Glenn Greenwald and his fellow jihad-enabling “journalist” Murtaza Hussain on Wednesday published a major exposé, “Under Surveillance: Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On,” about Muslim leaders who are being spied upon by the FBI and the NSA. The thrust of the article is that each one is as pure as the day is long, with the one sin of opposing U.S. government policies.
The idea, of course, that opposing U.S. government policies from the Left will get you placed under surveillance these days is beyond ridiculous: Obama’s IRS is targeting conservative groups, not Leftists, and claiming that “right-wing extremists” are a terror threat, with nary a word about genuinely violent Left-wing extremist groups such as the Occupy movement and others.
And so it is no surprise that Greenwald and Hussain make their case by glossing over the genuine reasons why the FBI and NSA have placed these men under surveillance — surveillance which, if it is still going on at this point, is sure to end now as a result of this article. The article highlights these five men, glossing over the very real reasons why surveillance is justified:
• Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;
• Asim Ghafoor, a prominent attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases;
• Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University;
• Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University who champions Muslim civil liberties and Palestinian rights;
• Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country….
Regarding Faisal Gill, Greenwald and Hussain write:
…After leaving the Navy, Gill worked as a consultant for the American Muslim Council, which was founded by the political activist Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi to encourage participation by American Muslims in the political process. A Republican since high school, Gill joined the Bush Administration in the aftermath of 9/11, eventually moving to the White House Office of Homeland Security, where he briefly worked with Richard Clarke and obtained a top-secret security clearance. After roughly a year, he joined the Department of Homeland Security as a senior policy adviser, where he was cleared to access sensitive compartmented information, a classification level reserved for some of the nation’s most closely held secrets.
In 2003, al-Amoudi was arrested for participating in a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and for illegal financial transactions with the Libyan government, crimes for which he eventually pleaded guilty. Because Gill’s name had turned up in al-Amoudi’s papers, he was investigated by DHS security officials and asked not to report to work pending the outcome. He told investigators that he had met al-Amoudi only three or four times and didn’t work closely with him during his time at the American Muslim Council. After passing a polygraph test, Gill says, he was told by DHS that he was “good to go” and returned to work.
Greenwald and Hussain here establish the pattern of their entire piece: they leave out crucial details of the background of each of their supposed innocent victims of surveillance, thereby obscuring why they were put under surveillance in the first place. Faisal Gill worked as a consultant for the American Muslim Council. He says that he only met Alamoudi a few times and didn’t work closely with him.
Very well. But Greenwald and Hussain don’t mention that, according to Discover the Networks, the plot to assassinate Abdullah involved “two U.K.-based al Qaeda operatives,” and that he “ultimately pled guilty to, and was convicted of, being a senior al Qaeda financier who had funneled at least $1 million into the coffers of that terrorist organization.”
So here is Faisal Gill, who was a consultant for a group founded and headed by a confessed senior al Qaeda financier. He hardly knew him — fine. He was cleared of any wrongdoing — fine. But is it not possible that Alamoudi or someone connected to him might try to contact Faisal Gill, and win this upstanding American patriot over to their side, or try to use him in some way? Is there not, then, a case for placing Faisal Gill under surveillance, given his association with a senior jihad terror financier?
Also, would Greenwald and Hussain be enraged if the FBI and NSA placed under surveillance someone who had worked as a consultant for a group headed by a senior Ku Klux Klan financier, even if the consultant had been cleared of any wrongdoing? I doubt it. Nor should they be.
Likewise with Asim Ghafoor:
In 2003, the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, a Saudi charity, hired Ghafoor after its U.S. assets were frozen by the Treasury Department over claims that it funded terrorist operations. The government alleged that there were “direct links” between the U.S. branch of the charity and Osama bin Laden. Al Haramain had previously been represented by some of the biggest and most prestigious American law firms, including the D.C. powerhouse Akin Gump. Ghafoor’s work with Al Haramain led him to other controversial clients, including Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden who was the subject of FBI and CIA surveillance for years, as well as the government of Sudan.
