumn 2006, pp. 63-71.
[72] Olivier Roy, Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), pp. 272-5.
[73] BBC News, Nov. 2, 2004; USA Today, Nov. 2, 2004; The New York Times, Nov. 10, 2004.
[74]Radical Islamism in Europe,” interview with Irshad Manji, Steven Emerson, and Gilles Kepel, Aspen Institute, Washington, D.C., Dec. 2004.
[75]A Special Interview with Steve Emerson,” The Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security International, June 2006; Roy, Globalized Islam, pp. 234-43; on U.K. schools and radicalism, see “Music, Chess, and Other Sins,” Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2009, pp. 78-82.
[76] Associated Press, May 27, 2004; Fox News, Oct. 29, 2004; Annette Stark, “Peace, Love, Death Metal,” Los Angeles City Beat, Sept. 9, 2004.
[77] Raffi Khatchadourian, “Azzam the American,” The New Yorker, Jan. 22, 2007.
[78] Beila Rabinowitz, “What Al Qaeda’s Call for Pipes, Spencer, Emerson, and Scheuer to Convert to Islam Means,” PipeLineNews.org, Sept. 19, 2006.

Related Topics: Counter-terrorismGeorge MichaelWinter 2010 MEQ receive the latest by email: subscribe to the free mef mailing list To receive the full, printed version of the Middle East Quarterly, please see details about an affordable subscription. This text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.

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Should Airports Use “Smart Screening”?

January 4, 2010

Should Airports Use “Smart Screening”?

by Steven Emerson
Interview on Good Morning America
December 29, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1604/should-airports-use-smart-screening

Multimedia for this item

Video Recording

DAN HARRIS: Joining us now to debate whether we ought to be using profiling, former FBI agent Michael German who know works for the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union. He is against profiling and Steven Emerson. He is the Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. He is a former journalist who has been sounding alarms about Islamic radicalism for more than a decade now. He says profiling can be a useful tool. Welcome to both of you.

MICHAEL GERMAN: Thank you.

STEVEN EMERSON: Good morning.

HARRIS: Michael, let me start with you. Let me run something by you that was said by an Israeli counterterrorism expert to our chief justice correspondent, Peter Thomas. He said this. That all Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims. Given that logic, doesn’t it make sense to do some profiling at airports?

GERMAN: Ah, no because of course that’s not true. Terrorists come in all shapes and sizes; all nationalities, all different political and religious causes.

HARRIS: But the vast majority of attacks in recent years have been perpetrated by radical Muslims, no?

GERMAN: Actually, no. If you look around the country there have been any number of White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis sort of activities. A dirty bomb was found in Bangor, Maine December of last year. A chemical weapon was found in Noonday, Texas in 2004. Neither one of those events were covered much because they were White Supremacists and Right Wing militias rather than Muslim extremists, but that doesn’t mean that that threat doesn’t exist.

[Crosstalk]

HARRIS: Couldn’t we add them to the profile, though? Couldn’t we start profiling White Supremacists as well?

GERMAN: And now you’re profile includes everybody because of course there are Irish terrorists, there Puerto Rican national terrorists. There are South American drug courier terrorists. It’s simply an ineffective way. It’s unconstitutional, it’s ineffective and it’s actually counterproductive.

HARRIS: Steven. Let me jump in for a second. Steven, the argument against profiling is that it’s counterproductive as Michael just said; that it violates our values, which is exactly what the terrorists want us to do because it helps them recruit.

EMERSON: Look, I don’t buy it. The fact is, what I say is do smart screening. Ethnicity is one of the factors that should be included in the profile. After all, what is profiling? You’re extrapolating the common characteristics of the terrorist attacks. 100% of all the terrorist attacks against the United States last year were carried out by Muslim jihadists. So, if that’s the one common denominator, let’s include that in the mix. That at airports would trigger a secondary inspection in which case the bomber on Christmas Day this year, maybe have they found the bomb.

