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TERRORIST AMONG US
Exposing jihad within
our borders

How Steve Emerson lives with death threat from militant Muslims
Posted: March 21, 2002
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Editor's note: In Steve Emerson's latest book, "American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us," he reveals how active Islamic terror cells have infiltrated the United States and explains the increasing threat the U.S. faces from them. Yesterday, WorldNetDaily published the first part of chapter 1, in which Emerson tells how he received a serious death threat as a result of his producing a TV documentary revealing the jihad agenda of radical Islamists in the U.S., forcing him to move and live underground to protect himself. Today's excerpt is the remainder of chapter 1 of "American Jihad."

 2002 Steve Emerson

The police taught me some techniques about living underground. Stay away from the windows. Vary your routine. The important thing is not to leave the house at the same time or take the same route to and from the office every day. When driving a car, make sure no one is following you. Do a quick U-turn every once in a while just to make sure. I did that many times.

"Be careful when you jog," they said. That was a big problem. I love to jog. It's my only opportunity to get outdoors and get my mind off things for a while. But jogging through Rock Creek Park at night promised maximum exposure. Now I had to develop a hundred different ways of leaving my apartment and winding through different streets in inconspicuous clothing in order to maintain my daily exercise. If I didn't, my health and sanity would probably collapse. It was trying and unnerving.

Along the way I had to decide whether this was all worth it. Did I really want to live this way? Couldn't I just move on to another subject and be just as effective as an investigator and reporter? I weighed the idea for a long time. But there was a stubborn resistance in me. I didn't like the idea of being intimidated. I'd be giving up an extremely good story. I honestly believed this was an important concern for everyone in the nation. I could see the momentum toward domestic terror building. I decided to go on.

One incident that severely affected the course of my reporting was the Oklahoma City bombing of April 1995. That ended up being an albatross around my neck. Less than six hours after the bombing I was asked on television whether I thought militant Islamic groups were involved. There was good reason for thinking they might be. The bombing, after all, was in Oklahoma City, where I had first encountered such militant groups in 1992. Several Hamas operatives were known to be living in the Oklahoma City area. At first, federal law enforcement officials were suspicious themselves.

When asked on a news program, I responded that "federal law enforcement officials" were investigating the possibility that militant Islamic groups were involved. This was true. I also said that "this [was] done with the attempt to inflict as many casualties as possible" and that "this is not the same type of bomb that has been traditionally used by other terrorist groups in the United States other than the Islamic militant ones." All this was interpreted as my saying point-blank that militant Muslim groups were involved.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the American Muslim Council (AMC), and other organizations immediately took offense. Then when Timothy McVeigh was arrested and it turned out domestic terrorists were responsible, Muslim groups claimed they were the real victims. "Surge in hate crimes against Muslims," was the story on the front page of The New York Times based, I believe, entirely on unsubstantiated information fed to them by CAIR. The Boston Globe, The New York Times, ABC-TV, National Public Radio even news outlets that had themselves originally reported that Muslims were among the suspects now took the position that I was the only one who had suggested this. I became persona non grata in many places, including at CBS, which had hired me less than 24 hours after the bombing to be a consultant. They ended up blacklisting me for five years. Dan Rather contended, "It was Emerson who misled us."

Still, the news media didn't give up the story themselves. At one point Newsweek called up and said, "We'll give you $10,000 to help write our cover story." They were looking for a militant Muslim connection. "Save your money," I told them. "They didn't do it." As soon as the details of the McVeigh arrest emerged, it was obvious that he was responsible and had probably acted nearly alone. Up to that point I had suspected that Islamic radicals were involved. Now I realized I was wrong. I've never wavered from that since then, and I have refused to support the conspiracy theorists who insist that McVeigh himself was actually involved with Muslim groups. But to this day I regret my hasty comments.

Meanwhile, I continued to discover more information at The Investigative Project. People in law enforcement would regularly come to me with new data, records and documents. The most disturbing were the calls I would get from federal law enforcement agents who had information and wanted to follow up but were being prevented by their superiors who weren't interested in these things. More and more, these disgruntled agents turned to us with information that they weren't allowed to pursue themselves.

Our operations became more sophisticated and far-reaching. One of the unexplored mountains of evidence we inherited, for example, was the trial exhibits from the first World Trade Center bombing. Included were the records of thousands of phone calls made by the suspects to the Middle East and other parts of the world. We knew the individuals who were placing the calls, but we couldn't tell who had received them. Yet it was obvious that this was the key to investigating how far the network of international terrorism had extended.

We divided the list of calls up country by country. Then, we engaged a number of Arabic speakers and started making cold calls. Every night at midnight when the tolls were low and it was daylight on the other side of the world we would begin dialing numbers in the Middle East. When someone picked up we would engage him in random, nondescript conversation. "How are you? How are things going? I'm calling from the U.S. Do you want to know what's happening here?" One way or another we tried to get them to talk to us.

See also
Exposing Jihad Within Our Borders
Terrorists In Our Midst
Jihad In America
Emerson goes underground

Read Emerson's entire story in "American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us," available at ShopNetDaily.

Also available is Emerson's video, "Terrorists Among Us: Jihad in America"

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