FDD states that it combines policy research, investigative journalism, strategic communications, and democracy and counterterrorism education. FDD focuses its efforts where it believes opinions are formed and, ultimately, where the war of ideas will be won or lost: in the media, on college campuses, in the courthouse, and in the policy community, at home and abroad.
FDD’s most recent Annual Report lists three fundamental points:
FDD has initiated the following centers, coalitions, committees and ongoing projects:
FDD engages in investigative reporting and runs several campus programs.
FDD coordinates the following campaigns:
The center’s U.S. director is FDD Senior Vice President, Eleana Gordon who leads a bipartisan and multi-national team that offers these activists experience in political and advocacy campaign management, strategic communications, democracy training and education, media relations, organization building, and the strategic use of technology. In addition, CLIME organizes media appearances, policy conferences, and speaking tours for them.
CLIME conducts research and commissions in-depth papers and reports on political liberalization and democratic reform in the region, which it distributes to hundreds of government officials, policymakers, media and academic figures in the United States and Europe. The center’s online publications include:
FDD believes that the war against terrorism cannot be won on the battlefield alone, and says that Senior Fellow Andrew C. McCarthy is one of the nation’s leading experts on prosecuting the war against terrorists while protecting the civil liberties of Americans.
For 18 years, McCarthy was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York. From 1993 to 1995, he led the successful prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 others in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. He also made major contributions to the prosecutions of the bombers of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as well as the Millennium plot attack at Los Angeles International Airport.
He joined FDD as a senior fellow in 2004 to address the issue of protecting of civil liberties while fighting terrorism.
In 2006, FDD stated that it tasked McCarthy with laying the groundwork for the Center for Law & Counterterrorism (CLC). This program examines the inevitable tension between civil liberties and national security. The CLC advisors McCarthy recruited include former Education Secretary William Bennett, retired Chief Federal District Judge Michael B. Mukasey, former Deputy Attorney General George J. Terwilliger III, National Review Editor Rich Lowry, Columbia Law School Professor Daniel C. Richman, and FDD Senior Fellow Victoria Toensing, a former Justice Department official.
FDD's Future of Terrorism Project is run by Walid Phares, a Middle East expert whose advice and counsel has been sought for the past two decades by officials from the United States, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, France, Great Britain, Italy, Lebanon, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. A professor of Middle East Studies and native Arabic speaker who is fluent in French, Phares played an important role in the passage of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, which called for Syria to end its occupation of Lebanon.
As an FDD senior fellow, Phares regularly conducts briefings for the European Parliament and Commission, the U.N. Security Council, foreign governments, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. departments of State, Justice, Defense, and Homeland Security. Phares is the author of nine books on the Middle East, including the Foreign Affairs best-seller, Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against the West, published in 2006, and The War of Ideas: Jihad Against Democracy, published in 2007.
Phares reaches millions of people as a terrorism analyst for Fox News and through radio and television appearances around the world, including the BBC, al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, and Alhurra. He writes frequently for academic publications and newspapers, including Global Affairs, Middle East Quarterly, The Philadelphia Inquirer, National Review, and the Chicago Sun-Times.
FDD claims to believe that what it considers to be terrorist controlled-and funded media—such as Hezbollah’s al-Manar Television and al-Nour Radio, and Hamas’ al-Aqsa TV—are used to promote hate, incite violence, recruit suicide bombers and other terrorists, and conduct operational surveillance. As a result, FDD founded the Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM)—with a membership that includes Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and secular organizations in America and Europe—to fight on this front. It wages a campaign to remove such networks from the airwaves.
Before CATM launched its campaign against al-Manar, the station reached a daily worldwide audience of 10 to 15 million viewers with its 24/7 broadcasts.
As a direct result of CATM’s campaign, FDD says that the following goals were achieved:
The Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) calls itself a non-partisan organization that seeks to stiffen U.S. resolve to confront and defeat the ideologies that drive terrorism. In its efforts, CPD focuses on the threats that militant Islamism allegedly presents to the national security of the United States and its allies. The Committee also is highlighting what it considers to be threats to basic human rights—in particular, women’s rights, gay rights, and freedom of religion.
CPD has played a significant role in U.S. national security debates in the past. The Committee was formed in 1950 as a bipartisan advocacy organization for President Harry S Truman’s policy of containment against what it believed to be Soviet expansionism. The CPD then re-emerged in 1976 when its original leaders and others — including U.S. Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson — believed that Americans’ will to win the Cold War was flagging, and that the United States should pursue policies to bring that conflict to a successful conclusion.
Today, CPD’s membership includes more than 100 former U.S. Cabinet members and White House officials from Republican and Democratic administrations, ambassadors, academicians, writers, and other foreign policy experts. Its co-chairmen are George Shultz, Secretary of State under President Reagan, and R. James Woolsey, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under President Bill Clinton. U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) serve as honorary co-chairmen. CPD’s international co-chairmen are former Czech President Vaclav Havel and former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.
