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Janet Reno and the "Cultist" Interview

The following piece of e-mail (or variations of it) has been circulating regarding Janet Reno:

> Hi there! Here's something a friend sent to me:
> ==================
> Attorney General of the United States, Janet Reno, in a "60 Minutes"
> interview, June 26, 1994
> "A cultist is one who has a strong belief in the Bible and the Second
> Coming of Christ; who frequently attends Bible studies; who has a high
> level of financial giving to a Christian cause; who home school their
> children; who has accumulated survival foods and has a strong belief in
> the Second Amendment; and who distrusts big government.
> "Any of these may qualify a person as a cultist but certainly more than
> one of these would cause us to look at this person as a threat, and his
> family as being in a risk situation that qualified for government
> interference."
> ======================
> Do you qualify? Are you (as defined by the U.S. Attorney General) a
> threat?
> This worries me. Does it worry you?
> =====================================
> Everyone in this country - "The land of the free" - with computer
> access
> should copy this and send to every other man, woman and child who can
> read.

This is a piece of complete fiction -- an urban myth. This is confirmed through a number of web sites, varying from Christian right-wingers to the Washington Post, as well as by me personally. I called _60 Minutes_ just now (1100 PST, 11 January 1999). The person I spoke with gave a heavy sigh and explained that Janet Reno was interviewed by _60 Minutes_, but not on that date, and never on that subject. There's also this piece by the _Washington Post_:

"And given her earlier career as state attorney in Dade County, Fla., and her current position as head, and figurehead, of the Justice Department – which is to say, the main Justice facility, the U.S. attorney operations, the Bureau of Prisons, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Marshals Service – it's probably also not surprising that she has attracted the ravings of a subterranean lunatic fringe. The fringe includes Internet fulminators upset by her Miami campaign against deadbeat dads or by Waco or simply by federal law enforcement in general. Among other things, the fulminators regularly fabricate bogus press releases (some of which have found their way into newspapers and provoked letters of inquiry from congressional offices) attempting to persuade the nation that Reno favors "parental licensing," or that she believes that "a cultist is one who has a strong belief in the Bible.""

"Why Janet Reno Fascinates, Confounds and Even Terrifies America?"
By Liza Mundy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 25, 1998; Page W06
The entire article is available at
(It's actually very interesting reading....)

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Page created1/11/99.
Last updated 03/17/03 at 14:37.

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