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IPT: The Threat of Homegrown Terrorism

December 1, 2009

The Threat of Homegrown Terrorism

by Interview with Steven Emerson
C-SPAN
November 29, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1540/the-threat-of-homegrown-terrorism

Multimedia for this item

Washington Journal continues.

ROBB HARLESTON [HOST]: Steve Emerson is the Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and author of Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S. We’re going to talk about that a little bit more. We’ve got you in to talk about the threat of homegrown terrorism, so for the sake of this particular conversation, define homegrown terrorism for us.

STEVEN EMERSON: Well, interestingly enough, homegrown terrorism used to define right wing, neo-Nazi, KKK-type terrorism – indigenous terrorism. Now it is used as a euphemism for jihadist-type terrorism that grows up in the United States indigenously without external factors such as being directed by Al Qaeda or such as being imported from Al Qaeda, but rather American citizens who carry out attacks of terrorism here in the United States.

HARLESTON: And an example of that would be the case of the Somalis being written about in a lot of places as – and we’ve got the article here from the Wall Street Journal, the headline “Somali Case Highlights Specter of Radicalization” – tell us what they’re writing about.

EMERSON: They’re writing about a whole cluster of Somali-American kids whose parents had immigrated to the United States as refugees and who – the kids were born here. But unfortunately, because of radicalization, either through the mosque or through the internet or through videos or through CDs, they became radicalized to the point of joining the Al-Shabaab movement, which was an Al Qaeda subset in Somalia. And they were recruited to either carry out attacks in Somalia – one actually carried out a suicide bombing – or to carry out attacks in the United States. And they were all American-born.

HARLESTON: And how much of this threat – how big is this threat becoming? How is this growing here in the United States?

EMERSON: Well the Somali-American threat is growing. I can tell you there are at least six other American cities where they have young Somali-Americans who they believe belong to Al-Shabaab, and are deemed to be a national security threat. There is active recruitment in Kansas City, in Columbus, Ohio, in San Diego in California, and several other cities for Al-Shabaab. And that’s not the only group involved in terms of homegrown terrorism, but certainly one of the major groups.

HARLESTON: We’re talking with Steven Emerson about the threat of homegrown terrorism. If you want to get involved in the conversation, the number is (202) 737-0002 for Democrats. Republicans: (202) 737-0001. Independents: (202) 628-0205. So by this definition, would you categorize what happened at Fort Hood with Major Nidal Hasan as a case of homegrown terrorism?

EMERSON: Absolutely. I believe that was a case of homegrown jihadist terrorism. It wasn’t externally directed. It may have been influenced by a Yemeni cleric named Anwar al-Awlaki, who used to live in the United States, and with whom Major Hasan had had contact with. But he carried it out all by himself – he had procured the firearms, he let superiors know that infidels should have their throats slit, he became a full fledged jihadist here in the United States from seemingly not having a religious background.

HARLESTON: In this morning’s New York Post, their editorial “Fumbling Bureau of Incompetence,” they write, regarding the shooting at Fort Hood: “The gunman’s extremism was so obvious that the FBI had identified e-mails between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaqi, a radical Muslim cleric with apparent ties to Osama bin Laden – yet decided against a full investigation. While Army intelligence also didn’t follow up, the FBI’s the one with the track record of missteps going back years.” How much responsibility do you feel falls on the FBI and American intelligence for the growth of this homegrown terrorism – particularly the case of the Somalis or the case of the shooting at Fort Hood?

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Detecting Military Radicalism in the Wake of Fort Hood

November 23, 2009

Detecting Military Radicalism in the Wake of Fort Hood

IPT News
November 19, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1528/detecting-military-radicalism-in-the-wake-of-fort

The first congressional hearing in the aftermath of the Fort Hood massacre took place Thursday morning, with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing from security experts, including a retired general and a former top White House advisor.

Lieberman wanted to hear from FBI officials about missed signals that Nidal Malik Hasan exhibited radical viewpoints and created concern among his colleagues. But the administration didn’t allow any current government witnesses, in deference to the ongoing criminal investigation.

