Radicalization of Americans?

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," March 7, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


DENIS MCDONOUGH, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECUR ITY ADVISER: We must resolve that in our determination to protect the nation we will not stigmatize or demonize entire communities because of the actions of a few. In the United States of America we don't practice guilt by association.

REP. PETER KING, R-N.Y., HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: Our Pope himself has said that he lies awake at night thinking of young Muslim men being radicalized in this country, and yet to talk about it, to bring it out, somehow I'm being attacked.


SHANNON BREAM, ANCHOR: Alright, there hearing from two sides of this issue, but are they on the same side? Let's bring in our panel to talk about it. And we had deputy national security advisor there, Denis McDonough, speaking to a group this weekend about how we go after radicalized elements in our society, and of course Representative Peter King, who is holding hearings later this week on the Hill to look into the radicalization of Americans. Charles, he has taken a lot of heat for it.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: He is. And the administration -- the Obama administration added on that he -- with that statement that we saw, implying that it Peter King who's stigmatizing and demonizing an entire community. I'll tell you who stigmatizes the Muslim community, the Fort Hood shooter, who jumps on a table and shouts "Allah hu Akbar" as he shoots 13 American servicemen. That is a way to stigmatize and demonize a community.

The Pakistani immigrant who becomes a naturalized American and then plants a bomb in Times Square and proudly tells a judge he wanted to kill as many Americans as possible, or [Anwar] al-Awlaki, the preacher in Yemen who was a native American, preached in Falls Church mosque to a couple of the 9/11 attackers, now in Yemen inciting people around the world to attack Americans.

Look, it is not stereotyping to say that the overwhelming majority of the terror attacks in the world, particularly at Americans, is because of Islamism. It's not the IRA, it's not the Tamil Tigers, it's not the Basque terrorists. There is a thread connecting them to political Islam. That is a fact, it's not a stereotype. And to imply that people are being stigmatized by actually looking into the radicalization of these elements who have attacked us I think is completely wrong and deeply cynical.

BREAM: We asked viewers, before the break to weigh in on this. And asked them how serious they think the problem of radicalization of Americans is. Here are the results: 75 percent responded it's extremely serious -- this is in our online poll -- 21 percent said serious, and two percent said not very serious, and two percent said not serious at all.

Mara, do you think there is the danger of painting with too broad a brush in these areas?

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, I think the both sides can be guilty of kind of reducing this argument to absurd extremes. The administration itself says this is a problem. Ya know we want to get to the -- homegrown terrorists and the radicalization of some young Muslims here, is a problem. Now how do you go about looking into this in a way that makes the Muslim community your ally in combating this problem? Ya know, that is the trick here, I think.

That if you want to say that the Muslim community, at all, is not being helpful, in general, which I think some people look at Peter King and say that is what he is doing, I don't think that's the right way to go about it. I don't think that the administration is saying we shouldn't look into this at all, it's a real problem. The question is how do you forge real ties inside the Muslim community so that they will call out, turn over, whatever you want to say, report, people who are involved in these kinds of activities?

KRAUTHAMMER: But how do you look into it if you don't ask what is happening in the mosques?

LIASSON: You should look into it.


BREAM: Well Steve, I thought it was interesting in this -- this weekend with the speech and with Congressman King speaking out as well, they actually seem to have some points of agreement.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I guess that is what I took away from the Denis McDonough speech. I thought, in a way, the McDonough speech-- there were things I disagree with in the speech but in a way it suggests to me the fact that they've learned from their previous mistakes. I mean, he did talk about terrorism. He talked about violent extremism in a way that you are unaccustomed to hearing from this administration.

I mean in the cases that Charles points out, it's important to remember, that we started with this administration with Janet Napolitano, ya know, whose department was created after 9/11 to stop terrorist attacks, refusing to use the word "terrorist." She used "man-caused disaster," and, of course, was the subject of many jokes. From that you went to Abdulmutallab who was called by the president three days later an "isolated extremist." Then you had Shahzad in Times Square and it was a "one-off attack."

All of that was nonsense and all of it was a systemic effort on the part of the administration to downplay the seriousness of the attacks. And instead what you had in McDonough's speech, at least to a certain extent, is a rather straightforward and much more blunt assessment of the problem, which I think two years in, it came late, but it's a good thing. It's a positive development.


BREAM: Very quickly.

KRAUTHAMMER: Steve is encouraged because the administration is no longer delusional, it's only cynical. That's okay, [INAUDIBLE].

BREAM: Final word, quickly, Mara?

LIASSON: I'll leave it to them.

BREAM: Alright panel, thank you very much. We will wrap it up there. That's if it for panel, but please stay tuned. Ya know, in recent days the list of pop stars who've received money from the Qaddafi family has continued to grow. Is it really possible they didn't know who was footing the bill? Well we'll show you some concert footage, it's full of clues up next.

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