Ergun Caner a Jihadist? How Did the Intelligence Communities Respond?

Posted: January 14, 2014 in Ergun Caner, NEWS
Tags: ,

I understand that my opinion of the Ergun Caner controversy isn’t boding well with friends I have over in the Non Calvinist camp, but I can not apologize for the facts I have studied that have led me to a clear and convincing conclusion that Caner’s consistently changing stories are so bewildering that I could not in good conscience recommend such character as an example to be followed by students eager to learn God’s ways in their Christian walk.

As a former paralegal and intelligence analyst, of the many inconsistencies I’ve discovered in my own research of Caner’s claims was Caner’s claims to have been raised a Jihadist until he was 17 years old (although this video says he was 15 when he converted) : and the lack of the US intelligence agencies’ responses to that claim. Certainly, if Caner would have been interrogated by agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agencies (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA) or Homeland Security,  INTERPOL, or in Israel, Mossad, this would have been an incredible boost to his resume, and added credibility to his claim that he had in fact, been raised a Jihadist.

Since Caner claimed to have been raised Jihadist, this means that the sentiment would have been a familial goal. That being the case, every intelligence agency worth its salt would have wanted to question Ergun, and know the extent of his father’s involvement, if any, and if such intention still exists. They would have wanted to know who his trainers were, the locations of the Madrasas in Beirut (especially Beirut, since Hezbollah has many operations in Lebanon and is funded with millions of dollars by Iran), the identities of the leaders of any particular cell operations and where they were located, how many contacts did his father have, etc. If Caner was “raised” a Jihadist, then his father in coming to America would no doubt have had a specific plan, possible targets, and many Jihadists wait several years in order to implement such schemes at opportune times. Thus any information that could have been gleaned from not only Caner, but his brothers, mother,  father, and friends, would have been of extreme relevance, value and importance to intelligence agencies. Just because Caner converted, does not mean his past would cease to be relevant to intelligence agencies. On the contrary, it would become even more relevant because there’s always a possibility that the conversion could be a way to hide in plain site.

However, not once has Caner ever mentioned being detained or interrogated by any intelligence agencies, nor has he ever mentioned that anyone in his family has ever undergone the same. This would be HIGHLY unlikely and contrary to every known protocol among intelligence agencies not to thoroughly interrogate the Caners once Ergun declared publicly (even once to a group of United States military troops) that he was raised a Jihadist.

Furthermore, although most terrorist cells operate in small groups, once a cell has been compromised, those at the top of the food chain of that cell go to extremes to “tie up loose ends”. And because Jihadists use various intimidation tactics, they would have wanted Caner to know that  his actions in converting cost the lives of those whom he was trained with; yea they would have bragged about it, and used it as an example of what happens to those who defect. None of this is ever mentioned by Caner.

It also begs the question as to what extent any threats still exist. If Caner was raised a Jihadist, he was not raised in it alone. Now I affirm that Christ can save anyone (Heb 7:25), and I don’t want to cast doubt on Ergun or Emir’s conversions, but being converted does not eliminate the potential threat that could still exist. Even though Caner’s conversion was long ago, it is not uncommon for terrorist plots to take several years to come to fruition. As such, Ergun and Emir Caner would owe it to the citizens of America to cooperate with intelligence agencies in confirming their Jihadist plots and connections because the plot (if any) may have changed players, but that doesn’t mean the plot itself has changed, and the fact that Caner has been completely dishonest about his testimony should raise great alarm as to whether or not there may be a remaining threat if he was truly raised a Jihadist.

I don’t know why this issue has not been raised by those defending Caner, and even seems to be a matter that has been unnoticed by his opponents. I believe that Ergun Caner owes it to the American citizens and the intelligence communities to confirm whether or not any potential threats still exist. I’m sure that Lebanon would also appreciate knowing where these training centers are located so they could determine if they are still in use, and if the same people are still involved. That would also certainly be valuable information to US and Israeli intelligence. If the Caner’s father was building mosques inside America, and was an admitted Jihadist, where did the funds come from for the building projects? and did the Imams of those Mosques share the same sentiments as the Caners?

