On Wednesday, January 30, CBS's 48 Hours news program featured
terrorism expert Steve Emerson and the work he is doing to expose supporters of
terrorism here in America. The segment included video clips and quotations from
American Islamic leaders enthusiastically showing support for Hamas and
Hezbollah, shouting We support bin Laden!, exhorting the audience
to Damn America! and calling for Death to Israel!
CBS News and 48 Hours are to be commended for this vital
coverage of American Muslim support for terrorist groups and extremism. This
subject is frequently whitewashed, but 48 Hours correspondent Erin
Moriarty provided a balanced, tough look at the issue, with inclusion of the
shocking video clips of Islamic leaders cheering for terrorist groups. An
informed public is a less vulnerable public. Unfortunately, some Arab and
Muslim groups, instead of praising investigations that expose fundraisers and
promoters of terrorist organizations, reflexively opposed focus on this issue
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Transcript of 48 Hours (January 30, 2002)
DAN RATHER: I'm Dan Rather. The events of 9/11 shocked the nation and shook
the world. Is the next threat on our doorstep? 48 HOURS, right now.
ERIN MORIARITY: It was a rainy winter morning last December when my
cameraman and I were blindfolded.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you see anything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't see anything.
MORIARITY: We were told that was the only way we'd get our story... And this
doesn't ever seem a little silly to you, this blindfold -- or overdoing it bit,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you truly understand what we do, you'd see why we
need to take these precautions.
MORIARITY: But they agreed to photograph us, as we went to a secret location
somewhere in the Washington, D.C., area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the safety of everybody in the office, we have to
MORIARITY: To talk to people too afraid to show their faces...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wait, wait, wait.
MORIARITY: ... or reveal their names. What are you afraid of?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are afraid of showing or exposing ourselves. The
embassy bombing guys and the first World Trade Center guys were trained in the
same training camp.
MORIARITY: This is the headquarters of the Investigative Project...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Among your targets are bridges or airports.
MORIARITY: ... where these anonymous workers say they're tracking Islamic
terrorists in this country...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I know more than the government does.
MORIARITY: ... and that their lives would be in danger if their identities
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounds unreasonable, right? I mean, if we are the
good guys, why are we afraid of showing who we are?
MORIARITY: Why are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we feel like we are a target.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most active cities today would be Chicago...
MORIARITY: But the group's leader is more than willing to come out of the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Washington, D.C. area, and New York. Now there is an
al Qaeda cell up in Boston.
MORIARITY: But do you mean that? I mean, do you mean terrorist cells?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Yes.
MORIARITY: These indicate terrorist cells.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've reported on international terrorism for the past 10
MORIARITY: Since 1993, when the World Trade Center was bombed, Steve
Emerson, a former journalist, has repeatedly warned of the risk of further attacks by Islamic terrorists.
STEVE EMERSON: He had some contact with a mid-level operative.
MORIARITY: Can you, today, point to some people here in the United States
who are actual sleepers? Actual terrorists?.
EMERSON: I can't conclusively prove that anyone's a sleeper agent. And in
fact, the government can't prove that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys were here for six months, and they're coming
up with 15 addresses
MORIARITY: But if he can't specifically name terrorists, what Emerson can
do, he says, is identify Islamic extremists in this country whom he believes
are promoting terrorism...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE [on video clip]: We will conquer this society!
MORIARITY: ... like these protesters in New York, who just five months
before the World Trade Center attacks last September, were yelling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE :[on video clip]: We support bin Laden!
GROUP REPEATS: We support bin Laden!
MORIARITY: Emerson gets his information from government sources, and video
tapes like these made surreptitiously at Muslim meetings and mosques throughout
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This could be a scene from the Middle East. But in fact,
this rally was held in New Jersey.
MORIARITY: What Emerson has uncovered has put several prominent Muslim
leaders in a very unflattering light.
EMERSON: How many times have I had members of media coming to with me
saying, So-and-so condemns terrorism. How can you say he supports Islamic
extremism? And I point out, this is what he says behind closed doors.
MORIARITY: Take the case of Abdurahaman Alamoudi, a well-known Muslim
leader. He was among those invited last November to a Ramadan dinner held at
the State Department. This is also Alamoudi...
ABDURAHAMAN ALAMOUDI [on video clip]: Anybody's a supporter of Hamas here?
MORIARITY: ... at an anti-Israel rally in October of 2000... ALAMOUDI [on
video clip]: We are all supporters of Hamas.
MORIARITY: ... Hamas, the terrorist group responsible for last December's
bombing that killed 25 young Israelis.
ALAMOUDI [on video clip]: I wish they added that I'm also a support of
Hizballah. Anybody supports Hizballah here?
GROUP ANSWERS: Yeah!
MORIARITY: Hizballah, the same group responsible for the 1983 bombing of the
marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans.
EMERSON: I'm not accusing him of being a terrorist.
MORIARITY: But Emerson does believe that Alamoudi and other Muslim leaders
should be held responsible for speech that could encourage others to act.
EMERSON: They shouldn't be embraced at the State Department. They shouldn't
be given, you know, free passes on the part of the media and newspapers, who
are given free platforms -- and to define themselves as civil rights groups,
because they're not.
ALAMOUDI [on video clip]: I wish they added that I'm also a supporter of
ALAMOUDI: First of all, I regret it. Not because I said it; because I did
not qualify it. I should have said I support Hamas; I support Hizballah; I
support whoever I want to support. But I don't support terrorism.
