After the Boston massacre, is ‘Al Jazeera America’ such a good idea?

Special to

By Cliff Kincaid

CNN has been criticized for reporting the arrest of a suspect in the Boston bombing case when no one in fact had been arrested. The channel was apparently given inaccurate information by an anonymous official.

Even more serious, however, was the claim by CNN’s “terrorism analyst,” Juliette Kayyem, that the Islamic terrorists who reportedly carried out the Boston bombings were not Islamic terrorists.

Juliette Kayyem.
Juliette Kayyem.

Identified as “the most senior Arab American female appointee in the Obama administration,” where she served as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, Kayyem told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Saturday that the words “Islamic terrorists” were not appropriate in this case and that she had a “fear” of linking Muslims to terror.

CNN itself reported on April 16, “Juliette Kayyem, CNN contributor and former U.S. assistant secretary for homeland security, cautioned against putting too much stock in the early reports of Arab involvement.”

This is the person who helped coordinate the Obama administration’s response to Al Qaida, including in Boston itself, before the deadly bombings.

Since leaving the administration she has emerged as the most prominent former Obama administration official who has publicly supported terror TV channel Al Jazeera’s penetration of the U.S. media market.

The new “Al Jazeera America” has already announced it will open a “news bureau” in Detroit, an area with one of the largest concentrations of Arabs and Muslims outside the Middle East.

Kayyem, a Boston Globe columnist, is the former homeland security adviser to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and is said to have “helped coordinate Boston Marathon security in years past …” After that, she served President Obama as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.

“As Assistant Secretary,” her biography states, “Ms. Kayyem was responsible for coordinated and consistent planning between the Department and all of its state, local, tribal, and territorial partners on issues as varied as immigration, intelligence sharing, military affairs, border security, and the response to operational events such as H1N1 influenza outbreak, the December 25th attempted terrorist attack, the Haiti earthquake, and the BP oil spill.”

She wrote a Sept. 20, 2011, column entitled, “The war on terror is over,” trashing officials of the Bush administration for their “militaristic” approach to defeating the Islamists.

She had previously written a column for The Boston Globe accusing Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) of “anti-Muslim paranoia” for raising questions about Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the Obama administration.

Speaking early in the morning on Saturday, April 19, CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out the obvious, based on previous reporting: “It certainly seems as though these individuals are Islamic terrorists.” Kayyem shot back, “… those are two separate words at this stage, because I think after 9/11 we have this fear of tying a Muslim with terrorism. We shouldn’t do that.”

By this point it was known they were Muslims and that they were accused of the Boston bombings.

She told Tapper, “But in terms of why they did this, this is where it gets really too early to say. That they are from a certain part of the world, or that they have a certain religion, it really is something that we — we just don’t know. They could have very possibly self-radicalized and then planned this on their own with no ties to anyone else, or one, or maybe one or two other people. But some foreign conspiracy, it’s hard to — there is no proof of it yet.”

Perhaps this mind-set explains why she made headlines as the highest ranking former Obama official to urge U.S. cable and satellite providers to carry Al Jazeera into American homes.

In her column, “Let US see Al Jazeera,” Kayyem termed Al Jazeera English “the cousin to the powerful Qatar-based world news network,” without any reference to its service on behalf of Al Qaida and other terrorist groups. It was a strange omission by someone supposedly interested in the truth about Islamic terrorism and the dangers it represents.

Writing at the American Thinker about Kayyem’s campaign for Al Jazeera, Ed Lasky wrote, “What could go wrong? What harm could more inflammatory misinformation cause? Have we not learned anything the last few years about how people such as Nidal Hasan can be driven to kill by propaganda?”

Hasan was not “self-radicalized,” as Kayyem might put it, but indoctrinated and incited to violence by foreign jihadists who want to kill Americans.

Hasan carried out the massacre at Fort Hood after communicating with jihadists abroad, mostly through the Internet. Al Jazeera would bring these incendiary and anti-American messages into 40-50 million Americans homes, including Detroit, known as the Arab capital of North America, through the new “Al Jazeera America.”

Nevertheless, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) is letting the deal go through without any hearings.

Dr. Judea Pearl, the father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl, supports an investigation of the deal and says, “Al Jazeera weaves the ideological structure and combustible angers from which Jihadi recruits eventually emerge.”

Do we want to increase the dangers of more Boston massacre-type bombings in America by letting “Al Jazeera America” establish “news bureaus” in Detroit and 11 other American cities?

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at [email protected].