Friday, December 09, 2005

Why Sami al Arian was acquitted

As regular visitors to this site know, jihadist Sami al Arian and his accomplices were acquitted on charges of terrorism in a Florida Federal Court. J O S H U A P U N D I T: Sami al-Arian and fellow jihadists acquitted

Here's how it happened. And the story says a lot about the Bush Administration's committment to `fighting domestic terrorism.

Paul Sperry at Frontpage has the story.FrontPage :: Sami's Guardian Angel by Paul Sperry
ber 9, 2005

Apparently al Arian and his fellow terrorists had some assistance from symphathetic Muslim FBI agents.

Gamal Abdel-Hafiz, a devout Muslim from Egypt who speaks fluent Arabic, refused to secretly tape-record his fellow Muslim brother al-Arian in defiance of repeated requests from FBI colleagues working the al-Arian case. And that ultimately hurt the government's chances of putting al-Arian away.

Abdel-Hafiz and al Arian go back a long way. In 1998 Abdel-Hafiz met al Arian through a friend at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center outside Washington, a Saudi financed Wahhabi mosque the agent regularly attended, and the same mosque that later give aid and comfort to some of the 9/11 hijackers.

Abdel-Hafiz apparently did a number of favors for al-Arian,including investigating anti-terrorist author Steve Emerson using Bureau resources.

At the same time, the FBI's Tampa field office asked Abdel-Hafiz to follow up by asking al-Arian several questions related to a counterterrorism case they were building against him -- and secretly record his answers. Abdel-Hafiz agreed to speak to al-Arian by phone but said he would not record the conversation without al-Arian's knowledge. The lead Tampa agent on the case, Barry Carmody, was scandalized by his refusal, calling it "outrageous."

FBI agents John Vincent and Robert Wright, whose Chicago investigation dovetailed with the al-Arian case were also displeased at a number of conversations Abdel-Hafiz had with al Arian that were not cleared or coordinated with the Miami Bureau office.

Abdel-Hafiz apparently also may have tipped off Sami al Arian about th4e nature of the evidence the Tampa office had collected against him.

Abdel-Hafiz, a devout Sunni Muslim whose Egyptian father is known as a Quran memorizer, has consistently shown a pattern of pro-Islamist behavior.Yet the FBI headquarters overlooked it and even promoted him.

Carmody, Vincent, and Wright all complained to headquarters about Abdel-Hafiz twice refusing on religious grounds to tape-record Muslim terrorist suspects. But he was handpicked in early 2001 by former FBI Director Louis Freeh to become the FBI's deputy legal attache at the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a major intellingence post.

As Sperry details in the article, Abdel-Hafiz mishandled and ignored time sensitive leads given to him by agents in Washington. Agents back in Washington complained about his performance there, saying they were not getting answers to the hundreds of leads they were sending him in Riyadh.

Meanwhile Abdel-Hafiz and his boss Wilfred Rattigan, a black convert to Islam, had found time to fly off to Mecca for the hajj, where they surrendered their FBI cell phones to Saudi nationals and were out of contact with officials back in the U.S. who were trying to ring them up about investigations into al-Qaida and 9/11. Both Rattigan and Abdel-Hafiz, who have since been reassigned within the bureau, wore traditional Muslim headgear and robes while on the job in Saudi Arabia, further outraging fellow agents.

After they were reassigned, a senior supervisor was sent to the Riyadh office nearly a year after 9/11, she found secret documents strewn all over the office, some even wedged between cabinets. She also found a huge backlog of boxes each filled with three feet of paper containing secret, time-sensitive leads. Much of the materials, including information on Saudi airline pilots, had not been translated or reviewed.
Obviously, given the nature of the Saudi regime, lots of terror cases were hopelessly damaged by the actions of these two. And even larger cases, like the Safa case involving terrorist financing in America and elsewhere have been jeopardized. This involves a Washington think tank, the International Institute of Islamic Thought, or IIIT located in Hernden, Virginia, with ties to Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Taha al-Alwani, an Islamic scholar at IIIT, was an alleged unindicted co-conspirator in the al Arian -- who also heads one of the nation's most prestigious Islamic institutions, the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (which has trained Muslim chaplains for the U.S. military and U.S. prison system) -- is currently accused of concealing payments to Palestinian terrorists. In a letter seized by investigators, al-Alwani advised his friend al-Arian on how to disguise a $50,000 donation to one of al-Arian's Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror fronts in the U.S.

IIIT is still in busines, by the way, as I write this.

As Sperry writes, al-Arian and Alamoudi were no strangers to the Bush White House. During the trial, al-Arian's lawyers used his meetings with senior government officials, including Karl Rove in the White House, to defend him against charges he was involved in terrorist activities.

Al-Arian is also close to Rove's best friend Grover Norquist, a powerful GOP operative in Washington sympathetic to Islamic causes. Norquist, whose name was invoked by al-Arian's lawyers in the trial, started an Islamic lobbying group, the Islamic Institute several years ago and recently married a Palestinian Muslim activist. Which also should tell most knowledgeable people that Norquist has in fact likely BECOME a Muslim, since the faith prohibits the marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man.

Norquist's group, which was founded with seed money from Alamoudi, has placed a number of questionable Muslim activists -- including the son of a Wahhabi preacher who helped Osama bin Laden's second in command raise money -- inside the Bush administration, including the White House, the Transportation Department and the Homeland Security Department, as well as other sensitive agencies.

And al Arian's buddy in the FBI, Abdel Hafiz? Still there. And believe it or not, the bureau is busy hiring more Muslim agents like him.

According to FBI Director Robert Mueller "We are recruiting Muslims as special agents," he said. "We have been very active in pushing more for Muslim Americans to consider a career with the FBI."

Indseed. Insh'allah

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