Editor’s Note: This past spring, HarperCollins released a book titled Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman Who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America. For obvious reasons, the author was billed as “Anonymous.” Just prior to its publication, “60 Minutes” did a segment on the book and named some alleged terror fronts the author had found in the U.S. In a subsequent lawsuit filed by some of those accused groups,  “Anonymous” was revealed to be an Iraqi-born Jew named Rita Katz, who serves as director of the Site Institute, an international terrorist-investigation and information group.

Katz was interviewed recently by Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online. Following are highlights of their discussion:


Kathryn Jean Lopez: Did you expect to be outed when you decided to write the book? Were you prepared for it?

Rita Katz: Writing the book was a decision I had made after long deliberation, a significant part of which was considering the possibility of being outed. I had hoped that by publishing it as ”Anonymous” and by altering some identifying details about myself, I would be able to deliver my message without being exposed. Anonymity was important as many of the things I did and wrote about in the book can enrage many radicals and will surely make me quite a few enemies. But the importance of getting my message across outweighed the risks, and I decided to go ahead and write the book in spite of the potential danger. I knew for certain that most journalists — usually the people who try to expose an anonymous author — would not do so in my case. Some journalists have used me as a source before and understood the importance my anonymity. Yes, I did hope that I would remain anonymous, but I also took certain precautions in case I was exposed, and I now continue to work on a number of things to ensure my safety.

Some of the groups you pinpoint as terror fronts are taking those claims to court. Do you stand by everything in your book, everything you have said and written (including on (60 Minutes,? which is being sued)?

I cannot at this time discuss the specifics of the lawsuit or the individual plaintiffs, but as I had noted in a press release in response to this lawsuit, I stand firmly behind what I wrote in Terrorist Hunter and what I said on ?60 Minutes.? I will gladly guide any judge or jury through the mass of information I compiled before writing my book….

When did you start to and how did you get involved in the undercover-dangerous-terror investigations?

Little could I imagine when I responded to an employment ad in a paper, just over five years ago, that my career would evolve the way it did. It all started by pure chance. I was looking for a job, responded to an ad, and was hired to work for a Middle East research institute. I wasn’t trained or instructed there, but rather on my own initiative and quite accidentally I started to study a certain charity, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), and I realized that this was a front group for Hamas. After a few months, I wanted to get to know in person the people I studied so closely, so I went to a fundraiser of theirs dressed as a Muslim woman. Soon thereafter I was attending conferences, visiting mosques, participating in rallies and the more I did, the more I discovered the enormity of the problem of radicalism on U.S. soil.


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