Ergun Caner has opened a can of worms with this side of his testimony and I believe there are several important issues that need to be resolved so that the citizens of America (and wherever else he trained for these Jihadist purposes) can feel safe in knowing that Caner has done all he can to insure that there will be no collateral damage as a result of his defecting from his childhood purpose, or that whatever crowd he was involved with is no longer a threat. But the fact that, as far as I have researched, Ergun has been completely silent about intelligence efforts to determine the extent of his involvement and whether or not there are any remaining potential threats is a very odd omission in his testimony.

Perhaps those reading this will yet believe Caner’s testimony. But in light of the afore mentioned factors, are you willing to take the chance that you could be wrong?


One additional note on Caner’s claim is that he stated to have been shocked at the 911 attacks. If he was trained to do exactly what was done on 911, converted or not, why would he be shocked? The 911 attacks should have come as no surprise to him.

*The claim that Caner was trained as a Sunni terrorist in Beirut is an odd claim in that the only known Sunni terrorist camps in that area are at that time were Al Qaeda, the rest are Shiite Muslims, Hezbollah in particular.

  1. Fredericka says:

    “If Caner was “raised” a Jihadist, then his father in coming to America would no doubt have had a specific plan. . .”
    Ergun does have a habit of throwing his father Acar under the bus, and this is not the only instance. He also claimed the man was a polygamist, which would have been illegal not only under U.S. law but also Turkish law. Must be some kind of Oedipal conflict going on.

  2. Eddie says:

    Thanks for this article. You bring up some good points, although I think you might be giving our intelligence agencies a bit too much credit. DoD and DoJ certainly weren’t too quick on the uptake in several prominent cases such as Al-Awlaki. Also, they are probably inundated with reports of muslim teenagers running their mouths to their buddies or girlfirends about how they’re hardcore jihadis. If they did look into Dr Caner, a junior analyst could have seen through him in about two minutes, with his conflicting facts, Arabic-sounding gibberish, and hyped-up stories.

    But yes, if Dr Caner actually was a member of the “Islamic Youth Jihad”, as he claims, I would think that he would have offered his insights to the FBI to ensure that his former co-jihadis were rounded up. But you and I both know why he didn’t do that.

    I got suspicious of Dr Caner when he said that his father had come to America to build mosques in 1979 because the Iranian Ayatollah Khomenei said to. The idea that a Sunni Muslim living in Turkey would be encouraged to emigrate by a Shia Ayatollah in Iran is beyond laughable. But to to the average American evangelical, I guess it made sense. When I found out that he peddled his story to the Marines, then I got angry. Telling your half-truths to gullible evangelicals as a sermon device is one thing, but telling them to Marines who might take these misapprehensions into combat takes it to a whole new level.

    I’m praying that there can be a way that God deals with this issue without there being further dishonor to His Name and further disunity amongst His people.

    • drjamesa says:

      I’m only giving the intelligence community the credit for what I know personally to be their general protocols, which is why I did not include the DOD or DOJ in that list. The DOD has a little bit more of a handle on intelligence of foreign terrorists, but the DOD relies mostly on information from the other intelligence agencies and is more reactionary in structure than analytical. The DOJ is more domestic oriented, but with the creation of Homeland Security would defer domestic leads to them with only a modicum of input or analysis from their own department unless someone on a power-trip with an agenda decides to organize a joint task force and take the credit for any apprehensions.

      But there are at least some truthful facts involved that would have separated his claims from the average loud mouth. They did come from Muslim backgrounds, and did build mosques, and there have been mosques under suspicion for organizing terrorist plots. Those facts coupled with Ergun’s profession of being a trained terrorist would have caused an inquiry. My guess would be that they did look into it, and found nothing credible to the story and thus felt no need for interrogation. If it was as serious as Caner claims, they WOULD HAVE interrogated him and his family, and the fact that he leaves that out in his testimony when being interrogated would add credibility to his claims of being raised a Jihadist is most surprising.

      The other baffling thing about this is that those trained in terrorism blend in on purpose. They don’t try and stick out like a sore thumb by wearing Islamic garb. Now although we know that he was pictured with typical American clothing, the fact that he would claim that he consistently wore Islamic garb in public would be an unlikely story anyway because that’s not how terrorists instruct their members to act in public.

  3. Fredericka says:

    Re: “They don’t try and stick out like a sore thumb by wearing Islamic garb.”
    If you ever look at a TV shot of a crowd scene taken in Istanbul back in the 1960’s or 1970’s, you don’t see a whole lot of people wearing “Islamic garb.” In some cases it was illegal, after Kemal Ataturk forcibly secularized the country. Since then Turkey has taken a hard Islamic turn, but in the years when Ergun would have been growing up there if he had grown up there, he would have stuck out like a sore thumb parading around in the kind of get-up he claims he was wearing in the halls of an American high school. The real-life Turkey, the Turkey known to the newspapers, is a place where a woman showing up in Parliament wearing a head-scarf touches off a constitutional crisis. Ergun’s Turkey, by contrast, is indistinguishable from Afghanistan under the Taliban.

  4. Kreine says:

    With the mountain of evidence against Caner’s claims, I am completely flummoxed as to why there are still those who continue to not only accept Caner’s stories, but also defend them.

    • drjamesa says:

      I am convinced it is somewhat of a pride issue because people like James White and JD Hall were so aggressive and spiteful in HOW they approached the subject that it would be seen as a victory for the Calvinists if they concede, and they don’t want to give them bragging rights, and then every conversation in the future would always have an element of “Oh yeah, remember Caner?”. If White and co would have handled this differently there may have been a completely different result. Even now, I think if White and Hall would admit to their faux pas on how the pursued this, it might decrease the tension enough where others don’t have to feel trapped by their defense of Caner. But it may be so far gone now that both sides have become settled in their interpretations of events.

  5. Tim Rogers says:

    Dr Ach,

    You have been a huge help to me and I certainly write this with fear and trembling. But you know I disagree with you on the Dr. Caner issue.

    That being said and your background with the legal system. Let me ask this question. If the evidence presented by an accuser is proven to be false how is the rest of the evidence presented viewed?

    • drjamesa says:

      That is a good question, but the problem with that is the legal system has a different format for handling such inquiries. We don’t know specifically what kind of questions were asked by these committees, or what they were looking for. We also do not know if it was an impartial investigator that conducted the questioning. I would lend more credibility to an inquiry done by a neutral party than one conducted by in-house investigators.

      Since we don’t know what questions were asked, we can’t really conclude that any specific allegations were declared false. Which facts was Caner questioned about? What answer did he give and what were the follow up questions? Let me illustrate. If Caner were asked “Did you lie about ever living in Turkey”, if he only lived there for 3 days, he could honestly answer that question with a yes. Then the board declares, “We find that Caner did not lie”. Then, because THAT question is settled, everyone assumes that all the rest of the questions are settled as well. But, had the question been asked differently, “Were you born in Turkey as you publicly claimed several times”, Caner would have had to say ‘no’. Then, there would be a follow up question: why did you claim that you were born in Turkey on numerous occasions when you knew that was not true?

      A legal investigator would also make sure he understood the difference between a lie and a “misstatement”. Many of the things he has said in public, and declared that he merely “misspoke”, he would not get away with in a court of law. And I am convinced that out of all those he has sued, that is the reason he has NOT sued anyone for defamation of character (the standard legal cause of action for both libel and slander) because he knows in a court room he would be held to a different standard of fact finding than he faced by an in-house investigatory committee.

