As a member of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001, Tom Campbell was known as a stalwart of
Republican Party's moderate-to-liberal wing and a political
He is paying a price for some of those
alliances in the 2010 California U.S. Senate campaign.
primary opponents Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore
have criticized Campbell - considered the race's frontrunner
tried to paint him as soft on terrorism.
In response, Campbell has acknowledged
failing to pick up on the radical ties of two past
casts those episodes as the product of ignorance and poor
insisting they are isolated instances in an otherwise solid
on security issues. A look at his record, however, reveals a
pattern of statements and actions involving radical
defined Campbell's public life between 1995 and 2002.
Campbell, who represented California's
15th Congressional District (an affluent area
Silicon Valley), clearly had close ties to Sami Al-Arian and
Abdurahman Alamoudi, both of whom were later convicted on
related to terrorism support. He joined
Reps. David Bonior (D-MI) and John Conyers
(D-MI) in fighting to bar the use of classified evidence in
deportation cases. Campbell sought to reduce U.S. aid to
Egypt and Israel and was a
critic of U.S. sanctions in Iraq.
And Campbell also forged strong political
relationships with Muslim Brotherhood-linked organizations
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic
of North America (ISNA). Islamist ideologues including Salam al-Marayati of
the Muslim Public Affairs
Council (MPAC) and Omar Ahmad of CAIR
attended and spoke at
fundraisers for Campbell during his Senate campaign a decade
Now, in his third bid for the Senate,
Campbell is running as a conservative and a
According to his campaign website, Campbell favors the death penalty for
terrorists "who have taken innocent lives." He also
bringing foreign terrorists for trial into the civilian
New York or elsewhere. They should be kept in Guantanamo,
under military tribunals."
Campbell has also said the United States
should support Israel if it takes military action against
nuclear weapons programs. "Everyone prays for a peaceful
but we must also be realistic. Another threatened round of
is no more likely to deter Iran from its goal than all the
sanctions," Campbell said on his
campaign website last month.
After the first primary debate was held
March 5, Campbell campaign manager Hana Callaghan issued an
statement telling supporters that Campbell "was the only
to consistently take the fight directly to [incumbent]
"Tom's record is clear," she added. "He
was the only candidate to voice clear support for Israel's
pre-emptive right to self-defense against the Iranian
nuclear threat, and opposes the Obama Administration's plan to try
the 9/11 terrorists on American soil."
Such hawkish stands have been complicated
by his previous support for Al-Arian.
Campbell befriended the then-University
of South Florida professor during the 1990s. At the time,
was lobbying to ban the use of classified intelligence in
deportation cases. It was part of a campaign to get his
brother-in-law, Mazen Al-Najjar, released from jail.
being held without bond based on secret evidence tying him
Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) while he appealed a
order. During the same period, Al-Arian was under criminal
investigation for similar ties.
Campbell enthusiastically supported him,
paying a jailhouse visit to Al-Najjar in May 2000 after
co-sponsoring the legislation ending the use of secret
Campbell, Al-Arian and Al-Najjar were all interviewed for a
film called "Uncivil Liberties, Secret Trials in America,"
attacked the use of classified intelligence in immigration
the film, Campbell compared the practice to racial
Allowing it would provide "security, but
that's the security of a police state. And I won't have any
it," Campbell said.
In 2006, Al-Arian pled guilty to providing goods and services to the
PIJ. When the University of South Florida first moved to
Al-Arian in 2002, Campbell wrote a letter to the
school's president which urged
reconsideration and expressed "sincere alarm" that Al-Arian
being treated unfairly because of his views. By this time,
already made public showed Al-Arian solicited money for "the
movement in Palestine" and lauding a terrorist attack.
Campbell said he was unaware of that
letter or videotaped statements like this when he wrote
(Read more about Campbell's efforts on
behalf of Al-Arian here and here.)
In a March 9 statement, Campbell's campaign
defended his letter
supporting Al-Arian. Campaign
spokesman James Fisfis accused critics of conducting a
"hysterical witch hunt" and seeking to "run the Constitution through the
shredder for political gain."
