December 12-15, 2001: Fox News broadcasts a remarkable series about the Israeli "art student" spy ring. The report mentions that at least 60 more Israelis have been detained or arrested since 9/11. "There is no indication that the Israelis were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but investigators suspect that the Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance, and not shared it." When a government source is asked if the Israeli spies knew about the 9/11 attacks before they happened, he responds "The principal question is 'how could they have not known?'" "Investigators within the DEA, INS and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying ... is considered career suicide." A highly placed investigator says there are 'tie-ins' between the spy ring and 9/11. But when asked for details, he flatly refuses to describe them, saying, 'evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It's classified information.'" The report also reveals that Amdocs, an Israeli company, is recording virtually every phone call in the US and could be passing information on to the Israeli government (similar claims were first raised in 2000 [Insight, 5/29/00]). Fox News suggests they might be using this position to impede the 9/11 investigation. [Fox News, 12/12/01]

December 16, 2001: Fox News removes its series on the "art student" spy ring (see December 12-15, 2001) from its website after only two days, in response to pressure from the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) and others (see for instance, [CAMERA, 12/12/01, CAMERA, 12/13/01]). CAMERA for instance, suggests the reporter "has something, personally, about Israel... Maybe he's very sympathetic to the Arab side." [Salon, 5/7/02] The head of the ADL calls the report "sinister dangerous innuendo which fuels anti-Semitism." [Forward, 12/21/01] Yet there doesn't appear to be any substance to these personal attacks (and Forward later reverses its stance on the spy ring [Forward, 3/15/02]). Fox News also never makes a formal repudiation or correction about the series. The contents of the series continues to be mostly ignored by the mainstream media, but it makes a big impact inside the US government. For instance, an internal DEA communiqué from December 18 mentions the Fox report by name, and warns of security breaches in telecommunications as described in the Fox report. [Salon, 5/7/02]