      Now you know that I can’t stand how White and Hall have pursued this, and I believe they have just as much to repent of as Caner. Moreover, as a Baptist opposed to Calvinism, I would love nothing more than for Caner to be right about this. But, I spent many years involved in investigative work and there are just far too many things that do not add up. I think Caner has dug himself so far into his defense now there is no way out without destroying his career. Had he addressed this head on in the infant stages of the controversy I think he may have fared much better off, but he has allowed critics like White and Hall to gain momentum, and because they have their own agendas, this is going to be an ace card for them regardless of whether Caner ever “comes clean” or not. As long as Caner maintains total innocence in this, he will always have others watching over his shoulder looking to exploit any public statement he makes that has even the slightest variation in consistency. Now it’s one thing if someone falsely accuses you and you can prove the allegations to be either absolutely false, or mere spin and exaggeration. But quite another when the grounds of the accusation are genuine, and I believe in several of the allegations against Caner, the latter is more true than not.

      • Tim Rogers says:

        Dr. Ach,

        You say, “We also do not know if it was an impartial investigator that conducted the questioning. I would lend more credibility to an inquiry done by a neutral party than one conducted by in-house investigators.”

        Ask any Trustee at LU and they will affirm the investigation was not done by one particular PI that is in a “good-ole-boy” network. It was a reputable company that was just one company but the company farmed out various other parts of the investigation to other PI firms. The first returned independent reports that was included in a final report. In all the reports they all concluded there was nothing found that would give validity to any of the accusations.

        They not only found the accusations were based on false information but they found given the “crusade” mentality that has been demonstrated by the Evangelical Protestant adversaries, it will take nothing short of the transforming power of God to convince the “crusaders” to prayerfully surrender their concerns over to God who is able to both correct and discipline His children in His way and His will, Hebrews 12:7-11. This is part of one investigative report that was delivered. After interviewing some of those that were opposed to Dr. Caner they concluded there would be no way to convince. them.

      • drjamesa says:

        Again, are you getting that from the investigative reports themselves, or are you repeating what others have said the investigators said. I would have to see the actual reports themselves before I could lean on them, because what I have seen with my own eyes and ears, is that if the investigators passed up the evidence I see, they were the sloppiest investigators I have ever seen.

        But again, if “NOTHING” was found, then why did Caner get demoted? That’s even worse then demoting him over “misstatements”. To demote someone over a misstatement is cruel, to demote someone when NOTHING was found is insane.

        I will be glad to review the reports if you have a link to them.

      • Tim Rogers says:

        Dr. Ach,

        You say; ” Had he addressed this head on in the infant stages of the controversy I think he may have fared much better off, but he has allowed critics like White and Hall to gain momentum, and because they have their own agendas, this is going to be an ace card for them regardless of whether Caner ever “comes clean” or not. As long as Caner maintains total innocence in this, he will always have others watching over his shoulder looking ”

        He tried to address it head-on in the beginning. Dr Falwell Jr. is a lawyer and his position is; “The best kind of evidence to fight is that evidence that you prohibit from ever getting in front of a jury…” Meaning the less you say about anything the less you have to explain. Dr. Caner was placed under a “gag” rule by his employer. “Coming clean” is something he has done. As I said below, the threats on his life and that of his family are real and there is still only so much he can “come clean” about.

      • drjamesa says:

        First of all, gag orders are only issued by courts or administrative investigative agencies (special committees, judicial panels, DOJ committees, etc..). Attorneys don’t give gag orders. Secondly, a gag order is only issued when there is an actual pending legal action. If the only pending action was a review by a college administrative staff, there would have not only been no jury trial, but no serious negative consequences other than someone reporting an inconsistency to the college. I fully understand the use of gag orders, or remaining silent, but not over mere public scrutiny over inconsistent or false statements. Caner wasn’t in any legal trouble over his statements, so there was no need to be so extreme in preventing him from publicly defending himself.

        And if Caner HAS come clean, I would like to see exactly what he said.

  6. Tim Rogers says:

    Dr. Ach,

    One other thing, The audio you present in your link about does not say he was raised a “Jihadist”. He says he was raised in the area where Jihad was a fact of life where here in America Jihad is a theory. The audio says; “I was raised in it”–the area of the world that Jihad is a fact of life.