Three days later, Campbell expressed regret for his previous support for
Similarly, Campbell has acknowledged that
he made a mistake when he kept a $1,000 contribution from
Alamoudi in the closing days of the 2000 campaign. Like Al-Arian,
Alamoudi was on record endorsing terrorism before Campbell accepted
On May 24, 2000, Alamoudi participated in
an Islamonline web
chat, during which he was asked,
"What can Muslims do to decrease the influence of the
lobby on the Presidential candidates?" Alamoudi replied that
should "work for the next six months in California" to
If Muslims did this, "We will be able to
be king-makers not only in the presidential campaigns, but
will put a tested friend in the senate (sic), namely
Tom Campbell," Alamoudi wrote.
On October 28, 2000, Alamoudi spoke at
Lafayette Park, directly across the street from the White
House, declaring, "We are
all supporters of Hamas" and "I
am a supporter of Hizballah."
The defiant speech came in the early days
of the second Palestinian Intifada, a period marked by
terrorist attacks throughout Israel, many by Hamas. Three
earlier, Hizballah had launched a cross-border raid into
Israel, kidnapping three Israeli soldiers. (Their bodies
returned in a prisoner exchange several years later.)
In the wake of these comments, two Senate
candidates - Campbell and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic
nominee in New York - came under pressure to return campaign
contributions from Alamoudi.
Clinton returned the money, but Campbell
refused, saying he had spoken with Alamoudi and felt
with his position. "He had never supported violence nor
anybody to engage in it," Campbell said of Alamoudi in
Three years later, after his arrest at
Heathrow airport with a bag containing $340,000,
Alamoudi was indicted for
dealings with Libyan dictator's
Moammar Qadhafi's regime. In a 2004 plea agreement, he
admitted that his support
involved a conspiracy to assassinate the Saudi Crown Prince.
Government officials also claim Alamoudi had ties with al
Treasury Department called his arrest "a
severe blow to al Qaeda,"
saying he raised approximately $1 million for the Movement
Islamic Reform in Arabia (MIRA) Foundation – a group tied to
transnational terror organization.
Asked about his decision to keep
Alamoudi's donation in 2000, Campbell recently said: "I
was in error and I deeply regret
Another problematic contributor dogging
both Clinton and Campbell during their 2000 Senate campaigns
Agha Saeed, chief of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA). As The
American Spectator recently noted, Saeed was a
defender of "armed resistance"
by the Palestinians ("armed resistance" being code words for
As with Alamoudi, Clinton returned campaign contributions from a
questionable source while Campbell refused. Saying she was
by remarks attributed AMA members on a number of topics,
gave back $50,000 she received at an event sponsored by the
Campbell, in contrast, made the following
the Islamic Center in Los
Angeles: "I will not insult a single donor to my campaign by
returning their contribution because the American Muslim
the American Muslim Alliance was associated with raising
In October 2001, Campbell received a "lifetime achievement" award from Saeed
at an AMA conference. At the conference, "Speaker after
agreed that bombing Afghanistan, supporting a violent
and placing sanctions on Iraq is no way to end terrorism,"
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs reported.
In the spring of 2001, Campbell joined
former U.S. Rep. Paul Findley and Alison Weir on the
dais at a public event in San
Jose. Weir, a freelance reporter who had just returned from a
to the West Bank and Gaza, was asked by CAIR to speak about
In a recent essay, Weir said her talk was a description of
"destroyed homes, devastated neighborhoods, razed
lands, children who had been shot by invading Israeli forces
before a single Palestinian rocket had been fired.)" At the
conclusion of her remarks, she wrote, everyone in the room
a standing ovation:
"One of the first on his feet was Tom
Commenting on her talk, Campbell wrote
that "Ms. Weir is intelligent, careful, and critical.
policy makers would benefit greatly from hearing her
observations and attempting to answer the questions she
later placed Campbell's comments on the website
of her organization "If Americans
California voters are going to have to
figure out who the "real" Tom Campbell is: the man who spent
the late 1990s and months after 9/11 making common cause with
people like Alison Weir and Abdurahman Alamoudi or the Tom Campbell