According to the Washington Post, Lieberman said conversations with Attorney General Eric Holder and Defense Secretary Robert Gates left him optimistic that the committee would gain access to some of the information it is seeking soon.

Thursday, the committee heard testimony on how to better identify potential radicals in the armed forces and how to empower people to report their concerns up the chain of command, even when the concerns involved an officer like Hasan. Among the witnesses were retired Gen. John Keane, a former Army vice chief of staff; Frances Fragos Townsend, President George W. Bush’s homeland security adviser, and terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins of the RAND Corp.

The New York Times reported that the Pentagon was initiating a review of the Hasan case that would have a similar focus. The Investigative Project on Terrorism covered the hearing and prepared a video summary below.

Transcript

SEN. LIEBERMAN: (Sounds gavel.) The hearing will come to order. This morning, our committee begins an investigation as serious and consequential as any it has ever undertaken. An American soldier, Nidal Hasan, has been charged with killing 12 of his fellow soldiers and one civilian on an American military base in Texas in what I believe, based on available evidence, was a terrorist attack.

The purpose of this committee’s investigation is to determine whether that attack could have been prevented, whether the federal agencies and employees involved missed signals or failed to connect dots in a way that enabled Nidal Hasan to carry out his deadly attack.

If we find such errors or negligence, we will make recommendations to guarantee as best we can that they never occur again. That’s our purpose here.

SEN. LIEBERMAN: Our staffs will be meeting with representatives of the Department of Justice and Defense very soon to try to work out ground rules for both investigations without interfering with each other.

But I can say that I’m encouraged and appreciative that Senator Collins and I and our staff — our top staff — have received one classified briefing on the Hasan case and will soon receive another and have been given access to some very relevant classified documents relating to this matter. So we’re off to a good cooperative start.

—-

GEN. KEANE: I suspect strongly that after we conduct these investigations, we will find that our policies will need revision again to account for the specific behavior and attitudes as expressed by radical Islamists or Jihadist extremists. It should not be an active of moral courage for a soldier to identify a fellow soldier who is displaying extremist behavior. It should be an obligation. And as such, the commanders needs specific guidelines as to what Jihadist extremists behavior is and re-emphasize how to use the many tools and options they have at their disposal to curb the behavior, to rehabilitate soldiers if possible, or to take legal or separation action.

Because Jihadist extremists are potentially linked to terrorist organizations that directly threaten the security of the United States, it is essential that our government agencies are sharing information about such individuals.

GEN. KEANE: Radical Islam and Jihadist extremism is the most transformational issue I have dealt with in my military service and continues to be so today. In my judgment, it is the most significant threat to the security of the American people that I have faced in my lifetime. We are a society that espouses tolerance and values diversity and our military reflects those values. But at the same time, we must know what a threat looks like and we must know what to do about it.

MS. TOWNSEND: To the extent that there would have been concern of infringing on Major Hasan’s either right to free speech or his freedom to practice his religion, there were other factors to which you could point beyond that, having nothing to do with his religion or his speech, that could have caused concern.

The repeated — while it’s not public, the content of those communications, certainly those communications, and now what we’re hearing from his other colleagues up at Walter Reed, any combination of those factors, as long as it was not based solely on his exercise of his constitutional freedom, could have formed the basis of further inquiry and investigation by the FBI.

SEN. COLLINS: So if we’re being told that one reason this was not aggressively pursued was concerns that it would violate the FISA restrictions or the attorney general’s guidelines, you would disagree with that decision, based on what you know?

