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Counterterrorism Experts Defend Levitt from Unfair Attack in 'Harper's'


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In June, Harper’s Magazine published an article titled “The Government’s Man” by Ken Silverstein about the work of Stein Counterterrorism Program Director Dr. Matthew Levitt as an expert witness in the trials of alleged terrorists.

A group of Dr. Levitt’s colleagues in the field of counterterrorism strongly objected to the bias of the article and sent the following letter to the editor to Harper’s. Inexplicably and against industry standards of fairness, the magazine declined to publish the letter, which is printed below in full.

To the Editor,

In his June article “The Government’s Man,” writer Ken Silverstein strings together a series of out-of-context “facts,” half-truths and allegations to impugn the professional qualifications of Dr. Matthew Levitt, the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Utterly absent from the piece are the voices of Dr. Levitt’s many colleagues in Washington and around the globe who rely on his in-depth research, intellectual honesty, and academic and professional experience to bring clarity to the murky and dangerous world of terrorism.

Dr. Levitt’s record of achievement is beyond reproach. It is no surprise his expertise is often sought out to provide background and context in terrorism cases in the United States and abroad. As for the reliability of his expert testimony in such cases, the Sixth Circuit put it best when it described his research methodology as “the gold standard.”

As professionals who are positioned to appreciate his credentials and to evaluate his work, we are proud to call Dr. Levitt our colleague and we deeply trust his judgment. His reputation for excellence is well deserved.

[Signed]

Michael Braun
Former Assistant Administrator and Chief of Operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Amb. (Lt. Gen., Retired) Dell Dailey
Former State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism and former Director of the Center for Special Operations at U.S. Special Operations Command

Todd Hinnen
Former Acting Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, Department of Justice

Michael Rolince
Former Chief of the FBI’s International Terrorism Operations Section

Juan Zarate
Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism