On July 13, 2021 the Department of Justice issued a press release that announced, Iranian Intelligence Officials Indicted on Kidnapping Conspiracy Charges. The subtitle of that press release provides a bit more information: Iranian Intelligence Services Allegedly Plotted to Kidnap a U.S. Journalist and Human Rights Activist from New York City for Rendition to Iran.
The information contained in the DOJ press release reads like the plot of an international spy novel, but this case is not a fictitious novel. The claims made in the press release detail a serious plot allegedly mounted by the renegade government of Iran to shut down any criticisms of the Tehran regime by kidnapping Iranian expatriates around the world to silence them and to intimidate any others who might consider speaking out against the Iranian government.
The DOJ press release also contained a ink to the superseding indictment and began this way:
A New York federal court unsealed an indictment today charging four Iranian nationals with conspiracies related to kidnapping, sanctions violations, bank and wire fraud, and money laundering. A co-conspirator and California resident, also of Iran, faces additional structuring charges.
According to court documents, Alireza Shavaroghi Farahani, aka Vezerat Salimi and Haj Ali, 50; Mahmoud Khazein, 42; Kiya Sadeghi, 35; and Omid Noori, 45, all of Iran, conspired to kidnap a Brooklyn journalist, author and human rights activist for mobilizing public opinion in Iran and around the world to bring about changes to the regime’s laws and practices. Niloufar Bahadorifar, aka Nellie Bahadorifar, 46, originally of Iran and currently residing in California, is alleged to have provided financial services that supported the plot.
“Every person in the United States must be free from harassment, threats and physical harm by foreign powers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko for the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “Through this indictment, we bring to light one such pernicious plot to harm an American citizen who was exercising their First Amendment rights, and we commit ourselves to bring the defendants to justice.”
“As alleged, four of the defendants monitored and planned to kidnap a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin who has been critical of the regime’s autocracy, and to forcibly take their intended victim to Iran, where the victim’s fate would have been uncertain at best,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York. “Among this country’s most cherished freedoms is the right to speak one’s mind without fear of government reprisal.
Additional important information about this case, including the identity of the intended target of the alleged Iranian operation, Masih Alinejad, is provided in the July 13, 2021 New York Daily News report, Iran plotted to kidnap dissident journalist and author from her Brooklyn home: feds.
The Daily News article began with this excerpt:
An Iranian intelligence officer and a network of accomplices tried to kidnap a prominent U.S. journalist and author from her Brooklyn home to silence her criticism of the Iranian regime, federal prosecutors allege.
Prosecutors allege a disturbing plot by the Iranian government aimed to grab activist Masih Alinejad and lock her up in an Iranian prison. Their plans included spying on her home for months and researching the best route to the Brooklyn waterfront — where they hoped to shove her in a military-style speedboat headed for Venezuela.
The Daily News report also included this excerpt:
Alinejad is known for her fierce activism against the law requiring women in Iran to wear a hijab, and in 2019, she sued the Iranian government in federal court, accusing it of harassing her family and imprisoning her brother. She fled Iran in 2009, and became a U.S. citizen in 2019.
“I have 5 million followers on my Instagram… I’m giving a platform to people inside, challenging the compulsory hijab, and challenging the religious dictatorship,” she told The News. “All the years and years they called America the great Satan, the biggest enemy. But they’re scared of their own people. That’s why they sent officers from the intelligence service to Brooklyn to kidnap me.”
She said she was horrified by the news last year that the Iranian government had executed Ruhollah Zam, a dissident journalist living in France. Federal prosecutors said he was lured by Iranian intelligence services to leave France in October 2019, and captured him.
“My heart was broken following the news of his execution, and I was like, ‘Wow, they’re trying to exactly do the same to me.’ It’s scary but it gives me hope. I give voice to the voiceless people inside Iran,” she said.
News coverage of this case has, however, ignored the immigration components of this case. To begin with, while four of the defendants are fugitives and, at least for the present at large (likely outside the United States), the fifth defendant in this case, Niloufar Bahadorifar, aka Nellie Bahadorifar, is in custody and is charged with providing financial assistance to the plotters.
The obvious question is how she was able to enter the United States in the first place. If, as it is alleged, she provided the financial resources necessary for the plot to be carried out, when did she first decide to help Iran with this nefarious plot? Has she been involved in other such operations before she entered the United States?
Therefore I would hope that the U.S. Attorneys who are assigned to this case will dig into Bahadorifar’s apparent ability to secure a visa. It is significant to know if she lied on her application for that visa and if anyone helped her to secure that visa.
Visa fraud was identified by the 9/11 Commission as the key method of entry and embedding for terrorists and was, in fact, the focus of the very first congressional hearing in which I participated back on May 20, 1997 on the topic, Visa Fraud And Immigration Benefits Application Fraud.
That hearing was predicated on two terror attacks carried out in the United States in 1993 by aliens from the Middle East, who had gamed the immigration system- the deadly shooting at the CIA in January 1993 and the bombing of the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993.
Because of the findings of the 9/11 Commission that visa fraud is an extremely serious crime with potential national security implications, under the provisions of 18 U.S. Code § 1546, an alien who commits visa fraud in support of terrorism faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.
Incredibly, as I noted in a previous article, Biden’s DHS: Department of Homeland Surrender, the current Director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, has an abysmal track record on seeking to identify and ferret out fraud in immigration and visa applications. I noted in my earlier article that an investigation conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) into Mayorkas’ practices, when he was the Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services during the Obama administration, found that he acted improperly.
In my earlier article I provided links to several worrying news reports and an OIG report about Mr. Alejandro “Get to yes!” Mayorkas who admonished those under his command to approve virtually all applications.
Here are the appropriate links from my earlier article:
On March 24, 2015 a report of the findings of the investigation by the Office of the Inspector General was released.
The focus was on how applications for a particular visa category, the EB-5 Visa for aliens who invest between 500,000 and 1,000,000 in businesses that creates jobs for Americans in the United States, were wrongly approved.
ABC News published several in-depth articles about the troubling findings of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
On March 24, 2015 ABC News reported, “Top Homeland Official Alejandro Mayorkas Accused of Political Favoritism Alejandro Mayorkas oversaw controversial $500,000 visa program.
The above-noted report was preceded by two ABC News reports that were published on February 3, 2015 which illustrate a clear nexus between these visas and national security:
“Whistleblowers: US Gave Visas to Suspected Forgers, Fraudsters, Criminals Internal documents show feds ignored warnings from FBI.”
“Feds Investigating Iran Ties to Firm Involved in US Visa Program Documents: Iranian operatives may be abusing program to “infiltrate” U.S.”
Finally, the alleged Iranian plot sought to remove Masih Alinejad from the United States on a speedboat from along what is America’s longest border. Not the U.S./Mexican border. Not the U.S./Canadian border, but along America’s 95,000 mile coastline. In this case, the shore line near her home in Brooklyn.
As I have noted ever so many times, the United States has 50 border states. It is clear that the Biden administration is determined to erase all of America’s borders, thereby leaving America and Americans vulnerable to America’s enemies including spies, terrorists, transnational criminals, human traffickers and drug smugglers.
A country without secure borders can no more stand than can a house without walls!