MS. TOWNSEND: Based on what I know now, yes, I would disagree with that. And frankly, this is, Senator, why I mentioned my concern about political correctness. I think we have to ensure that our investigators feel sufficiently backed up, if you will, to follow the facts wherever they lead them. And if the facts lead them to an investigation of a senior member of the uniformed military, who happens to be a Muslim doctor, then that’s where they lead them. But they have to feel confident that they can pursue the facts wherever they take them, against whoever the target may be.
—-

MR. JENKINS: Now, at a glance, Major Hasan’s rampage at Fort Hood looks a lot like what used to be called “going postal,” a deepening sense of person grievance culminating in a homicidal rampage directed against co-workers, in this case, fellow soldiers. For Hasan, “going jihad” reflects the channeling of obvious personality problems into a deadly fanaticism.

We must wait, really, for a full inquiry to thoroughly understand Hasan’s motives, his preparations, his objectives. But on the basis of what has been reported in the news media, we clearly have a troubled man who engaged himself with extremist ideologies via the Internet that resonated with and reinforced his own anger leading him, at some point, to a decision to kill.

GEN. KEANE: [So what we are dealing with here now, in my view, dealing with jihadist extremist, potentially, certainly the preliminary evidence would suggest that,] [SEN. LIEBERMAN: Right…] — that those kind of guidelines, in terms of defining that and how to deal with that, as a specific case, and that behavior and that attitude and that rhetoric, are not in the hands of our commanders.

SEN. LIEBERMAN: Yeah. Okay, that’s a real — if our investigation finds that that’s true, and I suspect it is, that’s a real omission and an area for correction, particularly in light of the record that other witnesses have testified to of the way in which jihadists, or people who are actually being self-radicalized or radicalized over the Internet, are being exhorted to attack the American military on bases, not just abroad but here at home.

My time is up. Thank you, General.

Senator Collins.

Related Topics: Homegrown Terror

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IPT: Dar Al-Hijrah Official’s Deception on Awlaki

November 20, 2009

Dar Al-Hijrah Official’s Deception on Awlaki

IPT News
November 18, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1521/dar-al-hijrah-officials-deception-on-awlaki

When a former imam from his mosque praised Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan as a “hero,” Dar al-Hijrah outreach director Imam Johari Abdul Malik took to the airwaves to criticize the remarks and cast them as surprising:

“Let’s be clear when Anwar Al Awlaki was at Dar Al-Hijrah, he was articulating the same message that I articulate today in Dar Al-Hijrah, a very open, a very engaging, a very community wise and contemporary understanding of the faith within the framework of its traditionalism.”

But a look at Awlaki‘s statements and connections during his time at the northern Virginia mosque shows that, at best, Malik’s characterization was misinformed as to the facts. While at Dar Al-Hijrah, a mosque with a history of leadership tied to terrorists, Awlaki made statements that endorsed terrorism and defended the 9/11 hijackers.

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When “Zealous Advocacy” Crosses the Line

November 20, 2009

When “Zealous Advocacy” Crosses the Line

IPT News
November 17, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1520/when-zealous-advocacy-crosses-the-line

A federal appeals court has denied disbarred attorney Lynne Stewart’s challenge to her 2005 conviction for helping her client, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, relay messages from his prison cell to other terrorists.

The panel’s findings rejected Stewart’s claims across the board, including the length of her sentence, with the only dissent coming from a judge who felt the trial court’s “breathtakingly low sentence of 2 1/3 years … trivializes Stewart’s extremely serious conduct.”

Stewart’s client, the “Blind Sheikh,” considered the inspiration behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was convicted of a variety of terrorism-related crimes in October 1995. In prison, he was subjected to special restrictions that were “intended to prevent him from directing or facilitating yet more violent acts of terrorism from his prison cell.”

Those restrictions included the screening of all outgoing and incoming non-legal mail and allowing telephone contacts only with his attorneys and his wife. Such measures often are used in gang and terrorism related sentences to prevent further mayhem by the prisoner and typically are effective.

The court in Stewart’s appeal noted that restrictions rely on “the trust placed in the attorney.” In this case, Stewart repeatedly swore under oath that she would comply with the terms that had been put in place for communicating with her client.

