Copyright 2005 Fox News Network, LLC.
Fox News Network
SHOW: FOX HANNITY & CO 9:49 PM EST
September 16, 2005 Friday
SECTION: NEWS; Domestic
LENGTH: 1483 words
HEADLINE: Interview With Kareem Shora, Wayne Simmons
BYLINE: Rich Lowry, Alan Colmes
GUESTS: Kareem Shora, Wayne Simmons
LOWRY: Welcome back to “Hannity & Colmes.” I’m Rich Lowry, sitting in tonight for Sean Hannity.
Republican Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney isn’t backing down from comments he made this week about the federal government adopting more aggressive intelligence gathering methods.
Romney suggested that the FBI should conduct electronic surveillance of mosques suspected of harboring terrorists and closely monitor students from countries accused of sponsoring terrorism.
Civil libertarians and immigration advocates, of course, condemn the governor’s comments.
Joining us now is former CIA Operative Wayne Simons and from the Arab American Anti-discrimination Committee, Kareem Shora.
Thanks, both of you, for joining us.
Kareem, let me start with you. There is some history here. The first World Trade Center bombers used a mosque to plan, to plot strategy, and even to hide their materials. Surely you wouldn’t object to authorities monitoring and looking for that kind of activity.
KAREEM SHORA, AMERICAN ARAB ANTI-DISCRIMINATION DOT COME: Absolutely not. We would not object to that. The issue is the standard legal — legal standards of evidence here. There are legal standards of evidence within the U.S. Constitution.
And so long as they are used and respected, then mosques should absolutely not be exempt from wiretapping. And the Muslim and Arab American communities should absolutely respect that and accept that.
LOWRY: Great. And the governor did not advocate changing the legal standard. He talked about wiretaps, and to get a wiretap, it requires probable cause.
Now, let me also ask you, you would never want to see in this country the kind of tolerance they’ve had in Britain for imams and sheiks in these mosques sort of used as government free territory to advocate against the government and against the west, would you?
SHORA: Well, it depends on what you mean by advocate against. Obviously, we have a constitution that we need to respect and accept. This is what we’re fighting for, after all, Mr. Lowry, and I’m sure you understand that.
And so freedom of speech, the First Amendment, should be protected. In this case, we need to establish a balance. And I’m sure you would probably agree with that.
LOWRY: Sure, sure.
Wayne, everyone is in favor of balance. But we’ve — have had convictions in this country, a sheik down in Virginia who was convicted just for what he advocated, for advocating violence, for his words.
And it seems to me, Governor Romney is on the right track. We need more intelligence and we need preemption, because these aren’t the sort of crime you want to go out solving after they happen because then it’s too late.
WAYNE SIMMONS, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: That’s exactly right, Rich. And listen, we finally have a Republican governor taking a bold leadership position, stepping forward, taking a realistic look at — an innovative look at battling terrorism.
I battled these guys. I know how these guys work and how the narcoterorists work. I know what it takes to stop these animals.
What I doesn’t like, and it continues to happen, is that every time we get a leader who steps forward with these — with these bold new ways to combat terror, we have this constant outcry of, “Oh, gee, we need a fair and balanced way to trap these guys.”
The only country in the world that allows that attitude to happen is the United States, and they use it against us every time. They will continue to use it against us. And make no mistake about it: if we do not implement some type of what used to be called domestic operations division, and though it was a bad program used by the CIA because it was spying on Americans, it could still be implemented with restraints and with guards, safeguards to watch out for these criminals and these terrorists.
LOWRY: Wayne, it seems to me that whenever there’s a controversy like this, and someone makes perfectly reasonable comments like the governor and you have these groups going crazy, it serves as a sort of brush back pitch to the government and tends to make mosques an area that’s off limits, which would serve the interests of terrorists if they wanted to use those mosques.
SIMMONS: And that’s what’s happening. Look, if this were a Catholic church, and we knew that the IRA were harboring fugitives, and that they were planning bombs and planning attacks, make no mistake about it. The FBI, the great job that they’re doing…
SIMMONS: The FBI, they would move on them. And they would stop that.
