Local News

Author Claims Raleigh A Breeding Ground For Terrorists

Posted July 25, 2003

— Raleigh is frequently named as one of top 10 places to live and work in the country. A well-known terrorism consultant and federal authorities believe it could also be a breeding ground for terrorists.

Inside the Brownstone Hotel in Raleigh, terrorists and their money were topics of the day Thursday.

"They have to take clean money and make it dirty. Raleigh has become a very cosmopolitan city and it would be easy for those involved in terrorism to be present here," said U.S. Attorney Frank Whitney.

That threat is outlined in the

New York Times

bestseller, "American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us."

"Don't be lulled into a false sense of security," author Steven Emerson said.

Emerson was in Raleigh to explain why he put North Carolina's capital city on his list of U.S. terrorist hot spots.

"It's the movement of one person who then brings over colleagues who are sympathetic. Because it's out of the limelight, it's the perfect place to do illicit business," he said.

Beyond Raleigh, Emerson pointed to the fact that Khalid al Sheikh Mohammed, al Qaeda's second in command, attended North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro.

Whitney believes the intersection of military bases and financial institutions make all of North Carolina a terrorist haven.

"It's very likely that terrorists will be running financial operations through the American banking system, because they might be here on the military side observing what's going on," he said.

Emerson said if you take anything away from his book, it should be this: "Terrorist activity is still going on despite the absence of bombs going off in the United States."

Authorities also point to Charlotte, where the extremist group Hezbollah was found to be funneling money.

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