This would seem to be enough in itself to keep Ghafoor under surveillance, in case one of his jihad terrorist clients gave out information that could stop a jihad terror attack. But there is more. Discover the Networks notes that “Asim Ghafoor was a political consultant, spokesman, and public relations director for the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), which the U.S. government shut down in December 2001 because of the organization’s ties to terrorism….GRF is not the only organization with ties to terrorism with which Ghafoor has been involved. While he was with GRF, Ghafoor was also the spokesman for Care International. The December 6, 2002 Wall Street Journal reports: ‘Records indicate close ties between [Care International] and the Boston branch of Al Kifah Refugee Center, the Brooklyn branch of which was named by prosecutors as the locus of the 1993 conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center.”
Greenwald and Hussain don’t mention any of that, of course. And their inclusion of Hooshang Amirahmadi is just bizarre. Greenwald and Hussain note that he “does not self-identify as a Muslim and describes himself as an atheist.” So why is he included in a piece entitled “Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On”? Apparently Greenwald and Hussain couldn’t find enough Muslim leaders whom they could even with the remotest plausibility portray as innocent victims of unwarranted surveillance, so they figured an Iranian atheist was close enough.
If a foe of jihad terror were that careless of the facts, Greenwald and Hussain would be among the first to pounce.
Unlike in the other cases, with Agha Saeed, all the information needed to see why surveillance was deemed warranted is in the Greenwald/Hussain piece:
The only notable public controversy involving Saeed occurred in 2000, two days after the American Muslim Alliance announced its endorsement of Bush. The New York Daily News attempted to demonize a $50,000 donation the group made to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign by highlighting Saeed’s support for the right of Palestinians to armed resistance against occupation if peaceful means fail—a right affirmed in a series of resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly.
Yielding to pressure, Clinton quickly condemned the remarks and announced that she was returning the donation. Her GOP opponent, Rick Lazio, attacked her for receiving “blood money” and criticized her and her husband for having invited Muslim-Americans who opposed the Middle East peace process to the White House.
“Saeed’s support for the right of Palestinians to armed resistance against occupation if peaceful means fail—a right affirmed in a series of resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly.” The fact that the UN endorsed the “Palestinian” jihad is hardly a ringing affirmation of its moral rectitude, and in any case, the groups that pursue “armed resistance against occupation” are jihad terror groups such as Hamas, Hizballah, and Islamic Jihad. Saeed supports this “armed resistance,” so he may be in contact with some of the leaders or members of such groups, and surveillance could reveal something that could be used to stop their jihad terror attacks against civilians. So here again, surveillance is warranted.
Turning to Nihad Awad, Greenwald and Hussain write:
…“I’m outraged as an American citizen that my government, after decades of civil rights struggle, still spies on political activists and civil right activists and leaders,” says Awad. “I’m really angry that despite all the work that we have been doing in our communities to serve the nation, we are treated with suspicion.”
The bulk of CAIR’s work is devoted to protecting the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans. (Full disclosure: Glenn Greenwald, a co-author of this story, has given paid speeches before CAIR’s regional affiliates.) The group frequently provides legal counsel to those who believe their rights have been infringed, and litigates constitutional challenges to state and federal laws. Awad says he is particularly incensed about the surveillance given the close cooperation that CAIR has provided the U.S. government in denouncing violent extremism. “The government knows very well that I am not a foreign agent,” he says.
Despite its political moderation and relationship to federal law enforcement agencies, CAIR became a primary target of hardline neoconservatives after 9/11. In 2007, the Justice Department named the group as one of more than 300 “unindicted co-conspirators” in its controversial prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, then the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., which was eventually convicted of providing material support to Hamas. The Justice Department later attempted to justify its inclusion of CAIR by referring to wiretap evidence showing that in 1993, a Palestinian advocacy group that prosecutors believed was linked to Hamas met in a Philadelphia hotel and talked about founding CAIR. In 1994, Awad voiced public support for Hamas—before the group’s campaign of suicide attacks against civilians and subsequent placement on the State Department’s terrorist list in 1997.
