A reporter on federally funded National Public Radio has suggested that a Christian political action group could be the culprit behind anthrax-laden letters sent to Sens. Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy.

On NPR’s Morning Edition show Tuesday, reporter David Kestenbaum offered that “one group who had a gripe” with the Democratic leaders is the Washington, D.C.-based Traditional Values Coalition.

The group’s executive director Andrea Lafferty expressed shock at the insinuation, calling it “very, very dangerous.”

“This is an entity that gets federal money to not only attack me personally but to attack Bible-believing Christians,” she told WorldNetDaily. “This is a wake-up call. This gentleman truly believes that Christians would mail anthrax.”

In the Tuesday broadcast, Kestenbaum said, according to an NPR transcript:

    “Two of the anthrax letters were sent to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, both Democrats. One group who had a gripe with Daschle and Leahy is the Traditional Values Coalition, which, before the attacks, had issued a press release criticizing the senators for trying to remove the phrase ‘so help me God’ from the oath. The Traditional Values Coalition, however, told me the FBI had not contacted them and then issued a press release saying NPR was in the pocket of the Democrats and trying to frame them.

    “But investigators are thinking along these lines. FBI agents won’t discuss the case, but the people they have spoken with will. The FBI, for instance, has met with Planned Parenthood. Years before all this happened, Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics regularly received threatening anthrax letters containing white powder. The organization kept photocopies of the letters, and after this investigation began, FBI agents came by to check them out.”

Lafferty said that when the NPR reporter asked her in an early January phone conversation if her group had been contacted by the FBI, she “just blew up.”

“Of course we hadn’t been contacted,” she said. “I thought after I had reamed him out that we had heard the last of him.”

In the introduction to the NPR program, host Bob Edwards said “there appear to be parallels” between the anthrax incidents and the Unabomber case, referring to convicted domestic terrorist Ted Kaczynski.

Lafferty said that in response to NPR’s speculation she has contacted lawmakers responsible for its funding, and her group is weighing options, including legal action.

“Everybody is aware that this is very, very serious,” she said. “You don’t just go around saying people are mailing anthrax.”

Calls to NPR by WorldNetDaily yesterday afternoon were not returned.


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