The Fox News journalist who broke the story about a military briefing that labels a prominent Christian pro-family group as a “domestic hate group” is concerned that the Army now appears to be attempting to identify his confidential source.
Todd Starnes appeared on American Family Radio today with Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association – the Mississippi-based ministry identified as a hate group in a recent briefing at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Wildmon has admitted he’s skeptical of the official explanation released Tuesday afternoon by the Army - and has wondered aloud why members of the U.S. military are being briefed about domestic groups.
Starnes was asked Wednesday about his report indicating the Army might be trying to identify his original source – a soldier who was at the briefing.
“I am not identifying this individual,” responded the journalist. “The individual's name is confidential – and the reason being is that (a) I gave the individual my word, and (b) we are afraid that the military would try to go after and target this person ... and it seems that our fears have proved to be correct.
“We understand that as soon as our original story was posted that high commanders at Camp Shelby demanded to see a list of every person who was in that room – and I suspect that the reason why was to root out and find out who the person was that talked to us. I find it interesting that they had time to do that first as opposed to answer the questions that we had sent them. It took them more than 36 hours to do that.”
And what about the Army’s explanation about the briefing slide that maligned the American Family Association was the act of one soldier and doesn’t reflect Army policy or doctrine?
“We're going to be doing a follow-up story – and I'm afraid that the military may not have exactly been forthcoming with us, because they said that the briefing was not approved by the military and that the individual got the information from the Internet,” replied Starnes.
“However, last night, I received another email from another person in the Army who asked not to be identified. We've been able to confirm who this person is; we've been able to confirm their credentials. This individual actually works with the equal opportunity division of the Army – the organization that's conducting all of these seminars.
“Remember how the military told us that these were just isolated incidents?” Starnes asked. “Well, according to this individual, whose job it is to prepare the briefings, it is not isolated. In fact, all these equal opportunity trainers have to go to a three-month training session at Patrick Air Force Base – and this source is telling me that when it gets to the component about extremism, these individuals are told that the Southern Poverty Law Center is a valuable resource for them to use when they go out and conduct these training sessions on the various military bases.”
According to Starnes, it’s significant that the SPLC may have a role in this.
“It's significant because they're left-leaning. These folks have a political agenda,” he stated. “These are the folks who have classified the American Family Association and other respected Christian ministries as hate groups. And ... several conservative websites have done exposes on this organization. So I think that's important for people to understand [who the SPLC is]. But quite frankly, we're going to be digging into this a little bit more. [And] the military needs to understand it's time to fess up.”
The reporter also addressed the Army’s implication that it was a “rogue” soldier who put together the information for the Camp Shelby briefing.
“[The military is] making it very difficult for military personnel to practice their Christian faith, their religious faith – and this is directed at Christians. This sort of hostility is not directed at any other religious group. It's specifically directed at Christianity.
“So for the military to come out and say Oh, this is just an isolated incident, we have these rogue people – well, let me ask you [about] these ‘rogue people’ – Are they being punished? Are they being reprimanded? Are they being retrained? What’s going on? It seems like mass chaos in the Army right now, because apparently people can do whatever the heck they want to do without any oversight.”
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.