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AU Experts Available for Comments on Orlando Terror Attack

WHO: American University experts available for discussion and analysis
WHAT: Discussion and analysis of the Orlando, Fla., terror attack, U.S. national security, political reaction in the U.S., and interfaith issues.
WHEN: June 14, 2016 - ongoing
WHERE: Via telephone, Skype, email, in-studio, or at American University
Background: Early Sunday morning, June 12, 49 people were killed and 53 wounded in a nightclub massacre in Orlando, Fla. The perpetrator, a U.S. citizen, called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS.
American University experts are available to provide their insights on the issues of terrorism, U.S. national security, and political reaction to the attack, among others.

Homegrown Terrorism

Angie Chuang, School of Communication professor of journalism, does research related to representations of race in the news media. She has presented papers on foreign versus American identity in representations of immigrant Americans such as Jiverly Wong, the shooter responsible for massacres in Binghamton, N.Y., Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter behind the Virginia Tech mass murder, and Faisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square bomber. Chuang can speak about how Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani American, along with the Ft. Hood shooting, began an era of concern and media focus on "homegrown" terrorism focused on Muslim U.S. citizens. Chuang has recently authored relevant case studies, such as "The Immigrant Muslim American at the Boundary of Insider and Outsider: Representations of Faisal Shahzad as 'Homegrown' Terrorist" and "Representations of Foreign versus (Asian) American Identity in a Mass-Shooting Case: Newspaper Coverage of the 2009 Binghamton Massacre." Chuang will be presenting a paper this summer about media coverage of Trump's 2011 questioning of Obama's birth certificate and religion.

According to Chuang, “Today, Trump referred to Omar Mateen as "born in Afghanistan" and called for the banning of all immigrants from Muslim countries. Mateen was born in New York, just like Trump, and this kind of conflation is exactly the core of my research on American Otherness.”

Terrorism/National Security/Foreign Policy/ISIS

Tricia Bacon, School of Public Affairs assistant professor, specializes in terrorism, particularly Al-Qaida, the Islamic State, Lashar-e-Tayyiba, al-Shabaab, and other jihadist groups, counterterrorism policy and tactics, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and East Africa. Bacon worked in counter terrorism for more than 10 years at the State Department. Available by Skype or phone.

Stephen Tankel is an assistant professor in the School of International Service at American University and a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. Prof. Tankel specializes in terrorism and counterterrorism with a special focus on the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, including Afghanistan. He frequently advises the government and law enforcement on terrorism-related issues. Prof. Tankel is on the editorial board of Studies in Conflict and Terrorism and is a senior editor of the web magazine War on the Rocks.

Jordan Tama, School of International Studies assistant professor, specializes in the politics, processes, and institutions of U.S. foreign and national security policy making, including presidential-congressional relations, national security strategy, and blue-ribbon advisory commissions. He is the author of National Security Reform: How Commissions Can Drive Change During Crises. He also advised as a member of the intelligence and counterterrorism expert advisory groups for President Obama's presidential campaign. Tama can discuss foreign policy and national security strategy; terrorism; the intelligence community; and the presidency and U.S. Congress.

Joe Young, School of International Service and School of Public Affairs associate professor, is an expert in cross-national causes and consequences of political violence and extremism. Young is available to discuss ISIS; threat of domestic extremism; domestic surveillance and homeland security. Available by Skype or phone.

Thomas Zeitzoff, School of Public Affairs assistant professor in the department of justice, law, and criminology. Areas of expertise include political violence, exposure to violence, and psychological effects of violence. Zeitzoff can discuss civil wars, terrorism, protests, and riots, particularly in the Middle East.

LGBT Issues & Gay Latino Community

Salvador Vidal-Ortiz is a sociologist who can address Latinx, Gay Latinos, and additional LGBTQ issues. Aside from the award winning book The Sexuality of Migration, and current completion of his book manuscript about sexual minorities in Santería (an Afro-Cuban religion), his co-edited book Queer Brown Voices has just been published. A contributor to the American Sociological Association through several committees, he served as convener (and first non-elected Chair) of a new section called Sociology of the Body and Embodiment, is Past Chair of the Sexualities Section, and editorial board member for Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, published by the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities. Outside the discipline, he collaborates with the Center on Latin American and Latino Studies at AU, and as an editorial board member for Duke's newest journal, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly.

Cybersecurity/Encryption/Terrorist Use of Communication

Scott Talan, School of Communication professor of public &strategic communication, is an expert in social media, digital media, new media, personal branding and multimedia. He has been a writer, producer, and reporter for numerous media organizations, including ABC News/Good Morning America. Talan can discuss: the role social media played in wake of Orlando nightclub massacre; #TwoMenKissing; strategy/branding tactics; ISIS recruitment propaganda; ISIS videos and use of social media; encrypted and disappearing apps.

Andrew Lih is an associate professor of journalism. He is a noted expert in online collaboration and digital news innovation and founded the web-based city guide in 1994. He is a contributor to the weekly PBS MediaShift podcast and has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), the Online News Association, Wikimania and Wikisym. Lih can discuss the role social media played in wake of Orlando nightclub massacre; #TwoMenKissing; data security; encrypted social media sites and secure mobile communications.

Interfaith Issues

Akbar Ahmed, School of International Service professor of comparative and regional studies, was the Pakistan High Commissioner (Ambassador) to the United Kingdom and Ireland and was the First Distinguished Chair of Middle East &Islamic Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. He is an expert on Islam; Islam in America; mosques; Pakistan; Afghanistan; South Asia; anthropology; comparative and regional studies; terrorism; ISIS and drones.

Martyn Oliver is a professor in AU’s Religion & Philosophy Dept. Oliver is director of AU’s Arab Studies Program. He is fluent in Arabic and his work explores the construction of religious identity, particularly how Western literature depicts Islam and Muslims. Among the topics he can discuss are presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rhetoric and Islam in America.

U.S. Political Response/Impact on Election 2016

Chris Edelson, School of Public Affairs assistant professor of government, is an expert in presidential national security security power under the U.S. Constitution. He authored Emergency Presidential Power: From the Drafting of the Constitution to the War on Terror (2013) and Power without Constraint: The Post 9/11 Presidency and National Security (2016). Edelson is available to discuss: the legal scope and limits of presidential national security power; Congress's role regarding national security and the use of military force; relevant precedents applicable to the use of military force; legal issues arising in the context of other national security issues.

Jennifer Lawless, School of Public Affairs professor, Director, Women & Politics Institute, School, and Faculty Affiliate at American University’s Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies. Prof. Lawless is a nationally recognized expert on women and politics. She is an author of several books and several policy reports on the barriers that impede women’s candidate emergence. Prof. Lawless can comment on political reactions to the attack.

Leonard Steinhorn, School of Communication public communication professor, is an expert in American politics, culture and media, strategic communication, the presidency, and recent American history. Since 2012, Steinhorn has served as a political analyst for CBS News. Steinhorn has 15 years' experience as a political consultant and speechwriter. He can discuss 2016 presidential candidates’ response/commentary in the wake of the Orlando shooting; immigration and politics; the U.S. states and banning Syrian refugees' entry; and 2016 candidates’ campaign strategies and U.S. foreign policy.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.