This partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, February 12, 2002 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House.
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COLMES: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I'm Alan Colmes.
Coming up tonight: Has Ted Turner finally gone too far? What did he mean when he said the September 11 terrorists were brave? We'll debate it. And is attacking Democrats under the guise of patriotism the act of compassionate conservatives? We'll debate that.
First, are we doing enough to fight eco-terrorism? Hearings were held on Capitol Hill today to investigate how fringe environmental groups, including the Earth Liberation Front, have used tactics like arson, harassment of federal employees and theft to promote their political agenda. How much of a threat are these groups? And what can be done to stop them?
We're joined by Colorado Republican Congressman Scott McInnis, who chaired today's hearings of the subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health.
Representative McInnis, it's good to have you with us.
I think we side together on this, although I know that you're over there on the right. But you're absolutely correct. This is a threat. And we invited somebody from the Earth Liberation Front to join us, but they haven't responded positively to coming on this program. Tell us what is going on and what happened at the hearing today.
REP. SCOTT MCINNIS (R), COLORADO: Well, let me tell you that the Federal Bureau of Investigation classifies these groups, groups like the ELF the ARF (ph) group, as the No. 1 domestic threat in the nation. And that's above Aryan nations or anybody else.
These people have -- in their DNA, they've got destruction. And their method or their vehicle to get their message across is destruction. And so far they haven't taken a human life. They've destroyed tens of millions of dollars in property, but it won't be long.
COLMES: Sixty incidents since 1996, $43.5 million worth of damage. They've taken credit for a fire at the Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington in May of 2001. In your district, Vail, they did damage to a resort.
MCINNIS: That's right.
And let me tell you that, prior to September 11, they would have an incident every two days. Since September 11, they have had an incident that they claim credit for every four days. And this is destruction on everything from horse corrals to research laboratories.
COLMES: Here is what I don't get. By spiking trees, setting fire to wild horse facilities, as they've done, they're destroying the very thing they say they want to protect, aren't they?
MCINNIS: Well, the United States happens to give them the best opportunity anywhere in the world for an open forum, whether it's a city council meeting, whether it's the United States Congress.
But these people have decided, instead of debating in an open and fair forum, to use the method of destruction and throw fear into people and try and communicate the message that way. They're very disillusioned people.
COLMES: In 2001, there were 173 threats against Forest Service employees, 25 involving a serious felony or misdemeanor. Four men dragged a law enforcement officer out of his car in Santa Fe and caused some serious damage. What's being done about this? And what else can we do that we're not doing?
MCINNIS: Well, we do the same thing as we do with other law enforcement agencies. As you know, we have state police officers or city police officers that face these kinds of incidents all the time.
And so, when we have people out there in the field like Forest Service employees or others that are carrying out law enforcement duties and responsibilities, we need to give them the protection. And, in most cases, that protection is in existence and we have laws that prevent it from going further.
HANNITY: Congressman, welcome to the show. Sean Hannity.
I think we've got to be frank here, congressman. If these were pro-life groups that were involved in these types of activities, there would be widespread condemnation in every editorial page in every newspaper all across the country. If the threat that you are describing here were from a pro-life group, it would be all over the network news at night. We've heard virtually nothing here. But you're saying it is the number one threat we have as it relates to terrorism in America.
MCINNIS: I'm repeating what the Federal Bureau of Investigation classifies as their number one domestic threat in the United States of America. And that is these two organizations.
And, Sean, you are absolutely right. If this were an abortion case, this would be worldwide news. But now we have trouble getting it to the front page.
HANNITY: Yes. And clearly there's a lot of information that I'm gathering from reading materials that I have on this particular group here.
But, before we go any further, why do you think that is, though? Why, if there was a pro-life group, would it be treated one way in the media? And why, because this -- quote -- is seen as an environmental group but yet the number one terror threat in the country, why is it ignored by the
MCINNIS: Well, let me tell you that some of these groups have kind of gathered a Robin Hood mystique. At least that was prior to September 11. And they're not taking on the women's organizations. You know, the environmental terrorists are not taking on the women's organizations.
Abortion is a different issue in that it deals with a population that's very powerful out there. But I wish that -- both of these are wrong, whether you bomb an abortion clinic or carry out a terrorist threat
against somebody who's against abortion or this kind of thing.
But let me say one other thing. I would invite your viewers there, pull up the Web page on these organizations, their front page. It's terrible.
HANNITY: Yes, I've looked at their Web site. Some of their guidelines for direct action, to inflict economic damage on those profiting from the destruction and exploitation of the natural environment and on and on.
Can I ask you what you expect from this group? And how would it affect the average person that's watching this program now? Should they be fearful of this group?
MCINNIS: Well, I think so. I think that what we've got to have is kind of crime watchers across the country. Watch out for these people. As I said, they burn university research labs and so on. So, yes, there's something to fear.
And this group, we didn't expect them to cooperate today. But one of these days, they're going to leave their fingerprints on one of these destructive things that they do and we're going to nail them, I think
thanks to help from citizens.
COLMES: Congressman McInnis, thank you for coming on to talk about this important issue.
MCINNIS: You betcha. Nice to talk to both of you.
COLMES: Thank you for being here.
MCINNIS: All right, good night.
COLMES: Thank you, sir.
Coming up next: Media mogul Ted Turner is at it again. Find out what he said this time. And Ken Lay becomes the sixth person to plead the Fifth before the Senate committee today. Is he only incriminating himself even more? We'll debate that later on HANNITY & COLMES.
Click here to order last night's entire transcript.
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