|Saudi Foreign Affairs Advisor Adel al-Jubeir|
FOXFan.com: Where you surprised when Prince Bandar called in yesterday?
Linda Vester: I was very surprised. I didn’t expect anyone in the Saudi government to be paying such close attention.
FOXFan.com: Where did the idea for “Where’s Adel” originate?
Vester: For a year I’ve been trying to get Saudi Foreign Affairs Advisor Adel al-Jubeir on the show. Every time, he finds an excuse not to show up. Sometimes he cancels at the last minute or sometimes he just doesn’t show. The last time, we called him to ask where he wanted us to send a car to pick him up and then got the phone call too close to airtime saying he couldn’t make it.
FOXFan.com: You told Prince Bandar on the air yesterday that his people were rude to you.
Vester: Prince Bandar’s top aide in Washington DC is a man who is incredibly rude. I was invited by the Prince for a function last year and made a point to specifically to talk to his aide. I wanted to ask him about getting Prince Bandar to come on the show and address having a more open relationship with the Saudi government. When I started to talk to this guy, he just stared daggers at me and began to brush me off. My husband and I tried to continue the conversation, but he just said “excuse me” and sort of flipped me off and went to go talk to other people. I followed him because I wasn’t going to let it drop and the more I followed him, the ruder he got. Finally, we left even though we had told the Saudi people ahead of time that we were coming to the party to establish better communications. After that, I called their PR flak and said, “You guys are beyond rude. I don’t know what message you are trying to get across to the American media but it stinks.”
FOXFan.com: So what happened after you aired the segment?
Vester: Their PR flak called and was very angry and said to our producer, “That wasn’t funny.” I told her to tell him back that I didn’t intend it to be funny. I’m serious. We’ve had it. These guys are duplicitous. "I’m just going to tell viewers like it is." And he said, “Well Prince Bandar wants to speak to you.” We were planning to have the band "Hanson" perform a song from their newest album. We had to ask them if they wouldn’t mind taping the performance later, because we figured if the Prince was going to call in, we owed him the courtesy of giving him some airtime.
FOXFan.com: Why are Arab leaders reluctant to speak out publicly about Nick Berg’s death?
Vester: They are so afraid of the Islamic extremists. They are afraid that if they speak out against them, they will rise up and chuck them out of power. And these Arab heads of state want to stay in power, so they’re not going to mess with it.
FOXFan.com: What are some of the most important unanswered questions when it comes to the Saudis?
Vester: The Saudis are still not being honest about controlling the Islamic extremists. Once and for all they’ve got to acknowledge that Islamic extremism was born in their country — supported by their government. It was a deal the royal family made years ago to assure themselves a continued seat in power. Now it has come back as a monster. It’s a giant Frankenstein for them and the rest of the world. They’re still not realistic about it, and they’re still not truly committed to fighting it. If they were, they would actively encourage dialogue among Muslims. These radicals are saying if you don’t live the way it was in the 7th century, you’re an infidel. Well that’s a big problem. The more you let those people control the dialogue, which is what the Saudis have done, the more they will destroy the society.
FOXFan.com: Do you think Prince Bandar will honor his promise to come on "DaySide"?
Vester: He said he will come on as soon as he gets back to this country, and I don’t believe him for a second.
FOXFan.com: If he does, what do you hope the American people will take away from your exchange with him?
Vester: I’m not rude, that’s not my way, but I will be unrelenting in my questions about the Saudi government’s support for Islamic extremism and about key people in their government who continue to spout hateful propaganda. The Crown Prince — and this has been documented — said that the people behind the most recent attack in their country on May 1st were the Jews. The article is up on my desk. I will quote that to Prince Bandar, if he ever shows up, and I will make him answer to that.
FOXFan.com: Who are some Arab leaders who have the potential to lead the region if they step up to the plate?
Vester: The King of Jordan and the King of Morocco. They are both younger guys. If they found the courage, they could really be forces for change.
FOXFan.com: Terror analyst Evan Kohlmann said on your show that a lot of people don’t see the writing on the wall when it comes to the Saudis. Do you think other mainstream media outlets are neglecting to examine sufficiently the Saudi relationship to terror?
Vester: Number one, the Saudi government totally stonewalls all Western media. They won’t grant FOX or anyone else visas. If we can’t get in the country, we can’t examine what is really going on. Number two, I’m not sure other networks have the same leadership that FOX News has. My bosses here say, “Yeah this needs to be said. It’s okay Linda, you can go out and say it.” So I can be blunt and say “Where’s Adel?” If I were at any other network, they would be too afraid. So I think there are journalists who would really like to expose the realities but the higher-ups at the other networks are a little too nervous. Not to toot FOX’s own horn, but I think the leadership here has got more guts and is not afraid to say, “Go for it.”
Watch "DaySide w/ Linda Vester" weekdays at 1 pm ET!