MADISON, Wis. -- A controversial University of Wisconsin lecturer challenged a state lawmaker to a debate on Thursday amid the still simmering debate about his views regarding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
SURVEY: Should Barrett Be Back At UW?
Kevin Barrett, who has previously claimed the federal government actually orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, issued the challenge outside state Rep. Steve Nass' office at the state Capitol, WISC-TV reported.
Barrett held a news conference outside Nass' office and called the Whitewater Republican his nemesis. Nass had previously called on the UW and any other college not to employ Barrett after he went on a Milwaukee radio show last year and asserted the 9/11 attacks were a conspiracy.
During his press conference, Barrett also announced -- with his tongue planted in cheek -- that he is now a bounty hunter and will head to Morocco to search of an alleged suspect in the attacks. Barrett even displayed his "fugitive discovery agent" badge, WISC-TV reported.
Barrett said that he continues to belong to a group that's still pushing the idea the 9/11 conspiracy theory.
"And more than 100 million Americans know 9/11 was the first lie, the biggest lie that launched this war," he said.
Regardless, it is clear Barrett's real mission is to pursue at least a debate with Nass.
"I hope that Rep. Nass will still be in office here with his current position when I'm offered an endowed chair in conspiracy studies at this great university, whose motto is the truth shall set you free," Barrett said. "(The UW) stands for the fearless sifting and winnowing, not firing university teachers for their private political opinions that they express on a radio show. And if he had not done that in the first place, I wouldn't be here today and I wouldn't be giving any performance."
Nass' spokesman Mike Mikalsen said that he thought Thursday's press conference was just a publicity stunt.
"Your performance has proven again that you're only goal is publicity," he said.
Mikalsen said that the legislator still believes that Barrett shouldn't have a job at the university.
"He is certainly hopeful that your performance this morning has proven to the UW why you should not be an employee at any university," he said. "When it comes to taxpayers' funds and student tuition, again our position is you have again proven this morning why the taxpayers and students of this state should not be expected to pay your salary."
Barrett said that he has applied to lecture at the UW-Madison again next fall, but he isn't currently on the school's payroll.