Investigative Project on Terrorism

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IPT logo,circa 2015 Credit: Twitter

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) is private sector counter terror agency set up and run by Steven Emerson in 1995. It is essentially a vehicle for promoting Emerson's work but it has also produced several likeminded experts, notably Evan Kohlmann.


Steve Emerson claimed that the Oklahoma bombing was carried out by Islamists:

Emerson became widely known in the aftermath of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, when, appearing as an expert on CBS News, he theorized that the attack was the work of Islamic extremists. It turned out that Timothy McVeigh was responsible.[1]

In a lesser known incident, Emerson had promoted the case of Iftikhar Chaudhry Khan, who had claimed he was a top Pakistani nuclear scientist, but turned out to be a "former low-level accountant at a company that makes bathroom fixtures." According to Khan's lawyer "Emerson was helpful in corroborating information and making scientific clarifications."[2] Khan was the source behind an article in The Observer which had claimed that "military commanders have discussed pre-emptive nuclear strikes against India."[3]


Andrew Cochran worked as a lobbyist for the Investigative Project from 2004-2006, as did Rachel Sullivan and Trey Barnes, both then also lobbyists at Public Policy Partners (which became GAGE in 2005). As well as representing Motley Rice, Trey Barnes has also lobbied for several private military and intelligence companies including Aegis Defence Services, the Strategic Communication Laboratories, Becatech and L-3 Communications. In 2005 the Investigative Project also hired the lobbying firm Baker Donelson[4] which represents several arms and aviation corporations, the Newspaper Association of America and The Washington Post.


The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which provided $100,000 for Emerson’s documentary film Jihad in America, has also funded a study by Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank spun off by directors of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The same foundation has also provided grants to the Foreign Policy Research Institute of Philadelphia, then headed by Daniel Pipes and an associate, Khaled Duran, who also was Emerson’s collaborator producing Jihad in America.[5] Emerson also received money from the right-wing media tycoon Richard Mellon Scaife, for Jihad in America. During the cold war, Scaife had sponsored anti-communist crusader Brian Crozier and his foundations later provided $2.4 million over several years to American Spectator to pay for negative reporting on Bill Clinton, including hiring a private eye. Millions more went to other anti-Clinton groups.[6]

As for IPT (which was founded after Emerson made Jihad in America), the organisation’s website states that it “does not accept funding from any government agency or religious institutions” and is funded through “charitable contributions from private U.S. individuals and foundations”. Emerson has refused to disclose the identity of these individuals and foundations, however, it is evident from IRS filings made by IPT’s donors that it is funded by many of the same foundations that fund America’s powerful Israel lobby.

In 2002 IPT received $350,000 from the Smith Richardson Foundation, $25,000 from the Reuben and Rose Mattus Foundation and $25,000 from the Blum-Kovler Foundation. That year the Reuben and Rose Mattus Foundation also gave grants to the One Israel Fund (which supports Israeli settlers in the occupied territories), the Jerusalem Reclamation Project and Americans for a Safe Israel.

In 2003 IPT received another $250,000 from the Reuben and Rose Mattus Foundation and $250,000 from the Smith Richardson Foundation. It also received $25,000 from the Samuel and Julia Bernstein Foundation.

In 2006 IPT received $5,000 from the Bialkin Family Foundation, and $10,000 from The Ellen and Gary Davis Foundation. It also received $10,000 from the Aufzien Foundation and $6,000 from the Howard and Geraldine Polinger Foundation.

That year The Ellen and Gary Davis Foundation also donated $5,000 to Israel at Heart and $1,000 to Friends of the IDF. The Bialkin Family Foundation supported the Friends of Israel Center, The Jerusalem Foundation, the American Israel Friendship League, and the Anti-Defamation League. The Howard and Geraldine Polinger Foundation supported the Anti-Defamation League, The Israel Project, the American Jewish Committee and the Israel on Campus Coalition.

The Thomas Jefferson Rosenberg Foundation is also a funder. [7]

2012 and 2013

In 2013 the Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation received two grants from the Russell Berrie Foundation for USD $100,000 and $15,000 [8]

In 2012 the project received $25,000 USD from the Gotham Charitable Foundation Trust (previously $65,000 in 2010).

A large chunk of its finances comes from the Middle East Forum: it gave IPTF $167,085 in 2012, $512,500 in 2011 and $480,000 in 2010.[9]

It also received funds from the Abstraction Fund in 2012 and 2013.


Principals and Alumni




  1. Benjamin Wallace-Wells, PRIVATE JIHAD How Rita Katz got into the spying business, New Yorker, 29 May 2006, Posted 2006-05-22
  2. John F. Sugg, 'Steven Emerson's Crusade', Extra!, January/February 1999
  3. Peter Beaumont, Paul Beaver, Anwar Iqbal, 'Pakistan's plan for a nuclear hit Scientist defects with list of Indian targets', The Observer, 28 June 1998
  4. Baker Donelson Lobbying Report for the Investigative Project 2005
  5. Richard H. Curtiss, Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs, September 1999, pp.138-140
  6. Brooks Jackson/CNN, ‘Who Is Richard Mellon Scaife?’, 27 April 1998; (accessed 15 August 2008)
  7. Dates TBC
  8. IRS 990 Filing, Russell Berrie Foundation, Citizen, accessed 2 March 2015, p15
  9. [=candidate&sf[]=donor&sf[]=recipient&sf[]=transaction&sf[]=finances Investigative Project on Terrorism], Conservative Transparency Database, accessed 9 June 2015
  10. Middle East Forum, Form 990, 2014
  11. Kevin Keenan, ‘Analysts say fundraising for terrorists went on without notice’, Telegram and Gazette, 11 September 2006, (accessed via The Investigative Project website on 17 April 2008)
  12. Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Hubris (2006), 74
  13. Bob Smietana, Does anyone profit from spreading anti-Muslim fear? Some do, The Tennessean, 24 October 2010
  14. Eli Clifton, More Insights Into Steven Emerson’s Tangled Funding Web,, 4 November 2010