MORIARITY: Alamoudi, an American citizen, says politicians will no longer be
seen with him. His campaign contributions to the Clintons and to President Bush
were returned, all because of Emerson.
ALAMOUDI: I said it out of -- I don't know. I regret it. Now, will you hold
that to me until I go to my grave? Should I expect that Emerson to come and
knock on my door every day and night? God forgives, for God's sake. Why can't
you forgive, Mr. Emerson?
EMERSON: The issue is not whether he's sorry. The issue is whether he
renounces it. This issue is will he unequivocally renounce Hamas and Hizballah?
MORIARITY: But Emerson has made mistakes in the past some very
serious and public ones.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER [on video clip]: Holy cow. About a third of the
building has been blown away.
MORIARITY: After the Oklahoma City bombing, in a CBS News interview, Emerson
confidently pointed his finger at the wrong culprits.
EMERSON [on video clip]: This was done with the intent to inflict as many
casualties as possible. That is a Middle Eastern trait.
MORIARITY: As everyone now knows, the bombing was not the work of Islamic
terrorists, but an American, Tim McVeigh. Could you make a mistake like this
now, see something that you think is the work of a Muslim extremist, when it
may not be?
EMERSON: I would never -- I certainly have been chastened by that
experience, OK? I absolutely -- you know, I learned my lesson.
MORIARITY: Forty-four-year-old Sami al Arian is a family man and college
professor who has lived in this country for 27 years.
AL ARIAN: And this is America.
MORIARITY: But does he also support terrorism? That's what Steve Emerson
EMERSON: I look at the facts. Look at the organization that he was running
in the United States. It was one and the same as the Islamic Jihad.
MORIARITY: Emerson says al Arian used to run the U.S. office of a violent
terrorist group called the Islamic Jihad.
EMERSON: Number two -- he brought in the top terrorist leaders in the world
from 1988 through 1992 at annual conferences.
AL ARIAN: He brings these outlandish accusations about people that he was
never able to prove.
MORIARITY: But Al Arian had to face those accusations again last fall on a
TV talk show...
BILL O'REILLY, HOST OF "THE O'REILLY FACTOR " (FOX) [video clip]:
If I was the CIA, I would follow you wherever you went. I'd follow you...
AL ARIAN: You don't know me.
MORIARITY: Shortly after that appearance, al Arian was fired from the
teaching job he had held for 16 years at the University of South Florida. This
is part of the evidence Emerson relies on: a videotape of a conference held in
Cleveland, Ohio, in 1991. On it, al Arian is actually introduced as the
American representative of the Islamic Jihad. There's also a fiery speech that
he gave. But because he wouldn't speak with us if we showed you the actual
tape, we'll quote from it instead. Let us damn America, he said.
Let us damn Israel. Let us damn their allies until death. Let us damn
America. I mean, what other interpretation is there of thatDamn
AL ARIAN: Right. That's a stupid comment. But really what was meant here is
the American policy. It's a figure of speech when he was speaking about the
MORIARITY: What about "death to Israel"? I mean, there's really
only one way to interpret death to Israel, and that means death to
the Israeli people.
AL ARIAN: No, no. "Death to Israel" means death to the system.
It's like saying death to apartheid.
MORIARITY: So why didn't you say that?
AL ARIAN: "Death to occupation." Because when the Arab and Muslim
people -- when they hear me, they understand what I mean.
MORIARITY: But what about the fact that al Arian was actually introduced as
the head of a terrorist group? He says he objected to that. You didn't object,
at least publicly. There's nothing on tape that indicates that you objected to
AL ARIAN: I don't know -- I wasn't taping this. I don't know who taped it or
what was said. I did object to it.
MORIARITY: What's more, in October of 2000, an immigration judge found no
evidence that al Arian's organization was a front for the Islamic Jihad. But
that's not stopping Emerson.
EMERSON: The judge's ruling was in total error. The fat lady has not sung.
This is not over yet.
MORIARITY: Emerson points to documents, including a letter written by the
professor, in which the FBI believes al Arian is raising money for the families
of suicide bombers. Al Arian, who didn't want to discuss that letter, claims
that Emerson is simply a mouthpiece for groups with an anti-Arab agenda.
MORIARITY: And who are these interest groups?
AL ARIAN: A lot of them are pro Israel.
MORIARITY: Emerson doesn't deny he has many Jewish donors. But his work is
also getting support from some prominent Muslims -- like the editor of Pakistan
Today, Tashbi Sayyed.
TASHBI SAYYED: I support him in many ways. He is opening my eyes.
MORIARITY: As for Sami al Arian's 1991 speech, Sayyed says phrases like
"damn America" and "death to Israel" can mean only one
SAYYED: I am a Muslim. And I belong to the same society. And I understand
what symbols mean in my country. In my society, death means death.
MORIARITY: You don't think there's any other way of interpreting that?
SAYYED: I don't think so personally. When I say kill someone, it means kill
MORIARITY: After toiling in near obscurity for so long, Steve Emerson is
suddenly in demand. He regularly briefs government officials, and his new book,
"American Jihad," will be released this week. He believes that
putting heat on alleged Islamic extremists has already cooled down the
rhetoric. But that doesn't necessarily mean Americans are any safer.
EMERSON: The bottom line is that there are always going to be people who
hate us. And to the extent that they are able to hide under our radar screen,
that is exactly the vulnerability that gives them the explicit capability of