Accuracy in Media

      “Foreign terrorists in America,” could be a reference to the terrorists who conducted the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But it was also the subject of a congressional hearing held in 1998. Officials of the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service and the Immigration and Naturalization Service testified. This problem has been around for many years. So the question is: why did the authorities fail to stop the September 11th attacks?

      At that congressional hearing, the most valuable testimony was given by a journalist, Steven Emerson. He began his presentation with this statement: “The subject of today’s hearing, the foreign terrorist threat in the United States, is one of the most important issues we face as a society today. With the advent of chemical and biological weapons, we now face distinct possibilities of mass civilian murder the likes of which have not been seen since World War II.”

      It’s amazing that the hearing was even held. Something called the “Free Arab Voice” labeled the hearing an “attack on Islam.” Emerson said groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations and the American Muslim Council had tried to intimidate those who speak out on the threat of militant Islamic fundamentalism. He said, “The courageous individuals who have taken on these groups have been subjected to frightening campaigns of intimidation that do not pass unnoticed by their colleagues. The result is that stories describing the true nature of radical Islamic activities in the U.S. and their growing menace to American society are few and far between.”

      Emerson was one of those individuals. He had served as the executive producer and reporter for the 1994 public television documentary “Jihad in America.” The film included previously unknown videos of the clandestine activities of radical Islamic terrorist groups in the United States. “Jihad in America” earned several journalism awards.

      At the hearing, Emerson revealed, for the first time, that he had become a target of radical fundamentalist groups throughout the United States and internationally. He revealed that, in late 1995, he was paged by a federal law enforcement official who instructed him to head downtown to his office and specifically directed him to take a taxi rather than his car. When he arrived at the office, Emerson said that he was told by law enforcement officials that a group of radical Islamic fundamentalists had been assigned to carry out an assassination of him, and that a hit team had been dispatched from another country to the United States.

      Emerson quoted Oliver Revell, former Associate Deputy Director of the FBI, as saying, “the United States is the most preferred and easiest place in the world for radical Islamic groups to set up their headquarters to wage war in their homelands, destabilize and attack American allies and ultimately move against the United States itself.” Revell also stated that Emerson’s program had discovered details about these networks that the FBI didn’t have. No wonder we’re in serious trouble: journalists were getting better information than the FBI.

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