Fox News Network
July 20, 2007 Friday
SHOW: FOX HANNITY & CO 9:00 PM EST
Protecting John Doe
BYLINE: Sean Hannity; Alan Colmes
GUESTS: Hany Mawla
SECTION: NEWS; Domestic
LENGTH: 1659 words
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST (voice-over): Tonight on “Hannity & Colmes,” oh no,
John Doe. Congress says no to legislation protecting people who anonymously report suspicious behavior. Whatever happened to “if you see something, say something”?
Not fair. The Senate kills Norm Coleman‘s attempt to stop the Fairness Doctrine. Senator Coleman is here.
Outrage. The fallout from Michael Vick‘s dogfighting charges continue. All that, plus, are we being sabotaged. America‘s enemies within the CIA, and is this the kind of sex education the candidates want in school? “Hannity & Colmes” starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: Welcome to “Hannity & Colmes.” I‘m Alan Colmes.
We get right to our top story tonight. House Democrats have, in fact, removed the John Doe provision from homeland security legislation that would protect whistleblowers like the passengers who reported what they believed to be suspicious behavior by several imams on a U.S. Airways flight late last year. The so-called flying imams and their attorneys have threatened to sue the passengers for discrimination. Earlier this year, and exclusively on “Hannity‘s America,” Sean played interviews with some of the passengers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all were sitting down, and these men just didn‘t get it. You know, we had our seat belts on. We had been sitting down for 15 minutes. And they kept getting up out of their seats, walking back and forth to each other from the front of the plane, to the rear of the plane, to the middle of the plane. For whatever reason, it just caused so much suspicion.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two of them that were right in front of us were having a little trouble with seatbelts, and they had seatbelt extensions they asked for. None of these guys are real big, probably 140 pounds, the one guy. Another guy that was on the other side of him was probably 160, 180, something like that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But as soon as we sat down, and these men just kept looking back and forth to each other and obviously wouldn‘t get in, you know, sit down like they should have, that, right away–everybody, there was something going on. Everybody was fearful. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COLMES: And joining us now with more on this story, radio talk show Dennis Prager and, from the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Hany Mawla.
Thank you very much for being with us.
HANY MAWLA, AMER-ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION COMMITTEE: Thank you.
COLMES: Let me ask you about why–you know, Democrats are getting beating up over this, and it‘s being presented as they don‘t care about protecting whistleblowers. Is that not a good argument?
MAWLA: It really isn‘t a good argument, because I have to approach things from my point of view in life. And, basically, you know, I approach things, I think of things, because I‘m a lawyer, I think of things in that context. Our system of law has already, within it, built-in protections for whistleblowers, so to speak. We have a system. We have a long progeny of case law from the United States Supreme Court that deals with this issue of libel and slander. And so our system of law cherishes everyone having their day in court.
COLMES: And could this lead to profiling?
MAWLA: And it certainly could lead to profiling. And more importantly than that, it‘s going to, in my opinion, lead to a breakdown of civil society.
COLMES: And, Dennis, welcome back to our show, Dennis. You know, the fact is, if you truthfully report to a law enforcement official things that are accurate, that are true, you don‘t have any liability for what that law enforcement official then does, so there really shouldn‘t be a problem.
DENNIS PRAGER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, there is a problem, because it won‘t be established that you don‘t have liability until you‘ve paid about $100,000 in lawyers‘ fees, which you can never recoup because we don‘t have a loser pays, because the Democrats are against that, too. The Democrats aren‘t as serious as Republicans about national security, Alan. And that‘s what this will be understood by the vast majority of Americans.
COLMES: That‘s how you want to spin it.
PRAGER: It‘s not a matter of spinning it. Alan, there are signs all over the place. You yourself said it. If you see something, say something. Why will I say something if I know that I can be brought to court if what I saw does not turn out to be terrorists?
COLMES: As Hannity pointed out, for example, one thing, if you‘re accurately reporting what you see, you don‘t have a problem. If you feel, Dennis, you‘re being profiled illegally, should you be able to get redress in a court of law?
PRAGER: Yes, but that is if an institution discriminates against you.
But when there are reasons for John Doe–this is not American Airlines, this is John Doe. John Doe sees something. He will no longer
— once this is passed, he will no longer report it. I wouldn‘t report
it. I am not prepared for the fallout, because there‘s a good chance it won‘t lead to terror. And if it doesn‘t lead to terror, I look then like this gentleman will say, he will say this is Islamic filing, you know, profiling.