The organization is controversial for its hard-line stance. Paleoconservative Patrick Buchanan has criticized it for lacking consistency while simultaneously claiming to be in favor of "strategic clarity" in terms of its objectives. Tom Barry has criticized it as alarmist and militaristic in all its incarnations.
Insights gained from investigating the scandal led FDD’s reporter to other investigations in 2006, exposing more U.N. graft, misconduct, and abuse of public trust. Among the 35 articles published under Rosett’s byline in 2006 were claims that the United Nations indirectly helps advance North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and that its refugee agency sabotages the struggle of North Korean refugees seeking freedom.
Rosett also broke the story of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan accepting a $500,000 personal prize from the ruler of Dubai, through a prize jury stacked with U.N. personnel. Her 2006 investigation set off a storm of press criticism that ultimately forced the U.N. leader to return the prize money.
Following up on some of the high-ranking U.N. officials implicated in corruption scandals exposed earlier by Rosett, she again scooped the world press in 2006 by interviewing the former head of the U.N. Oil-for-Food program, Benon Sevan. Since fleeing the United States in 2005, Sevan had been living in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia. He had refused to speak to the media or to congressional investigators. Rosett conducted an exclusive two-and-a-half hour interview, which was published in The Wall Street Journal in April 2006.
FDD believes that it is on college campuses that tomorrow’s leaders will come to understand—or misunderstand—the true nature of the threat facing America and other democratic nations.
FDD says that academic apologists for militant Islamism dominate the fields of Middle East and national security studies, which advocate ideologies that drive or justify terrorism. FDD states that it helps professors and students better understand terrorism and the movements that give rise to it. FDD’s Undergraduate Fellowship program has enrolled close to 200 students since 2002.
At the same time, 118 professors and 4 journalists have gone through its fellowship program which it says helps them research and teach anti-terrorism and pro-democracy ideas and principles. Both fellowships are yearlong and include training components abroad and in Washington DC. An additional 120 professors and senior graduate students have gone through the Summer Workshop on Teaching about Terrorism (SWOTT) program which covers tools used to teach and study terrorism-related issues.
FDD’s Arab and Muslim Speakers Bureau brings community leaders and activists from the Middle East and North Africa region to share their pro-democracy and anti-terrorism messages with students, professors, and their local communities.
FDD says that this campaign raised global awareness of the threat from Iran and its terrorist proxies through more than 300 broadcast interviews of FDD staff in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East; nearly 100 newspaper and policy journal articles written by FDD staff; briefings to scores of policymakers in Washington and European capitals; 20 FDD publications; and polls FDD released.
On college campuses, FDD sponsored speaking tours for Iranian dissident student leaders. In cooperation with FDD’s Arab and Muslim Speakers Bureau and FDD Undergraduate and Academic fellows at, among other schools, Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago, these Iranian student leaders spoke to students and faculty about the alleged threat Iran’s mullahs pose to democracy and human rights.
FDD believes that the six countries that make up the Horn of Africa — Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan — have become the next major front in the war on terror. FDD see radical Islamists in Somalia and Ethiopia as threatening guerilla warfare to impose a Taliban-like theocracy. In the Sudan, they argue, the genocide of Black Muslim Sudanese by the Arab Islamist national government continues unhindered.
FDD Adjunct Fellow J. Peter Pham, one of the first to raise the alarm about the militant Islamist threat in Africa and to call for a comprehensive U.S. national security strategy, conducted its 2006 Crisis in Africa campaign. His activities included testifying before three congressional committees, consulting with U.S. and international officials, participating in conferences of government and academic experts, conducting research, writing approximately 40 articles for major newspapers and publications, and encouraging FDD’s membership in the Save Darfur Coalition.
The International Relations Center features a report on the FDD on its "Right Web" website, which seeks to "check the militaristic drift of the country." The report states that "although the FDD is an ardent critic of terrorism, it has not criticized actions taken by Israel against Palestinians that arguably fall into this category." It terms the FDD a "prominent member of the web of neoconservative-aligned think tanks," including the American Enterprise Institute, Hudson Institute and Freedom House. Jim Lobe, writing in the Asia Times, referred to the FDD as a group "whose views largely mirror those of Israel's ruling Likud Party," and said that the FDD's board of advisors includes "prominent neo-cons and Iraq war boosters." The American Conservative published an article accusing it of being funded mainly by a small number of pro-Israel hawks, as well as being engaged in spin. It is listed as a "pro-war" organization by globalsecurity.org with regard to its stance on Iran's nuclear program. , and has been described as one of the "top neocon think tanks" by the Christian Science Monitor.