Video: Terrorist Released, Family Speaks

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updated 1/3/2006 12:00:36 PM ET 2006-01-03T17:00:36
TRANSCRIPT

German authorities released a convicted terrorist, the man responsible for murdering U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem during that 1985 hijacking of a TWA flight.  Now, Stethem's family is fighting back, taking action, and sending a letter to the Bush administration and members of Congress, demanding some answers. 

Their letter says in part “With the news of Hamadi's release and the announcement of his return to Lebanon by the Shiite Hezbollah guerrilla group, we feel betrayed and despairingly disillusioned.  It's time for President Bush and Congress to stand side by side in this war on terrorism.  This cause has gone from argument to arms.  It is time to act.”

Ken Stethem, Robert Stethem's brother, joined Joe Scarborough on ‘Scarborough Country’ Thursday to speak about their fight against terrorism.

To read an excerpt from their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, ‘SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY’:  Tell me about this letter.  Why did you decide to finally send it and really put pressure on the Bush administration?

KEN STETHEM, BROTHER OF MURDERED NAVY DIVER:  Joe, basically, because we're absolutely unsatisfied with the indifference and inaction that the administration took upon Hamadi's release. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Who has been indifferent? 

STETHEM:  The administration. 

We have gotten two phone calls, one from Andrew Card, just wishing us well, and saying he's sorry, and one from Ambassador Crumpton, who is coordinator for counterterrorism from the State Department, and basically the same thing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about Congress?  Anybody talking to you in the Senate or in the House? 

STETHEM:  No.  We haven't heard anything yet.  And it's unbelievable. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That is unbelievable. 

Let’s look at these pictures again.  For anybody that's my age or older, you are going to remember these TWA shots.  This was a terrible, terrible time.  All of America and the world was following this for so long. 

And I remember the instant that I heard the news that an American, a patriot, had been shot, brutally murdered and thrown out into the tarmac.  I was enraged.  And I think all of America was enraged, Ken.  And we were demanding justice. 

Now, this is a part of the story that a lot of the people may not have heard yet.  You were aware of the fact that the German government might release this thug who killed your brother in cold blood back in '85.  And you actually went to the administration, you went to the government and tried to warn them.  And what did they do? 

STETHEM:  Nothing.  Nothing.

We have been trying to get meetings with Condoleezza Rice in the State Department, through the Justice Department since May.  And we have not been given the opportunity once. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ken, have they given you any excuse at all on why they are too busy to talk to you on an issue that is really this important, not just about justice, but really about the ongoing war on terror?

They just let a terrorist thug, one of the world's most wanted terrorist thug, free in Lebanon.  Why are they too busy to talk to you? 

STETHEM:  I have no idea, Joe. 

And I will tell you, it's incredible, incredible, to see the president soliciting support for the war on terrorism the same week that Mohammed Ali Hamadi is released, and the administration absolutely knew about his impending release while the administration, while the president was preparing that speech. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, I will tell you what.  If so, that's very, very explosive. 

Ken, we're going to be on top of this.  As I have said before, I have been a big Bush supporter in the war on terror.  I think he's done a great job.  But, in this case, there's a blind spot.  I want you to let us know, what can we do in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to shine some light on this terrible tragedy? 

STETHEM:  You know, Joe, in Iraq today, terrorists are using cell phones to kill American soldiers. 

And I would like the American people to take their government back and to let the administration know that this is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. and I would like the people to demand that the administration submit a formal diplomatic request to the Lebanese government, in order for Hamadi to be turned over.  That's first. 

Second, I would like everybody to call the administration, and they can get the numbers, I believe, through your Web site, but call the administration and press for Lebanon to be listed on the FBI—or the state-sponsored terrorist list that the State Department has, because over 30 percent of the terrorists that are at large right now on the FBI's most wanted list are in Lebanon. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It's unbelievable.

STETHEM:  And, third, we ought to take the $40 million that we give Lebanon away until they release these terrorists. 

Catch 'Scarborough Country' each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET

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