“I do not support Hamas,” Awad says today, pointing out that the group was not involved in terrorist activities at the time he made the statement. “It was not on the list of organizations that sponsor or conduct terrorism by the State Department. And when the organization took those acts, CAIR has condemned it, repeatedly.”…
Very well. So Awad supported Hamas in 1994, but in 1997, when it was placed on the State Department’s terrorist list, he stopped supporting it. Here is part of the old Hamas website’s “glory record” of attacks against Israelis – the terrorist organization’s own record of its murderous actions. Here are some of Hamas’ self-described exploits from before 1994, when Awad made his statement about supporting Hamas:
3. Boureen Operation: The militant Hamdan Hussein Al:najar, a member of Hamas, killed the Israeli settler Ya’coub Berey using a big rock as his weapon. The militant was shot down as a martyr after he had ambushed an Israeli patrol using the dead settler’s weapon….
6. Bus No. 405 Operation: Militant Ahmed Hussein Shukry, a member of Hamas, was able to lead an Israeli soldier to a secluded place in Tel Aviv where the militant hit the soldier with a chisel and killed him on 8 September 1989. The following day, the militant got on bus No. 405 and stabbed the driver to take over the bus; however, the passengers were able to stop the militant….
12. Keryat Youval Operation: The militant Mohammed Mustafa Abu Jalala stabbed four Israelis and injured another at a bus station in Keryat Youval in Jerusalem before he was arrested by the Israeli forces.
13. Askalan Road Operation: While driving a taxi, the militant Jameel Ismail Al:baz, a member of Hamas, ran over a group of Israelis waiting on this road on 19 July 1991….
15. Shailou Operation: A military group belonging to Al Qassam Brigades attacked an Israeli bus carrying some settlers on their way to Tel Aviv to participate in demonstrations organized by the extremist party Likud against the peace process. The bus was completely destroyed; two Israelis were killed and five more were injured….
17. Eid Al-maskhara Operation: The militant Ra’ed Al:reefy attacked an Israeli crowd in Jaffa on 17 March 1992. He was able to kill 2 and injure 21 Israelis who gathered to celebrate Eid Al:maskhara, also known as Al:boureem.
18. Beit Lahya Operation: On the third anniversary of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s arrest, a group belonging to Al Qassam Brigades attacked an Israeli settler at Beit Lahya and shot him down then withdrew safely….
21. Carlo Factory Operation: Four militants belonging to Al Qassam Brigades broke into a citrus packing factory (Carlo) near Nahal Oaz at 2:30 p.m. on 25 June 1992. Three militants stabbed two Israelis while the other was guarding….
So Greenwald and Hussain claim that Awad only supported Hamas “before the group’s campaign of suicide attacks against civilians” began. Yet on Hamas’s own website at the time Awad expressed his support for the group was a celebration of the murders of civilian Ya’coub Berey; the civilians on the bus to Tel Aviv; the civilians in the crowd in Jaffa; and the civilian at Beit Lahya; as well as the stabbings of the driver of bus No. 405, the Israelis at the bus station in Keryat Youval, and the citrus packers, as well as the victims of cabbie Jameel Ismail al-Baz.
Also, when Awad says that he and CAIR do not support Hamas today, it should be recalled that in March 2004, when Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin was killed by Israel, CAIR condemned his killing — without ever mentioning that Yassin was the mastermind and director of suicide killings for Hamas: “We condemn this violation of international law as an act of state terrorism by Ariel Sharon’s out-of-control government. Israel’s extra-judicial killing of an Islamic religious leader can only serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence throughout the region. The international community must now take concrete steps to help protect the Palestinian people against such wanton Israeli violence.”
The way they deal with Awad is typical of the dishonesty of the entire Greenwald/Hussain piece. But it will no doubt accomplish its purpose: the ending of surveillance of these and other Muslim leaders, the further weakening of counter-terror operations in general, and the increased endangering of Americans.
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