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Join the Discussion: What are your reactions to this report on the Lodi, Calif. domestic terror investigation?  What do you draw from it?

Dear FRONTLINE,

What makes Lowell Bergman the expert on internal terrorism?

Considering the openess of our society and the complexity of the problem facing the nation - How can he imply that there are no home grown terrorist cells.

What about past history here (the garage bombing in the World Trade Center prior to 9/11) The English and Spanish Experiences?

His bias in interviewing the various personae was blatantly obvious. The FBI and Government personnel were CROSS-EXAMINED implying a cover-up. But every word of the opposition was accepted as the gospel TRUTH. No questions asked.

This slanted reporting with the sly inclusion of the camera shots of the Capital to Bush-Bash subliminally is of concern.

I reply on Public Television for honest reporting, and it grieves me to see manipulation and distortions creeping into the programing.

melvin berry
hastings on hudson, NY

Dear FRONTLINE,

Dear FRONTLINEAfter "The Enemy Within", I felt that I'd just seen an Alfred Hitchcock story -- left suspended. With many open questions.At the end, it mentioned that the Lodi Muslims were not responsive. Why didn't they, at least, support the Hayats and the two respected Imams? Is there really more to this story? I cannot believe that everything, simply, can be blamed on fear -- neither this non-respond nor the confessions by both Hayats.I think that it does point out how seriously that we need the help of American Muslims in regaining any sense of security. I would be interested in suggestions, from Muslim leaders, about how the FBI should go about their investigations & interrogations. Those from Pakistan, especially with ISI experience, should have some ideas?Then, is the JIS (in CA prisons) really just a resurgence of the Nation of Islam? NOI is quite separate from the mainstream Sunni or Shi'a. And, NOI is not Al Qaeda -- but, still a potential threat. This could be another follow-up item for FRONTLINE.American's are just as concerned about Al Qaeda wanta-be's as they are of authentic ones -- they can still cause considerable damage! And, just what is Al Qaeda anyway? It seems to have developed into a franchise with, simply, "how to" instructions via the online. I don't suspect that they require members to carry ID cards! Or, perhaps, Al Qaeda is an intention?

Don Jones
San Jose, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you so much for this very informative program.I do not agree with the comment that African American Muslims should have been interviewed. In the context presented it was not necessary. Unless the person who made the comment needed to show midstream USA that African American Muslims are less of a 'threat' than the immigrant Muslims. In every minority community there are always those who need to prove to the majority, that they are 'good guys'. There are also a few in the majority commumity who refuse to perpetuate the lie that the Muslim community harbors terrorism. Thank you Frontline.

Andrea Charles-Muhammad

Dear FRONTLINE,

So was the jist of the program to say that the FBI should not be looking for terrorists. Since they might make a mistake? Or should they just wait for an attack and investigate after the fact. Could it be the real meaning of the program is the standard "Bush is Bad". Frontline has lost its way.

Ben Dover
Springville, MN

Dear FRONTLINE,

I found your investigative report last night about the "Enemy Within" interesting.It does appear the government was very unprepared as it went straight into prevention/investigation of domestic terrorism.You could say the government became somewhat paranoid about Muslums in general.

Clearly,homegrown agencies like the FBI had little or no training or expertise about Muslum Culture and language or a clear set of indicators to help identify genuine Al Queda operatives.Under the circumstances,they pretty much had to assume the worst and try to piece it together.The American public wanted revenge for 9/11 and did not care how it was effected.Mistakes were consequently made.

In order to be most effective,we need expertise about the heart and soul of the Middle East beyond mere academic knowledge.We need a keen understanding about how Arabs,Persians,and Egyptians think.I doubt any bureaucracy will be able to develop this kind of practical knowledge in-house.

H. Craig Bradley
Tigard, OR

Dear FRONTLINE,

I believe there are terrorist cells and agents in the US and have been for many years prior to 9/11, were the people shown actually part of this was not proven to my satisfaction.

The program brought to mind that this is still the same FBI that gave us Waco, Ruby Ridge and reportedly had more agents and informers in the SDS, Weathermen and other radical groups of the 60's than actual members. The performance of these investigations reflects the placement of unqualified and incompentent in key positions of the FBI, Homeland Security, and the intellegence organizations.

Thomas Mungall
Westmoreland, TN

Dear FRONTLINE,

After "The Dark Side", "The Enemy Within", and other recent offerings, I speak for many Americans when I say that Frontline has joined the campaign to crucify this administration. The closing scene of the Enemy Within referring to the FBI (and by proxy the Bush Administration) hyping the domestic terrorist threat is a veiled attempt to lend credence to the idea that Republicans have been playing the terrorism card.

A more thoughtful and even-handed analysis of the situation would have dealt more respectfully and seriously with the new strategy for counter-terrorism in the post-911 world.

You could have just as easily cast these recent terror-related arrests as evidence that the bureau is making strides to thwart radicals before they become operable within the United States.

Likewise, you could have discussed the value of projecting around the world the idea that the FBI is making it difficult for even low-level Jihadists to operate within our borders. You could have even left viewer with the impression that we as a nation are getting safer because of the actions of law enforcement.

Instead, once again you chose to edit the narrative and select the facts to "uncover" another failure of the current Administration in their prosecution of the war on terror. You have consistently sought to undermine this country's anti-terrorism posture at home and abroad by reporting our supposed failures and excluding the successes. If one were to sit through the totality of your recent war coverage they would come to the unmistakable conclusion that your organization questions this government's intentions, finds their methods to be suspect or downright deplorable, and wants to leave viewers with the impression that Bush is bordering on incompetent.