    • drjamesa says:

      I had the original video of this in its entirety, but it has now been removed from Youtube. But on this site, the same statement is made (first video posted) [I personally loathe the content of the jaxwatchdog site because they are antagonist to the IFB period, so the link I posted is for the video only because all of the originals have been removed] . At the 30 second mark, Caner claims that until he was 15 years old, he was raised in the Islamic Jihad Youth. I also have another video of where Caner claims to have been trained to do exactly what they did on 911. That’s a little more than simply, “I was raised in it”. Plus, Caner made statements that “I hate you Americans and Christians”. Not all Muslims hate Americans, particularly, the Sunni Muslims (ones not link to Al Qaeda). I live in Tel Aviv with a very significant number of Muslims that do not hate Jews (rare but there are many) or Christians. Caner saying that he hated you Americans only lends credence to his claim to have been a Jihadist.

      I have heard this statement over and over again from numerous different church sites before they were taken down.

      Also, saying that he was raised “IN it” is not the same as saying he was simply raised “AROUND it”. Plus, if you listen, he follows that comment up by telling you why Jihad is a reality instead of just a theory like most Americans believe, and he further explains why his specific teaching on the 5 pillars of Islam supports Jihad as a reality. There is no question that Caner conveyed that he was raised a Jihadist.

      • Tim Rogers says:

        Dr. Ach,

        First, have you seen any claims contrary to what your mind is already set on? Why do you accept only the parts you have spoken on? Also, did you know an independent investigation was done by LU? Do you realize there were 3 independent investigators that presented reports to the committee? Do you know that in those three reports all of them examined the claims and all of them came back stating there was nothing false or exaggerated about the content Dr. Caner has presented?

        Private investigations were launched. The Muslims came after his then 11 year old son. The FBI came to his house and packed his family up and hid them for some time because of death threats. These things actually happened. You cannot deny those things and certainly make them up. This issue about him being trained in Jihad is something all Muslim children are taught as the 6th pillar of Islam. He went to Islamist schools and his dad built Mosque’s here in America. Once again, Private Investigators did their investigations and affirmed this was truth.

      • drjamesa says:

        What we have all seen is the summary of the investigation given by staff at LU, not the actual reports themselves. We have seen their interpretation of the report, not the interpretation of the facts that were stated by the investigators themselves. I have never seen the actual report, I don’t who the investigators were, or what their qualifications were to be deemed “professional investigators”.

        Most Islamic Jihadists don’t begin training them in training camps until they are twelve years old. That’s AVERAGE training age because they want them to memorize the Quran first and be MENTALLY indoctrinated before they put them through physical training. Now Caner didn’t say he was TAUGHT to be a Jihadist, he said he was TRAINED to be one, and as I’ve shown before, he himself said he was trained in it until he was 15. Since he came to the United States at age 4, just where at in Ohio was he training to be a Jihadist? Caner’s father, Acar Caner, purchased a home in the US on July 19, 1974. Not only do numerous records show Ergun had moved to the US in 1969, but that he was living in the US in 1974. Caner specifically claimed to be trained in a training camp in Beirut. There were no Sunni Jihadist training camps before 1974, let alone a Sunni training camp in Beirut. In fact, the very first known Sunni terrorist group was Al Qaeda, and they did not become prominent until 1979 under Osama bin Laden, and did not train in Beirut, but in Afghanistan. Caner could not have possibly attended a Sunni terrorist training camp during the times he claimed to have been trained a Jihadist, and certainly his claim that he did so until age 15 (or 17 since he has made that claim as well) in America is not possible.

        And no, not all Sunni Muslims are trained as Jihadists as children. I live around too many of them to know better. Now I will say that since it is clear in the Quran that Jihad is necessary for the spread of Islam, that those who do not teach it or train in it or inconsistent as Muslims, but the issue is whether all Sunni Muslims train their children in the kind of “911” Jihad that Caner said he was trained for, and that claim is patently false.