COLMES: Let’s be clear about what the governor said.
SHORA: Let’s be clear about what he said.
COLMES: Kareem, I want to just re-emphasize and then get your response. This is what the governor said. He said “What about people in settings — mosques, mosques, forgive my pronunciation, for instance that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror, are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping?
He wasn’t specific. You have to have specific, credible evidence of a crime being committed. You can’t do it, Kareem, based on hate speech.
COLMES: Or what you deem to be hate speech. That was not specific enough.
SHORA: Exactly. And that’s where we stand against the governor and against Mr. Simons’s argument is mosques are not inherently dangerous places. And I would challenge Mr. Simmons…
SIMMONS: So you say.
COLMES: Hold on, Wayne. Hold on down. Go ahead.
SHORA: The situation is here we have a standard of laws that needs to be implemented and followed. However, mosques overall should not be viewed as inherently dangerous places that need to be wiretapped simply because they happen to be mosques.
COLMES: Wayne, you need probable cause. And if we’re going to treat mosques that way. Do we teach Catholic churches? Do they TV famous Protestant churches, synagogues? Shouldn’t they all be treated the same way or do you want to single out mosques?
SIMMONS: Alan, listen, you’re Alan. And I’m not saying that we should break the law. What I’m saying is that in today’s environment, we know for a fact that mosques today, right now, I know where some are, you probably do as well, and certainly the intelligence agencies do, are practicing speech, hatred speech…
COLMES: But that’s speech. You don’t wiretap because of speech, do you?
SIMMONS: No, no, this is a time of war, Alan. When you have — here you go again.
COLMES: you have to have credible evidence of a crime. You can’t do it based on speech.
SIMMONS: Alan, please. You know what happened to Great Britain. They allowed this to go on. They allowed this to fester and swell. They let this hatred continue to be preached. And it came back and we have people dead there.
COLMES: You need credible evidence of a crime. You can’t just wiretap on speech.
SIMMONS: And that’s all we’re saying. That’s all we’re asking for. That’s all we’re asking for.
SHORA: Then we probably agree but we should not have stereotype that all mosques are inherently dangerous.
LOWRY: We’ve got to rest. Coming up next, a trip down the aisle became a trip to the town jail for an entire wedding party. Well, the unbelievable story in just a moment. You won’t want to miss it. Stay with us.
COLMES: Finally tonight, one New York newlywed is learning the true meaning to the term ball and chain. Instead of spending his wedding night with his new bride, 29-year-old Joseph Fortunato spent the night in the White Plains, New York, jail on charges of first degree riot, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct.
The trouble started when another wedding party at the same hotel mistook one of Fortunato’s groomsmen for a photographer who was late to their ceremony.
More than 100 wedding guests became involved in the melee. It took every police officer on duty to break up the brawl. The groom was accompanied to jail by his father, the father of the bride, the best man and three other groomsmen.
The local police spokesman says the incident may have been alcohol driven. Here’s the problem. On “Hannity & Colmes,” we have these melees. We don’t even have that excuse. We can’t even use that excuse.
LOWRY: Well, it’s only right and loyal, Alan, right, that he’s escorted to the jail by his best man, right?
COLMES: They could have had the ceremony in jail, where some people think they’ll already wind up when they’re married.
LOWRY: This will be a hard — this will be a very hard wedding to rehearse, though, then. I want to see what wedding photo album looks like. That’s going to be very interesting.
LOWRY: A lot of mug shots.
COLMES: Very good.
Very nice to work with you again, Rich. Good job, as always.
LOWRY: All right. Thanks a lot, Alan.
COLMES: And we thank you so much for being here.
LOWRY: Thank you so much.
COLMES: All of the time we have left for this evening. We once again thank Rich Lowry, sitting in for Sean Hannity tonight. Thank you for watching “Hannity & Colmes.” Greta Van Susteren is coming up next to go “On the Record.” Thank you for watching us and have a great night.
LOAD-DATE: September 17, 2005
Copyright 2005 Fox News Network, LLC.