Fox & Friends co-hosts pushed a false claim from Rudy Giuliani -- a frequent Fox News guest and a contender for secretary of state under President-elect Donald Trump -- that mosque surveillance during Giuliani’s tenure as mayor of New York “thwarted a lot of [terrorist] attacks.” Fox contributor Pete Hegseth agreed, calling mosque surveillance “great intelligence work.” Hegseth is scheduled to meet with Trump today at Trump Tower about a possible position in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In fact, the New York Police Department “abandoned” its mosque surveillance program after years of collecting information on Muslims in the city because the program “never generated a lead,” The New York Times reported. The Cato Institute described the program as a “failure by any reasonable standard,” and according to former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, “not one single piece of actionable intelligence ever came out of that unit in its years of existence.” Nevertheless, Fox hosts and contributors have repeatedly defended and encouraged restarting the program. From the November 29 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): You have mayors like Mayor [Bill] De Blasio, says, “You’re not going to monitor mosques. Not while I’m here.” And other mayors like [Chicago Mayor] Rahm Emanuel probably say the same thing. And then you have Facebook and Google saying, “Listen, we're not going to provide opportunities for you to surveil -- go inside our social media systems -- because we’ve got to give people their privacy. We're going to be back with this debate again with the new administration.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): And then, remember, Rudy Giuliani said when they did go into the mosques and they did surveil -- do surveillance inside the mosques -- they caught, they thwarted a lot of attacks.
PETE HEGSETH: An incredible amount of attacks have been thwarted in [New York City] through great intelligence work and aggressive intelligence work. Let's have that battle. I think the American people chose Donald Trump for a reason. They want a law-and-order candidate who understands the nature of this enemy. I think he’s ready to have that very debate. And you can do it without marginalizing the Muslim community.