Steven Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism and author of six books on national security and Islamic terrorism blasted a writer on a Jewish news site, Haaretz, on Wednesday who accused him of falsifying a report that the U.S. denied claim FBI withheld info on missing IDF Israeli soldier during the Gaza war that occurred a few months ago.
Barak Ravid of Haaretz accused Emerson of being a right-wing Republican, an islamophobic and that he incites against the Islamic community and stated that Emerson was incorrect by saying that U.S. officials ignored Israel’s request for help. Ravid contends by believing un-named U.S. officials in the Obama administration, who supposedly told him that Emerson’s claims were “incorrect and misleading.” The officials also supposedly said that three media reports “only contribute to the public’s understanding about the extent of efforts that both the U.S and Israeli government undertook in the search for Corporal Shaul.”
Emerson responded to Ravid by saying, “You published an attack on me and my reporting without providing a shred of evidence to back up your assertions. My Israeli lawyer sent this letter to you more than 24 hours ago, but no response has been received. I repeat my question: Do you have the intellectual guts or honesty to publish such a letter? The answer appears to be no. And that should tell your readers volumes about your intellectual honesty or lack thereof.”
“In uncritically publishing the statement of senior U.S. officials criticizing my article regarding the retraction of the U.S. Government’s offer to help in the search for Shaul Oron, the IDF soldier taken by Hamas, Haaretz has proven its manifest left-wing political agenda… that a newspaper that is championed and promoted so many times by Hamas and its terrorist front groups in the West devotes such a lengthy portion of its article to attacking me is not a coincidence, “Emerson said.
Emerson went on to say, “If the Haaretz author had done his homework, he would have seen that I am not a “right wing Republican;” I have written critical articles about President Obama, but I did the same for President Bush when I thought it necessary. Further, my investigative reporting has been praised by the entire political spectrum from the left to the right, in addition to having been awarded numerous prestigious journalistic awards.”
Ravid’s response came when Emerson reported on October 17, 2014 that when an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier was captured by the terrorist organization, Hamas, Israel made an urgent appeal to the FBI for help in locating Israeli soldier, St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul. However, the FBI backed away from the request due to a decision made by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s office.
Citing official sources, Emerson reported that on July 21 that the FBI contacted a U.S. Attorney’s Office in a nearby district to initiate the legal process to get a court order to serve Facebook for server information on the account belonging to the soldier. Emerson said that in a released email, the FBI noted there was unusual activity on Oron’s Facebook account after his kidnapping and said it needed more information from Facebook that it could only obtain with a court order to be able to determine what HAMAS was doing with Oron’s Facebook account.
A day later, the US Attorney’s Office received an unexpected response from the FBI that said, “Thank You for your effort, input and assistance. I regret to inform you we have been denied approval to move forward with legal process.” Emerson ended his report by saying, “Why would Eric Holder’s office reverse such a request, especially since it was so urgent and came from such a close ally? And if it was not the attorney-general’s office who reversed the request, and then who did? It could only have come from someone very senior in the US government.”
The complete letter to Barak Ravid of Haaretz can be obtained here.