Despite these promises, as Judge John M. Walker, Jr. observed, Stewart “executed a scheme of lies and deception against the government to keep the lines of communication open between Rahman and Egyptian jihadists” in al Gama’a al Islamiyya. Stewart served as a conduit between Rahman and the outside world for years, allowing him to exercise his influence over a cease-fire that had been declared by al-Gama’a.

Following his incarceration, a faction of al-Gama’a declared a unilateral cease-fire regarding its violent operations in Egypt. A rival faction of the organization, which did not support the move, sought the issuance of a fatwa – or religious edict – from Rahman, who was locked up in federal prison with no access to his followers. That’s when Stewart smuggled letters from and to the Blind Sheikh, including one in 2000 which stated:

“To those against whom war is made, permission is given to fight, because they are wronged (oppressed)—and verily God is most powerful for their aid….The latest thing published in the newspapers was about the Egyptian regime’s killing of four members of the group. This is…enough proof that the Egyptian regime does not have the intention to interact with this peaceful Initiative [i.e., the cease-fire] which aims at unification. I therefore demand that my brothers, the sons of [al Gama’a] do a comprehensive review of the Initiative and its results. I also demand that they consider themselves absolved from it.” [Emphasis added]

Believing that the written response was not forceful enough, Stewart continued to disregard the restrictions and spoke with a Reuters reporter based in Cairo, telling him that “Abdel Rahman was withdrawing his support for the ceasefire that currently exists.”

Although Stewart claimed these actions were simply “zealous advocacy” on behalf of her client, a jury in the Southern District of New York called them criminal. She was convicted of all counts arising from her unauthorized contacts with and behavior related to the Blind Sheikh.

The appellate court notes that Rahman was a key player in conspiracies to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak while he was visiting New York City; to attack military installations; bomb the World Trade Center in 1993; and a conspiracy to bomb bridges, tunnels, and the federal building containing the New York office of the FBI.

According to the government’s evidence at his trial:

“Abdel Rahman, a blind Islamic scholar and cleric, was the leader of [a] seditious conspiracy, the purpose of which was “jihad,” in the sense of a struggle against the enemies of Islam. Indicative of this purpose, in a speech to his followers Abdel Rahman instructed that they were to “do jihad with the sword, with the cannon, with the grenades, with the missile…. against God’s enemies.” Abdel Rahman’s role in the conspiracy was generally limited to overall supervision and direction of the membership, as he made efforts to remain a level about the details of individual operations. However, as a cleric and the group’s leader, Abdel Rahman was entitled to dispense fatwas, religious opinions on the holiness of an act, to members of the group sanctioning proposed courses of conduct and advising them whether the acts would be in furtherance of jihad.”

As the appellate court explained in denying Stewart’s challenges, “Abdel Rahman’s instrumental participation—indeed, his leadership—would…have been unavailable to the conspiracy without the active participation of Stewart.”

Despite the dissenting opinion, the court left open the chance for reconsideration of her two-year sentence. Consequently, the district court will have an opportunity to reconsider that sentence, taking into consideration additional facts, including that Stewart intentionally lied to investigators and attempted to hide her criminal conduct.

Whether or not the District Court enhances Stewart’s sentence, this ruling comes at an important time. As the Justice Department begins preparations for the criminal trial of Khaleed Sheikh Mohammad in the Southern District of New York, it must remain vigilant to ensure that sensitive information is not leaked by defense attorneys. While this case surely will be used as a prime example for why terrorists should not be tried in civilian courts, it is important to remember that Stewart was an anomaly. Her actions violated not only the Rules of Professional Conduct governing attorneys, but court orders and common sense.

A sentence reflecting the true nature of her crimes is not only consistent with the evidence presented at her trial but demanded by the law.

Related Topics: Omar Abdel Rahman, Prosecutions

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Who is Khalid Sheik Mohammed?