        Now I don’t dispute that Ergun and his family were Muslims. I wouldn’t dispute that they were threatened but even that story is odd because Ergun’s testimony is that he converted to Christianity in the early 80’s. If he was threatened after his conversion, where did he get an 11 year old son from when he was less than 18 years old when he converted? So that means he was not threatened during the early years of his conversion, but probably some time after 911 when he publicly claimed he was a Muslim Jihadist. I would think that with his claim to have debated Muslims in 13 different countries, why did these Muslims groups wait until after 911 to threaten? Wouldn’t his testimony about being a former Jihadist already have been known throughout the Muslim world in the countries he supposedly debated them in? Him being threatened does not support the rest of his story (even IF it’s true) as that would be common for any Muslim group to want to attack someone who publicly claims that converted to Christianity after being trained a Jihadist. But even that story has several holes in it that just don’t make any sense.

        Even with the investigation, why would LU demote him over “misstatements”? That seems a little extreme for just a simple misunderstanding about dates and places. Not only that, but they only offered him a 1 year contract after that. I would think that if they expected him to have a longer tenure at LU, they would have offered a longer contract.

        But again, as I stated before regarding this investigation: What questions did they ask Caner? What was the scope and extent of the interrogation? Did they ask him about the things that you are now seeing all over the internet? And if an investigation committee tells me that there’s no difference between 1969 and 1978, I would have serious doubts about their skill as investigators. If an investigator tells me that debates Caner claims to have had in 13 countries and 30 states, one of them in which was a well known Muslim apologist that no Muslim trained in Jihad could possibly confuse with someone else, not several different times, and these claims can not be substantiated AT ALL, I have serious reservations about the integrity of this investigation. LU may have one of the best reputations there are among Christian colleges, but I can’t go off of their reputation, I have to go off of the facts that I have seen with my own eyes and ears.

        I would be more than happy to defend Caner if I thought there was something to defend. And you have to remember, I am not James White or JD Hall. I have absolutely no personal reason or agenda here to see Caner excoriated over this, and I have written just as much about the wicked way in which he has been attacked. But Caner’s story doesn’t add up in more ways than one.

      • Tim Rogers says:

        Dr. Ach,

        First, the audio/video on the site at watchdog is certainly edited. Because of it being an edited version one has to rely on the owner of the site and his integrity. You have certainly explained that you “loathe” the site. As you know the site is known for being unfair to those they are against. So you have to question the purpose of editing the audio. Next, you question the testimony of the 15 years of age and the 17 years of age concerning salvation. In his book “Unveiling Islam” Dr. Caner states that he contemplated coming to Christ for two years. In the audio he does not say he came to Christ at age 15.

      • drjamesa says:

        Well, what do you expect when Caner sues everyone that has an original copy of the videos? Why did he sue anyone at all if he was telling the truth? I seen the videos in their entirety before they were pulled, and was even tempted to download them for myself but then he might have sued me. Editing a video does not mean the video was tampered with. Even though only small portions are played, you can’t change WHAT was said in even those small portions. Be realistic here, if Caner said he debated Shabir Ally, was playing the rest of the video going to show something that said otherwise? When Caner claims in one video he was trained as a Jihadist until 15, and another at 17, is seeing the whole video in context going to alter what he said?

        Unless Caner is claiming that the videos were ALTERED, then editing them is non sequitur. If they were altered, then why isn’t Caner correcting the record by telling us what he really said? Why isn’t his lawyer, David Gibbs, suing for defamation where Caner could easily prove others are lying about him? I mean, come on, if you’re willing to sue another Christian over material that belongs to other churches and even the military, why not sue to prove you’re being slandered?

        And I don’t really need to question the purpose of other sites posting these videos, I know what their purpose is, it’s to destroy Caner. But their motive doesn’t change the content of what he said. Motive would be a factor if Caner is claiming that these videos were altered, like someone using a voice over analog technology and doctoring the videos, but if that’s the case, why isn’t Caner claiming this defense and having his lawyer pursue that? If Caner could prove that that would silence every critic he has.

  7. Bennett Willis says:

    Was Tim “driven from the field” by facts? This is very unusual for him or other Caner defenders.

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