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Studio B Hypes O'Reilly/Al-Arian Link

Reported by Donna - June 6, 2005

Today on Studio B with Shepard Smith, he interviewed a man who had sued the Federal Government for not arresting Sami Al-Arian.

Former Federal Prosecutor, John Loftus, said in his suit that the U.S. Government knew this man was a terrorist for decades and didn't do anything about it. Smith asked why the Federal Government would do this.

Loftus claimed that all of the money for the charities was being laundered by the Saudis for every terrorist group you can think of. He also stated that they were getting tax deductions for terrorism and the U.S. government wasn't doing anything, therefore, he brought forth the suit. Shortly after his suit, the raids started on Sami Al-Arian.

The following is a paraphrased (but pretty much verbatim) bizarre conversation between Smith and Loftus.

Shepard Smith: You're saying the U.S. government was turning a blind eye towards terrorists who were sponsoring the murder of people, turning a blind eye, because of our quote "friendship and tax dollars." That is what you're alleging isn't it?

John Loftus: It's even harsher than that. One of my friends in the intelligence agency said we knew that the Saudi's were laundering money through American charities but they were only killing Jews, they weren't killing Americans. Now, that kind of bigoted indifference all changed after 9/11.

Did the U.S. know that Saudi Arabia was funding terrorism from the U.S.? Absolutely. They have wire taps for Sami Al-Arian going back to the 1980's.

SS: And yet, he was a professor for a State University?

JL: He was more than that, he was an informant for the FBI. Why do you think he wasn't prosecuted?

SS: Hmm...Well, it's going to be an interesting trial to watch. O'Reilly will have more on this. Let's face it, O'Reilly was one of the early media shows on this and had one of the first interviews with Sami Al-Arian.

Comment: It seemed that Smith was putting Loftus out there as some bizarre character. I don't know the validity of Loftus' lawsuit, this is the first I've heard about it. It does make an interesting point about Saudi charities and our buddy-buddy friendship with the Saudi's (Don't look at me, I don't hold hands with them).

As for O'Reilly being one of the first media shows out there on Sami Al-Arian, his story was covered quite completely from 1991 forward in Florida. An investigation began in 1991 and wiretaps on his phones and faxes were started in 1994 and continued until 2000. In fact, one of O'Reilly's favorite publications, the St. Petersburg Times, covered the Sami Al-Arian story for many years before O'Reilly interviewed him in the fall of 2001.

But mainly, I think the story was put out there as a build up for O'Reilly's show at 8 p.m. and to give O'Reilly a pat on the back.

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