I spoke with Joel Siskovic, spokesman for the FBI’s Memphis Field Office, about the contradiction between the Commercial Appeal article, which claimed the FBI was unaware of the mosque’s al-Hanooti event, and the two separate terror alerts that warned of the upcoming event that had been sent to Memphis-area law enforcement agencies.
Siskovic confirmed that they had in fact been aware of the terror alerts warning of his appearance, and that the mosque disputed after the fact that the event was even scheduled to take place (again, despite them announcing it on their own website as an “upcoming event”). Siskovic told me:
What I was indicating to the reporter is that we had no solid indication of whether this individual was coming to town or not. We had information about the web site posting and there still was some debate whether it was going to happen. … Our comment [to the Commercial Appeal reporter] was that based on our community outreach, we had not been contacted about this event from anyone inside the Muslim community.
That is a decidedly different perspective than what was reported by the Commercial Appeal. The Memphis FBI was well aware that this information had been posted.
As I noted in my response to the Commercial Appeal, I contacted reporter Michael Lollar the day his article appeared both by phone and email to ask about whether he was aware of these terror alerts and to inquire why neither myself or anyone from PJ Media was contacted for his article. So far, Lollar has declined to reply. As I stated earlier, I would have gladly provided copies of these respective terror alerts to the Commercial Appeal had they bothered to contact us before their article appeared.
At best, this case is yet another episode of mainstream media incuriosity when it comes to the issue of radical Islam in the American heartland.
Admittedly, we’ll never know if the Memphis mosque really had intended to host the terror-tied imam, as both the mosque and the Commercial Appeal are now invested in their respective denials despite mounting evidence to the contrary. But with such a credibility gap, it should be no wonder that newspapers like the Washington Post are resorting to literally giving major news divisions away.
But why would the Islamic Association of Greater Memphis have to buy the Commercial Appeal for $1, when they already have it in their pocket for free?