Google+
Close

The Corner

The one and only.

DOJ Source: Obama Political Appointees Squashed Indictment of CAIR Leader and Other Islamist Groups



Text  



My book, The Grand Jihad, is about the Muslim Brotherhood’s conspiracy to destroy America and the West and how Islamists work with Leftists in and out of government. When I speak about the book, and I point out that the Justice Department showed, in its terrorism financing prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, that major Islamist organizations (e.g., CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America, the North American Islamic Trust, etc.) were complicit in the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities (including its financing of its Palestinian branch, Hamas), the question I am frequently asked is: Why doesn’t the Justice Department make them indicted co-conspirators instead of unindicted co-conspirators — the evidence, after all, seems to be there, right?

Well, today at Pajamas, Patrick Poole appears to provide an answer to that question in an explosive report. Relying on “a high-ranking source within the Department of Justice,” Pat relates that top Obama political appointees in Attorney General Eric Holder’s department have squashed the efforts of line prosecutors to file charges. They’ve done that, Poole explains, for political reasons — these Islamist groups (as I detail in my book) have extensive relationships with the government. Poole elaborates:

[A] number of leaders of Islamic organizations (all of whom publicly opposed the King hearings on Muslim radicalization) were about to be indicted on terror finance support charges by the U.S. attorney’s office in Dallas, which had been investigating the case for most of the past decade. But those indictments were scuttled last year at the direction of top-level political appointees within the Department of Justice (DOJ) — and possibly even the White House.

Included in those indictments was at least one of the co-founders of CAIR, based on “Declination of Prosecution of Omar Ahmad,” a March 31 DOJ legal memo from Assistant Attorney General David Kris to Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler. A second DOJ official familiar with the investigation independently confirmed these details. Omar Ahmad is one of CAIR’s co-founders and its chairman emeritus. He was personally named, along with CAIR itself, as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror finance trial in 2007 and 2008. During the trial FBI Agent Lara Burns testified that both Omar Ahmad and current CAIR executive director Nihad Awad were caught on FBI wiretaps attending a 1993 meeting of Hamas leaders in Philadelphia.

Dean Boyd, public affairs representative for the DOJ National Security Division, declined to provide me a copy of the March 31, 2010, memo dropping the Omar Ahmad prosecution. Directing me to submit a FOIA request, Boyd did say that “as a general rule, internal DOJ deliberation memos spelling out arguments for or against potential prosecution of any particular suspect are not public.” Pajamas Media will be filing a FOIA request for all the related documents in this case.

According to my source, the chief reason outlined in the DOJ memo declining to prosecute CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad was the issue of potential jury nullification. The first Holy Land Foundation trial in 2007 ended in a hung jury. When the case was retried in 2008, all five defendants, former executives of the Holy Land Foundation, were convicted on all 108 counts. But, according to our DOJ source, possible jury nullification was hardly the primary issue in the DOJ’s scuttling of the terror finance prosecutions. “This was a political decision from the get-go,” the source said.

ACM Note: It is important to point out that, when prosecutors worry about jury nullification, it means the government has sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on the relevant offenses — it’s just that prosecutors fear a jury would decide not to convict based on some atmospheric that makes the case smell bad. (Juries are not supposed to nullify — i.e., acquit in a case where guilt has been proved — but our system nonetheless permits them to do it). In this instance, the jury nullification fear is obvious, and, indeed, is the same one that plagued the Sami al-Arian terrorism prosecution: namely, if these people are promoting terrorism, why have they been allowed access to top government officials, and why are their organizations courted by government agencies? That is, there is good reason to fear juries won’t convict not because the suspects are innocent but because the government’s indulgent behavior toward these Islamist organizations — its vaunted “Muslim Outreach” — undermines its ability to demonstrate that these organizations are bad news.

Poole continues: 

It was always the plan to initially go after the [Holy Land Foundation] leaders first and then go after the rest of the accomplices in a second round of prosecutions. From a purely legal point of view, the case was solid. Jim Jacks [the U.S. attorney in Dallas who prosecuted the Holy Land Foundation executives] and his team were ready to go. There’s a mountain of evidence against all of these groups that was never introduced during the Holy Land trial and it is damning. We’ve got them on wiretaps. That’s exactly why many of these leaders and groups were named unindicted co-conspirators in the first round of prosecutions.

But from a political perspective there was absolutely no way that they could move forward. That’s why this decision came from the top down. These individuals who were going to be prosecuted are still the administration’s interfaith allies. Not only would these Muslim groups and their friends in the media be screaming “Islamophobia” at the top of their lungs and that this is a war against Islam, but the administration would look like absolute fools. It’s kind of hard to prosecute someone on material support for terrorism when you have pictures of them getting handed awards from DOJ and FBI leaders for their supposed counter-terror efforts. How would Holder explain that when we’re carting off these prominent Islamic leaders in handcuffs for their role in a terror finance conspiracy we’ve been investigating for years? This is how bad the problem is. Why are we continuing to have anything to do with these groups knowing what we know?

“By closing down these prosecutions,” the source added, “the evidence we’ve collected over the past decade that implicates most of the major Islamic organizations will never see the light of day.”

The FBI still has boxes and boxes of stuff that has never even been translated[.]… But it’s already been made public that they have copies of money transfers sent by NAIT [the North American Islamic Trust, which holds the property titles of many of the mosques in America -- Ed.] directly to known Hamas entities and Hamas leaders. Those came out during the [Holy Land Foundation] trial. But what if we won the case against NAIT and its leaders and the U.S. government finds itself the landlord to hundreds of mosques across the country? How well do you think that would that play in the Muslim community?

Poole asked his source, why are you coming forward now? Here’s the source’s response:

This is a national security issue. We know that these Muslim leaders and groups are continuing to raise money for Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Ten years ago we shut down the Holy Land Foundation. It was the right thing to do. Then the money started going to KindHearts [ACM - another Islamic "charity."]. We shut them down too. Now the money is going through groups like Islamic Relief and Viva Palestina. Until we act decisively to cut off the financial pipeline to these terrorist groups by putting more of these people in prison, they are going to continue to raise money that will go into the hands of killers. And until Congress starts grilling the people inside DOJ and the FBI who are giving these groups cover, that is not going to change. My biggest fear is that Americans are going to die and it will be the very Muslim leaders we are working with who will be directly or indirectly responsible….

We tried to do what we could during the Bush administration. After 9/11, we had to do something and [the Holy Land Foundation] was the biggest target. If the mistrial hadn’t have happened [ACM -- there was a mistrial in the HLF case before the defendants were finally convicted in a second trial], we probably would have gone through the second round of prosecutions before the change in administrations. To say things are different under Obama and Holder would be an understatement. Many of the people I work with at Justice now see CAIR not just as political allies, but ideological allies. They believe they are fighting the same revolution. It’s scary. And Congress and the American people need to know this is going on. 

Read the whole report. It’s predictable, infuriating, and scary.



Text  


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review