Rep. Peter King won’t look into Loughner’s radicalization because of 9/11

By Megan Carpentier
Sunday, March 6, 2011 10:10 EDT
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Appearing on State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sunday to discuss his upcoming hearings on Muslim radicalization, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) explained why he wasn’t planning on expanding the focus of the hearings to include clinic bombers or even the radicalization of men like Jared Loughner, accused of shooting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and killing eight people.

Crowley said incidents like Lougher’s assassination attempt “seems like an act of terrorism” and asked King, “So why is the influence there not in your purview, or why is it not part of your investigation?”

King responded:

“First of all, the Department of Homeland Security was set up after September 11th. The committee was set up after September 11th. We’re talking about a radicalization in this country which is linked to an overseas enemy. This is al Qaeda internationally that’s attempting recruitment in the United States. People in this country are being self-radicalized, whether it’s Major Hasan or whether it’s Shazad or whether it was Zazi in New York, these are all people who are identifying, one way or another, with al Qaeda or Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. This is an international movement with elements here in the United States. And to me, that is a real distinction. There’s always going to be isolated incidents, isolated fanatics, isolated terrorists even. But an organized terrorist effort, to me, is different, which is why it requires an investigation itself.”

Notably, the hearing King plans to hold on March 10 is entitled “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response” and doesn’t mention al Qaeda. King says that he plans to make it the first in a series of hearings on the radicalization of U.S. Muslims.

King added that, although he already has a number of “hypotheses and theses” about the Muslim community, he mostly just wants to have a national debate about an issue he says is under-covered in the media.

Megan Carpentier
Megan Carpentier is the executive editor of Raw Story. She previously served as an associate editor at Talking Points Memo; the editor of news and politics at Air America; an editor at Jezebel.com; and an associate editor at Wonkette. Her published works include pieces for the Washington Post, the Washington Independent, Ms Magazine, RH Reality Check, the Women's Media Center, On the Issues, the New York Press, Bitch and Women's eNews.
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