September 8, 2008

AMHERST, Mass. – Andrew McCarthy, director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) Center for Law and Counterterrorism, will deliver a talk titled “Willful Blindness: A Prosecutor Tells Why Terrorism Cannot Be Fought with Prosecutions and Prosecutors” on Tuesday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. in the Babbott Room of the Octagon at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Committee for the American Founding, the talk is free and open to the public.

Author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad, McCarthy is a former federal prosecutor and a contributor to the National Review online. From 1993 to 1996, while an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, he led the prosecution against the jihad organization of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, in which a dozen Islamic militants were convicted of conducting a war of urban terrorism against the United States that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. McCarthy also made major contributions to the prosecutions of the bombers of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the Millennium plot attack Los Angeles International Airport.  Following the Sept. 11 attacks, he supervised the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Command Post in New York City, coordinating investigative and preventive efforts with numerous federal and state law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and then became Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District’s satellite office, responsible for federal law enforcement in six counties north of New York City.

McCarthy is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Justice Department’s highest honors: the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award (1996) and Distinguished Service Award (1988). He has served as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and as an Associate Independent Counsel in the investigation of a former cabinet official.  He has also been an adjunct professor of law at both the Fordham University School of Law and New York Law School. He writes extensively on a variety of legal, social and political issues for the National Review and Commentary, among other publications, as well as providing commentary for various television and radio broadcasts. 

Created by Hadley P. Arkes, the Edward Ney Professor in American Institutions (Political Science) at Amherst College, the Committee for the American Founding was started with the purpose of preserving at Amherst the teachings of the American Founders and Abraham Lincoln regarding “natural rights.” One of the committee’s topics has been the defense of the American regime, in foreign and military policy.