More on Walid Shoebat and CNN

CNN has now broadcast the second part of its investigation into into Walid Shoebat (I blogged on part one here), this time focusing on Shoebat’s finances and accountability. According to reporter Drew Griffin:

We couldn’t get a straight answer about anything from just about anybody.

The report includes a remarkable encounter with Shoebat’s handler Keith Davies at the recent Homeland Security conference in South Dakota:

Walid said that you would be able to tell us about your advisory board. You guys said you have generals and other high-ranking officials.

Correct, yeah.

Can you tell us who they are?

Erm… off the top of my head, yes. Let me see. Erm… I’m trying to think. The name’s gone blank. It’ll come back to me in a second… Major General… err… [sigh]… La. I can’t remember name… Erm… Four-star… there’s a three star general at the Air Force… Irish name… Thomas… I usually know these off by heart…

Griffin says that Davies (who occasionally stops by this blog to post goading comments) eventually came up with the name of a pilot, who did not respond calls for confirmation. It seems bizarre that Davies found it so difficult to come up with any name – and that such names are not in the public domain anyway. If there really is a general involved with Shoebat’s advisory board, the most likely candidate would be Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, a well-known Christian Right figure who spoke at an alternative Fort Hood Memorial event organised by Shoebat’s Forum For Middle East Understanding back in November (Robert Spencer was also a participant).

Public tax forms, CNN notes, name as board members Davies and Lance Silver, who is described as “a real-estate developer”. I looked at Silver – who has also been involved with the “Interfaith Taskforce for America and Israel” and the “America-Kurdistan Friendship League” (in the latter case alongside Jack Wheeler) back in 2008. According to CNN, the tax returns contain “very little information”. When asked for further details, Davies nodded towards other speaker stalls and complained that

You don’t ask anyone else here about the money.

He went on to explain that “most of the money goes to help persecuted Christians in the middle east that the media doesn’t want to talk about”. Shoebat was also asked for details about how he helps persecuted Christians:

 A lot of the times, if you disclose information who you’re helping, it ends up biting them.

This is an evasive reply – as I noted last month, Shoebat has claimed to be protecting families affected by some of the highest-profile cases of Christian persecution reported from Pakistan. And why does Shoebat require more secrecy than is the case for other Christian groups that work in this area, such as  Open Doors or Release International?

The CNN report ends with a statement from the federal Department of Homeland Security, which states that the DHS does not “tolerate” any programme “that relies on racial or ethnic profiling”.

Meanwhile, the Shoebat Foundation now has a fuller response on its website, disputing CNN’s account and alleging that CNN has worked secretly with “CAIR operatives” to carry out a “political assassination.” The response is difficult to follow, but the guts of it are that Griffin has lied about the checks he claims to have made into Shoebat’s terrorist background, and that Shoebat’s Palestinian relatives themselves have terror connections, which is why they lied to CNN about Shoebat not having been a terrorist. There are also further details about Shoebat’s purported links to known terrorists.

The reply also claims that Shoebat’s name would not appear in Israeli records because he used his mother’s maiden name in his US passport. Shoebat claims that he couldn’t divulge these details to CNN because “CNN refused to offer privacy”; perhaps this is a genuine concern, but based on Shoebat’s statements and a bit of googling I was able to track down the name on the internet quite easily. So, once again, there is no reason why the “proofs” which Shoebat showed Daniel Pipes in 2006 should not be made public.

However, as I’ve written before: Shoebat’s back-story may or may not be true. The question of whether he’s an appropriate speaker at Homeland Security events can be assessed by looking at his statements, which are so excessive as to be absurd.

27 Responses

  1. 1) Hmmm, can you give us your address? Home phone number? How about a photo copy of your passport, birth certificate, and oh yes, don’t forget your social security card.

    2) But I must give you some credit, that after reading Mr. Shoebat’s rebuttal, it seems that you do NOT say that he is a “fraud”, you simply have doubts either way. Well, this is fair. But common, CNN had the word “Fraud”? on the screen. Don’t you think its rather over the top?

    Now, if I asked you to present a shred of backup for CNN’s claim; a record, correspondence, police interview, official’s letter, emails, phone calls with anyone credible, would you be able to provide it?

    You can’t.

    Yet you seem to only pick on Shoebat, yet you ignored CNN’s sloppy evidence. What evidence?

    Why did you not pick on CNN?

    Perhaps because you have a liberal slant?

    • I think the ball is very much in Shoebat’s court. “You can’t prove that evidence I won’t produce doesn’t exist” sounds lame by anyone’s “slant”.

      • So I guess you want Shoebat to produce his jail records from 35 years ago? Or show a bombing report from 35 years ago? He confessed it. But you still fail to answer a simple question: Where is CNN’s evidence to have examined any prison records? Any government official in Israel stated that Shoebat was never in prison? If you can’t produce a legitimate argument, then you can’t state that Shoebat’s claim is false. Your argument sounds like if someone CONFESSED of having an affair 35 years ago and someone said it was false. Then you DEMAND he proves it? What do you expect? Explicit photos of the sexual act itself? Your response is absurd. A confession is more powerful argument then some media’s denial. A media that cannot produce evidence. Newt just nuked CNN’s smear campaign. Have an open mind.

  2. Thanks for this Richard. Very encouraging that the mainstream has got on Shoebat’s case but scary that he has been taken so seriously by so many.

    Has Walid Shoebat ever appeared in the UK? I ask because last year an old friend of mine told me that he saw a Palestinian speaker who had told the audience that he was raised as a Muslim to hate Jews. Could that have been Shoebat? It could be that he saw a video but I thought he was talking about a personal appearance.

  3. Its not the truth of the charges, rather the seriousness of the charge that matters… Lame indeed.

  4. The man is a ridiculous self-promoter who has made a career telling people exactly what they want to hear. Once you start with the “Obama is a secret Muslim puppet’ nonsense, no one should be listening to you. We have real problems in this world, and listening to a carnie barker like Shoebat will help solve none of them.

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