Foreign and Defense Policy

Shining a Light on Criminals Hiding in Plain Sight

Adam Ciralsky and the team of special ops guys who make up the real-life team at the heart of NBC’s new show, “The Wanted,” underscore the old adage about real life and fiction. Only instead of the droning sanctimony of PBS’s “Frontline” or the political ax-grinding that passes for investigative journalism, these guys are out in the world confronting terrorists and war criminals and delivering accountability.

The first show took on the founder of al Qaeda affiliate Ansar al Islam, Mullah Krekar (a Kurd named Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad). Mullah Krekar, leader of a specially designated terror organization, was living freely in Norway despite a 2003 deportation order. After the show was aired last week, the Norwegian government committed to Mullah Krekar’s expulsion. An upcoming show takes on a professor at Goucher College in Towson, MD. Leopold Munyakazi was indicted in Rwanda for complicity in genocide. Interpol has issued a “red notice”—not a warrant, but a formal notice that a person is wanted in a national jurisdiction—for Munyakazi, who is in the U.S. requesting asylum.

Needless to say, insiders report that handwringers at NBC’s sister “news” organization MSNBC (not to speak of critics at the New York Times) fret about blurring the “line” between law enforcement and journalism (huh?). But the show’s fans say the real fight is about the political correctness of outing terrorists and war criminals living in Western countries. It’s a specious argument—after all, “The Wanted” is doing little more than shining a light on criminals hiding in plain sight. Apparently, however, certain Americans prefer the comfortable anonymity of an air strike on safehouses in Pakistan.

Watch it on Monday and decide for yourself.

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