Broward News

Campaign Flashback: In 2008, Allen West Feared Kidnapping Plot by Al Jazeera

Considering all the national story lines in the Ron Klein-Allen West showdown for Congress, it's surprising that no one has revisited the most bizarre episodes of the pair's 2008 clash. I'm referring to the moment in July 2008 when West, who was then an obscure candidate, phoned the FBI to report that the television network Al Jazeera English was trying to kidnap him on behalf of Muslim terrorists.

The FBI found evidence of nothing except West's paranoia. More on this, including quotes from West and a video interview of an Al Jazeera English producer, after the jump.

The same month, West recounted his dealings with an Al Jazeera producer for the New York Daily News

"She told my staff that she wanted to talk about the perceived uptick in violence in Afghanistan," West tells us. "I found that strange, since I haven't been in Afghanistan in eight months. There are a lot of other people better qualified to speak to that subject. 

"But my b.s. flag really went up when they said they wanted my address, to pick me up at night. They said they would send a car but wouldn't tell me where it was going. 

 "I don't know if it was a kidnapping attempt," says West, who is challenging first-term Democratic Rep. Ron Klein in the Sunshine State. "But I am not going to entrust Al Jazeera with my life. I said, 'Cancel the interview!'"

Media gossip site Gawker had a field day with the story. And it was the occasion for West's debut as Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World," a dubious honor he's received twice since.

Two of West's campaign talking points are the need for "courage" in Washington and politicians who understand and engage the Muslim world.

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Thomas Francis