Terrorism expert to speak in Albert Lea

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 14, 2002

Peter L. Bergen of Washington, D.C., author of &uot;Holy War Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden,&uot; will make a special presentation starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Albert Lea High School auditorium.

Bergen’s appearance in Albert Lea, where he has family ties, is sponsored by Community Education and the Albert Lea Jaycees.

Bergen is scheduled to host and narrate a two-hour National Geographic Explorer television special today, Oct. 13, starting at 7 p.m. on the MSNBC cable channel. (Channel 72 in Albert Lea, according to Charter Communications.)

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This program, &uot;Nuclear Terrorism: Blinding Horizons,&uot; is based on Bergen’s recent five-week trip to central Asia to investigate the secret world of nuclear material smuggling. The threat from this smuggling is that this dangerous material could be destined for the al Queda organization and the followers of Osama bin Laden. Bergen’s research involved interviews in Russia, with former Senator Sam Nunn, U.S. Customs agents in New York, and officials in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Bergen, CNN’s terrorism analyst, is a contributor to several publications, a lecturer, and commentator who has appeared on many television news programs. He was the first person to interview Osama bin Laden at a remote site in Afghanistan on April 12, 1997. His best-selling book, &uot;Holy War Inc.,&uot; was published in the fall of 2001 and updated with two new chapters in a new edition issued earlier this year. This book is now available in 14 languages and reportedly there are 800,000 copies in print.

Peter Bergen is the son of Albert Lea native, D. Thomas Bergen of New York and Washington, D.C., and the grandson of the late Dr. and Mrs. Francis J. Bergen of Albert Lea.

He was born in Minneapolis and raised in London. He received a bachelor of arts degree in modern history from Oxford. While at this university he made a documentary about the Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, which was shown on English television.

After graduation from Oxford, Bergen moved to New York City in 1984 and worked for ABC. While at ABC, he covered the Romanian revolution, was part of a team that interviewed Nancy and Ronald Reagan, and investigated the legal status of women in Pakistan.

In 1990 he became a part of CNN’s bureau in New York City, then went to the Washington, D.C. bureau in 1992. During his years with CNN he produced a variety of documentaries and daily news stories. Some of the news events he covered include the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and the Colombian cocaine connection, which resulted in an Emmy award for Bergen.

He is currently CNN’s terrorism analyst, and had written about Islamist militants and related subjects for The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, The Times of London, and Vanity Fair Magazine. He served as Pew Journalist-in-Residence at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and is now a fellow of the New American Foundation.

He has been awarded many honors, among them the Leonard Silk Journalism Fellowship, and a 1994 Edward R. Murrow Award for best foreign affairs documentary from the Overseas Press Club.

Seating is available by ticket only. The free tickets can be picked up at the Community Education office, 211 W. Richway Drive, between 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Due to Bergen’s potential scheduling conflicts, this program scheduled for Oct. 19 is subject to last-minute cancellation.