Fox hyped a flatly-denied rumor that the Obama administration was considering releasing a convicted terrorist to Egypt. The network then used that rumor to suggest that Obama may send American citizens to Egypt to be killed for insulting Islam.
Glenn Beck's website The Blaze and Breitbart.com reported that an anonymous source close to the Obama administration said that the State Department was considering Egypt's request to transfer Omar Abdel-Rahman to Egypt. Abdel-Rahman, commonly called the “Blind Sheikh,” was convicted after being accused of masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. But Department of Justice spokesman Dean Boyd told The Blaze that the rumor was “utter garbage.”
Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson said that Fox had “not been able to confirm” the Blind Sheikh story, but nevertheless ran a four-minute segment on it, which went completely off the rails.
Fox legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. pivoted from the rumor about the Blind Sheikh to speculation about Egyptians wanting to try the Americans behind an incendiary anti-Muslim film.
Johnson hypothesized that U.S. citizens could be deported to Egypt and put to death for making a film in America. He blamed current foreign policy for the hypothetical extradition of Americans to Egypt:
CARLSON: Egyptian authorities are seeking the death penalty now for seven Christians living in the United States for their part in producing that anti-Islamic film that sparked violent protests across the Middle East. So do you think that that's harsh? Well, then there's this: The conservative website Breitbart.com reports that the U.S. State Department could be currently in negotiations with the Egyptians to transfer one of their citizens, a terrorist, back home. That man, you've seen before, known as the Blind Sheikh serving a life sentence for his part in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.
CARLSON: So are these two separate stories, or is it an exchange?
JOHNSON: Well, I brought them together because they appear to be two different stories, but they appear to be part and parcel of the same type of foreign policy that we have. We now have a situation where about seven Coptic Christians and Minister Terry Jones down in Florida have been charged in Egypt -- have been charged with Egypt under penalty of death with a bunch of crimes there: harming national unity, spreading false info, insulting Islam, and inciting sectarian strife. And so now the national prosecutor has said that there is a warrant for their arrest and that if they were arrested, they would be tried in Egypt and subject to the death penalty. Three of those folks are Americans including Pastor Jones.
And so what I say is: Have we created the seeds by which this occurred by nature of our foreign policy.
JOHNSON: So have we sowed the seeds of our own prosecutions? It's outrageous on the face of it that people in America would be prosecuted in Egypt for making a movie, no matter how offensive the movie, and then be subject to the death penalty in Egypt. So, when you put these two stories together, even giving consideration to allowing the Blind Sheikh to return home to Egypt after being part of that terror, which was the run-up to 9-11 and then at the same time have Americans subject to the death penalty in Egypt for making a movie in the United states, it shows how topsy-turvy the world has become and how, unfortunately, ineffective our foreign policy is at this point.