This relentless barrage of negative depictions of our leadership will have a lasting affect on our nation. I fear that this new level of presidential criticism and ridicule will never be reversed. No wonder confidence in government is at an all-time low and voters are becoming either despondent or completely apathetic. We as a society are being forced into an identity crisis that is leaving us wondering if all of the world's problems are a result of America's failures (see Return of the Taliban). This is no way to bring about positive change and it is certainly no way to unite the country behind this complex war effort.

For every ten damning criticisms from Frontline I would like to see just one constructive solution or depiction of success. This country can't afford another Vietnam ushered in by an eager media. Let's work together to find solutions rather than tearing each other down.

George McFlugalson
seattle, wa

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was not surprised to read the viewer comment from a former AUSA confirming the tremendous pressure on prosecutors to produce results. History shows that happening all too often in high profile cases and the "war on terror" is nothing if not high profile.

Knowing that, I think it incumbent on our officials to publicly acknowledge when they get it as wrong as they did in Lodi. When innocent U.S. citizens are publicly and unjustly accused and defamed, causing them to lose their reputations, homes and businesses, there must be some accountability and recompense.

I will be contacting my elected representatives to demand an official apology and some recompense for the Hayat family. Not only would this serve to help repair the damaged relations with the Pakistani American community - a situation which can only hamper future information gathering efforts - but it would go some small way toward restoring credibility in law enforcement and perhaps curbing future botched decision-making. If there is to be credibility, there must be accountability.

Recently, Canadian citizens had sufficient outrage at injustice as to demand their government investigate the case of Maher Arar, who was unjustly turned over to the U.S. government, deported to Syria, detained without charges for over a year and repeatedly tortured. This September the Canadian Commissioner of Police publicly apologized to Mr. Arar. Our government should have also and should do so in this case as well.

Judith Barnes
Portland, Oregon

Dear FRONTLINE,

The Lodi investigation and arrest of 2 innocent people scares me to hell. From such corrupted policies we can come to one conclusion that now every Western country is becoming like Iraq and its ex-leader Sadaam Hussain. We are critical of Sadaam for his atrocity against his people, and capturing any one of suspicion and throw them in prison. So what are we doing any thing different than him? It is heartbreaking.Kudos to James Wedick, who has an honest heart of a godly person.I hope we have a lot more people like him.

Gulshanin Aalani
Vancouver, B.C. Canada

Dear FRONTLINE,

I agree with one of the interviewees that Hamid Hayat is guilty of stupidity, foolishness, lying, and saying the wrong things, but since when has that led to someone spending 39 years in prison in a country that is supposed to be founded upon the notion of civil liberties. The most recent case I know of someone being guilty of these same things got them elected as President of the United States twice in a row.

Thank you, Frontline, for another piece of excellent Journalism.

Alec Haskard
Portland, OR

Dear FRONTLINE,

I'm astounded that this post 911 FBI seems so amateurish in it's investigation and prosecution. 'Round up the usual suspects' mentality seems to pervade here.It also seems that pressure to make any kind of arrest whatsoever to make headlines has more to do with this than anything else.

Patrick Pineault
Riverside, California

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your report on Lodi Calif left me heartbroken. My fears are not about terrorism. What keeps me awake and bordering on depression lately is the America I grew up in and the freedoms I took for granted are rapidly eroding in the name of fighting terrorism. The lack of protest from the American people leaves me clueless.

I do believe that terrorism is a real threat my father was killed by terrorist in 1979. He would be shocked at the abusive and misleading tactics this administration has undertaken to achieve an A in anti terrorism. I would rather fight the bastards here than give up my rights, other wise what are we fighting for? if we become a nation under constant surveillance? and crooked government agents, would we not be then just like them? I have a feeling this republic is slipping from our grasp and America keeps shopping. I am totally dismayed.

mary johnson
san antonio, tx

Dear FRONTLINE,

In the 60's an anti-war group in Camden, NJ, broke into a draft office and burned the records. The group was just talk but one member with the courage of his convictions planned and led the break-in. The group was acquitted - the firebrand was an undercover FBI agent. Same story, different date. But we haven't had our Kent State yet.

Richard Zaehring

Dear FRONTLINE,

I found it quite disturbing that your program did not give a voice to the African American Muslims in the story. It seems that you do not care for them any more than the US Attorney. It is clear that you care what immigrant Muslims think. If you check the facts nearly half of the muslims in America are African Americans. Moreover the African American community has existed in this country for more than 70 years. Even more interesting is how many of the militia types are roaming th country free while suspicion and resourses are poured into arresting and convicting African Americans unjustly!

jelani fletcher

Dear FRONTLINE,

PBS:As always, we appreciated Frontline's program that illuminated the way in which the US government has exaggerated claims of Al Qaeda cells operating in America. However, we feel your program fell short by not addressing WHY this is happening in the first place. We feel a follow-up program should take place that investigates the US government's intent as well as the ways in which this "culture of fear" is affecting American lives.

Chad and Kelly Spangler
Denver, CO

Dear FRONTLINE,

A statement was made in the program that, "no major terrorist group has been identified yet." The 9/11 terrorists were 19 men. The plot itself is said to have involved not more that 30 people. Highly disciplined, zealously committed a small group of 30 men perpetrated a sophisticated, multinational plan that resulted in the mass murder of nearly 3,000 people. The London train bombers were middle-class men, many were married; one was a teaching assistant with a one-year old child. The point is terrorist do not walk around with lighted signs over their heads. Reacting after the fact is not an option. We expect -- and now in the post 9/11 world demand -- that law enforcement do everything possible within the law to identify possible threats and interdict individuals before they have an opportunity to act. We should not shrink from the need to continue to do so. The Muslim community should be at the forefront of this effort, for it is them that often faces the fallout from the fanatics who have hijacked their religion.

S Pena

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posted oct. 10, 2006

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