A team of U.S. legislators is urging President Donald Trump’s administration to investigate Al Jazeera in light of the network’s undercover exposé on Israeli lobbyists.
Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York sent a letter to the fellow members of congress in which they urge Attorney General Jeff Sessions to open an investigation into Al Jazeera’s activities in the U.S. and force the network to register as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. The representatives urged the investigation in reaction to Al Jazeera’s alleged undercover recordings of Israeli lobbyists which reporters for the network conducted for a documentary on how said lobbyists influence American foreign policy.
The congressmen wrote:
We find it troubling that the content produced by this network often directly undermines American interests with favorable coverage of U.S. State Department-designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations …. Furthermore, Al Jazeera’s record of radical anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel broadcasts warrants scrutiny from regulators to determine whether this network is in violation of U.S. law. Such an investigation should cover the full range of activities undertaken by Al Jazeera in the United States, including reports that it infiltrated American 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) nonprofit organizations.
“American citizens deserve to know whether the information and news media they consume is impartial, or if it is deceptive propaganda pushed by foreign nations,” the letter adds.
News broke of Al Jazeera’s documentary after the network sent emails to various pro-Israel advocacy groups and activists asking for comment on the recordings of lobbyists and other information they collected.
“Al Jazeera is in the final stages of preparing a documentary concerning the role of pro-Israel advocacy groups in the United States. The documentary will investigate how such groups secure support for Israel in Congress and how they have been drawn into Israel’s covert campaign to defeat [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions], the movement to boycott, divest and impose sanctions on Israel,” the email, obtained by the Washington Examiner, reads.
Al Jazeera claimed in the email to have “uncovered evidence, which suggests that this campaign may well involve these groups working with Israel to collect intelligence on and discredit U.S. citizens who support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, as well as others who are perceived as challenging Israel.”
The email came as a shock to Israeli lobbyists, who said that they had been assured by the government of Qatar that the documentary would never be aired, according to The Times of Israel. Al Jazeera’s intention to air the documentary indicates the network is in fact a foreign agent for Qatar, according to the congressmen urging for an investigation by the Department of Justice.
An Al Jazeera editor, Clayton Swisher, also admitted in October 2017 to planting an undercover reporter within pro-Israel advocacy groups in the U.S. for the purposes of the documentary.
Such an action, according to veteran congressional adviser, qualifies as espionage.
“After confirming its state sponsored espionage, the case for FARA is a slam dunk,” the congressional adviser told The Washington Free Beacon. “And now we see Congress is pressuring the administration to do the right thing. AJ doesn’t have any friends on Capitol Hill, so the Trump administration should be taking this pressure seriously.”