Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Interview with Fox's Bill Hemmer on King Hearings

Here is the video.

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Congressman Peter King now, new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee responding to critics of his plans for hearings from the -- on the threat from Islamic terrorism in America.

He's a New York Republican. He said this last hour here in AMERICA'S NEWSROOM with Martha. Roll this:


REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y., HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: My goal, first of all, is to make it known and make the public aware and to begin a public debate on the fact that al Qaeda is actively recruiting within the Muslim community.

This isn't just me saying this. There's Attorney General Eric Holder, a very liberal attorney general, by the way, said just about five weeks ago that he can't sleep at night because of the number of young Muslim men who have been radicalized to take up arms against their country. These are American citizens. People living here, legally in this country, are taking up arms against their country.


HEMMER: All right. So Peter King is not backing down.

Corey Saylor is with CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
And sir, good morning to you.

SAYLOR: Good morning, Bill.

HEMMER: Peter King, you heard it. He said his goal is to make the public aware that al Qaeda is working to recruit Americans. What's wrong with that? Trying to figure that out.

COREY SAYLOR, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: Well, he's actually changing his talking points. How he started off -- and you can go back and check his interview with Bill O'Reilly -- is saying that 85 percent of American Muslim leadership in this country is an enemy living amongst us. And even yesterday he acknowledged to FOX News that that number comes from one individual who'd never provided any documentation to back it up.

And that's where my real concern comes. I have facts -- Rand Corporation, Congressional Research Service, Duke University -- that offer contradictory evidence to what Congressman King is saying.

HEMMER: And part of the reason you hold these hearings --

SAYLOR: And yet he wants to keep throwing out --


HEMMER: Part of the reason you hold these hearings is to figure out what the facts are. Are you denying that al Qaeda is not recruiting Americans?

SAYLOR: Well, I think any attempt by anyone to recruit Americans, even one individual, is something to be concerned about. But, again, if these hearings were going to be sober and objective I wouldn't have a concern.

HEMMER: Well, they haven't happened yet.

SAYLOR: Hang on, Bill. Hang on, Bill.


HEMMER: They might be. Go to his point about Muslim --

SAYLOR: They might not be, Bill. And that's the point.

HEMMER: Yes. Are -- King is worried about Muslim leaders not speaking out about the issue. Are Muslim leaders and mosques across America holding back?

SAYLOR: Once again, King has said there are too many mosques in America. He recently implied that -- that Muslims may not be Americans on a radio show. I can show you in these reports that I'm holding up, instances in which Muslim leadership have cooperated with law enforcement, have reported people of concern, and yet Congressman King does not want to acknowledge that.

HEMMER: I understand that. But again that's why you hold --

SAYLOR: He continues to advance allegations that have no substance.

HEMMER: That's why you hold a hearing and he told Martha last hour that he would allow law enforcement to testify during these hearings, do we'll take him at his word. But back to my two questions. Is al Qaeda recruiting in America, yes or no?

SAYLOR: Absolutely. We know that. But what you have to do is make sure we have a sober and objective understanding of that. Not Congressman King's lashing out --

HEMMER: OK. It's a yes. Now do you believe --

SAYLOR: People with pitch forks, 85 percent, which he cannot substantiate, and American Muslims may not be Americans. In his view. Eighty-five percent of the leadership is not cooperating. That's just absolutely unsubstantiated.

HEMMER: So, Mr. Saylor, yes -- but you just said, you know, al Qaeda is recruiting in America and we have examples. A kid drives from Denver, Colorado, into New York, to bomb the city. And you could go on many from there. On Muslim leaders --

SAYLOR: And we have --


HEMMER: Are Muslim leaders in America --


HEMMER: -- saying enough to help their fellow Americans to stop this before one of these guys is successful?

SAYLOR: Well, let me just give you a couple -- personal examples, Bill. In 2006 I went to Baghdad to appeal for the release of a journalist who had been kidnapped. More recently some families came to us from Virginia, told us about their concerns, about some of their family members, and we connected them with the FBI.

But also, keep in mind, in 2008 our Los Angeles office reported somebody of concern to the FBI. A year later that person turned out to be an FBI informant.


SAYLOR: So I'm convinced that our community is doing the right thing.

HEMMER: OK. And that -- I think that's good.

SAYLOR: I'm not convinced of -- hang on. What I'm not convinced of is the fact that Peter King is going to hold sober and objective hearings based on statements like there are too many mosques in America.

HEMMER: OK. I got it. Corey Saylor, thank you for coming in today. That's why they hold hearings. We will watch it very closely and while it happens or after we'll bring you back on and get you to respond again. OK. Appreciate you coming on.

SAYLOR: Thanks so much, Bill and Martha.

HEMMER: Thank you, out of Washington.

February 9, 2011

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