COLMES: Hany, this could lead to a lot of senseless litigation, because you‘ve got to make a good faith report to the authorities. And who‘s going to decide what good faith is in a situation like this?
MAWLA: That‘s why we have a system of law. That‘s why we have courts to adjudicate this matter. Let‘s not forget that we‘re a system that prides ourselves, excuse me, on everyone having their day in court.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And what about free speech rights? And let me ask you this simple, simple question. Don‘t you want people in a post-9/11 world, if they see suspicious behavior, to report it? Don‘t they have an obligation to do so?
MAWLA: Absolutely. And let me suggest that you and I, if we‘re in a situation like that, we‘re not going to necessarily be thinking about court costs and fees. We‘re going to report it.
HANNITY: But not necessarily. Congressional Democrats declined yesterday to protect these tipsters. Let me give you the case of the imams. I want our audience to watch this. This is one police report, one passenger. This is another police report, another passenger, another passenger, another passenger, another passenger. These are all individual reports. I‘ve got 10 more pages here of people that said all these imams were acting erratically, that they were, you know, cursing U.S. involvement with Saddam, et cetera, saying Allah, Allah, Allah, being loud, skinny people asking for seatbelt extensions. Doesn‘t that sound suspicious to you?
MAWLA: In fact, it does. But the bottom line is, whatever dispute these people have should be hashed out in court. That‘s what our system is based upon.
HANNITY: Why should it be hashed out in court? If you believe in freedom of speech, if you believe citizens have an obligation to report suspicious behavior, then at that point they ought to be able to do so without the threat or the intimidation that somebody will try and take them to court and bankrupt them.
MAWLA: The problem with doing something like that is, is you stand to protect dishonest individuals, and that‘s exactly what our court system tries to not do.
HANNITY: But won‘t law enforcement vet that out?
MAWLA: Well, law enforcement will vet that out, but the only finder of fact and the only way you can get to the bottom of things, i.e., justice, is through a court system. And what you‘re doing here is you‘re trying individuals before they even step foot in a court.
HANNITY: This is intimidation. Dennis, I think this is about intimidation here. I think this will silence people that would otherwise be outspoken. And I think it makes it more dangerous for all of us.
PRAGER: Sean, let me go on record as saying that, if the Democrats get their way on this, I will not report suspicious behavior, and I can afford a lawyer, and I am well-known, and I have credibility. I will not go through the system. Forget it. I will not report. And if I‘m blown up, you can thank the Democratic Party and this gentleman defending the so- called judicial process.
HANNITY: You know, I even interviewed now, Dennis, a number of the passengers on the plane. We just showed some of it here. A couple of them said to me that they thought that what was happening here was purposeful, that this would bring about a lawsuit, that this was by design. Does that sound conspiratorial to you or does that sound potentially realistic?
PRAGER: I don‘t know the specifics. I know these circumstances, but I cannot know what was in their mind. I do believe that the people who reported these imams did so in good faith. There is no epidemic of Islamophobia in America. There is no epidemic of racial profiling.
I was on a plane from Toronto last week where a Muslim with a Muslim skull cap, and a beard, and in every possible way looking like a Muslim from Pakistan or anywhere, was coming on my plane. No one did anything, because he was just another passenger. We live in a very unbelievably tolerant country called the U.S. of A. The Democrats don‘t believe they live in a tolerant country. They believe, as almost everyone on the left does, that Americans by and large are bigoted, homophobic, sexist and racist.
COLMES: Thanks for speaking for me and everybody on the left, Dennis.
And when you get blown up, it will be my fault, OK?
COLMES: Thank you for letting me know that. I need a lawyer so maybe Hany will be on my side. Hany, thanks for being with us. Dennis, thank you.
MAWLA: Thank you for having me.
COLMES: Still ahead tonight, talk of the Fairness Doctrine lives on, as the Senate kills Senator Norm Coleman‘s attempt to stop its return. We‘ll speak with Senator Coleman.
And it‘s the story that has everybody from the NFL to members of Congress to animal rights activists outraged. The Michael Vick dogfighting case, will the NFL pull the plug on one of its stars? We‘ll tell you about it, coming up.
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