November 20, 2009

Who is Khalid Sheik Mohammed?

by Steven Emerson
Interview on MSNBC
November 15, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1515/who-is-khalid-sheik-mohammed

ALEX WITT: If it happens it will be a trial the whole world will be watching. A federal courtroom just blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood filled with the five – five, rather – of the co-conspirators of the September 11th attacks, including the self confessed mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Joining me now for some inside on the defendants is terrorism expert, Steve Emerson.

Good morning, Steve.

STEVE EMERSON: Good morning, Alex.

WITT: Before we get to the guys themselves, strategy-wise, let’s talk about that because legally speaking you think they might be looking to represent themselves where they try to use this trial as some sort of a platform for their extremist agenda; making a soapbox of all of this.

EMERSON: Well if they look towards Moussaoui, Zacarias Moussaoui who also defended himself and who made mincemeat out of the prosecution, they could easily play havoc with the prosecution, forcing state secrets into the open, forcing the government to clamp down on, or refuse to reveal information in evidence. They can really make a spectacle of this and it’s a high risk proposition by the Attorney General to make this decision so all eyes will be on this trial and you’re a 100% right. If they decide to represent themselves, they could make a circus out of this.

WITT: Let’s talk about Khalid Sheik Mohammed and we refer to him as KSM. During his 2007 military tribunal, Steve, here’s what he had to say quote, “Because war for sure, there will be victims. I said I’m not happy that 3,000 people been killed in America, I feel sorry for even. This is why the language of any war in the world is killing. I mean the language of the war is victims.” What do we know about Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his attitudes, his level of intelligence, his level to really organize what became 9/11 and anything thereafter?

EMERSON: Well he actually, under the Military Tribunals Act, Alex, he wanted to plead guilty and in fact he plead guilty but they refused to accept it.

WITT: Wait, Steve. Why would he do that? Was that so he could go down as a martyr?

EMERSON: Basically yes. He basically said after all of the interrogations that he had committed the act of 9/11. He had masterminded it, he took full responsibility for it and under the Military Tribunals Act he had plead guilty but it was rejected by his defense attorneys who were pro bono and were basically coming from New York City law firms who said “No you don’t have to plead guilty, you can plead innocent.” His guilty plea was essentially withdrawn but in fact he was ready to plead guilty and so the question arises as to why the President or the Attorney General at least, would want to bring these types of open charges in a courtroom where you cannot control the disposition of the outcome. Because face it, he was arrested without being Mirandized, without being read his rights. He was arrested without the evidence being collected by the FBI forensically. He was arrested without this regular courtroom-type of procedures so he has a lot of maneuverability in terms of squirming out of the crimes that he’s been charged of.

WITT: Who is this guy though? He speaks English, he was educated – didn’t he go to college in the US? I mean what do we know about him?

EMERSON: He went to college in North Carolina State University and he speaks English fluently, or almost fluently. But he revels in the fact that he actually carried out the largest masterminded plot in U.S. history of terrorism against U.S. civilians. It’s a perverse type of boasting but nevertheless this is the type of mentality that we are going to be presented with when he takes the stand and as you pointed out at the very beginning, the odds are he will represent himself. Maybe with some defense counsel but he will make demands of the prosecution that will force them to reveal state secrets which they would never want to reveal in an open court.

WITT: I want to quickly ask you about the waterboarding. The government’s own admission, 183 times, he was waterboarded. To what extent does that potentially dismiss all evidence, anything he may have said because they can say it was under duress of torture?

EMERSON: You raise a great question Alex. I mean clearly the waterboarding, a judge could rule that to be excessive, could be torture, even though it may not have been under the Military Tribunal’s Act and, therefore, all of the evidence that was collected pursuant to his admissions under the waterboarding after 183 times could be thrown out and that’s another one of those roadblocks that could easily rise up. There are so many roadblocks, Alex, that could rise up in this trial, that he could actually walk and if he walked then the question is does he become a free man in the United States?

WITT: That is a question that nobody wants to have answered in the affirmative. That’s for sure, Steve Emerson. Anyway, thank you very much for weighing in. We appreciate that.

EMERSON: You’re welcome.