Investigative journalist Patrick Poole has broken a blockbuster story about how the Obama Administration’s Justice Department blocked plans to prosecute a co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and others labeled “unindicted co-conspirators” in the Holy Land Foundation trial. Rep. Peter King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has written a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and is requesting answers by April 25.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) were all designated by the federal government as “unindicted co-conspirators” in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim Brotherhood front found guilty of covertly financing Hamas. A total of 246 organizations and individuals received the label but have yet to face prosecution. Now, a high-level Justice Department source has informed Patrick Poole that this is because of a decision by the Obama Administration, in what the source called “a political decision from the get-go.” A second Justice Department source substantiated the tip.
A March 31, 2010 report titled “Declination of Prosecution of Omar Ahmad,” referring to one of the co-founders of CAIR, was sent from Assistant Attorney General David Kris to Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler. The document claims that Ahmad would not be prosecuted because of fears that jury nullification would result. The source of the information rejects this and says it is just an excuse to not move forward.
Rep. Peter King has confirmed the story and is now putting Attorney General Eric Holder in the hot seat. King writes that he has been “reliably informed” that the decision to not prosecute the unindicted co-conspirators “was usurped by high-ranking officials at Department of Justice headquarters over the vehement and stated objections of special agents and supervisors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the prosecution at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, who had investigated and successfully prosecuted the Holy Land Foundation case.”
King requests a reply by April 25 but it is unclear what will follow if the response is unsatisfactory. David Rusin, the director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, told FrontPage that “if Congress subpoenas Justice Department files on the organizations, incriminating details go public.” Such an investigation would be “a nightmare in the making for groups like CAIR and ISNA, whose very lifeblood has been the ability to camouflage their radicalism with the aid of gullible dupes in government and the press.”
However, Politico reports that the Bush Administration originally decided against prosecuting CAIR in 2004. Poole told the website that this is not necessarily a contradiction, as it just means that “They decided to get the bigger fish after they convicted the smaller fish.”
The government has expressed certainty that these groups and individuals are part of a Muslim Brotherhood network with the objective of assisting Hamas. In December 2007, a federal court filing flatly stated, “From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists” and “the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.”
Efforts by CAIR, ISNA and NAIT to get their designations as unindicted co-conspirators have failed. On July 1, 2009, U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis ruled that “The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF [Holy Land Foundation], the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), and with Hamas.” The IAP is another charity that was shut down for acting as a Brotherhood-created front for Hamas.
Poole’s Justice Department source explained the decision not to prosecute Ahmad and the others involved. “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,” the source said.
It isn’t hard to find out how close the Obama Administration has been to these groups and their defenders. The “most influential Muslim” in the White House is Dalia Mogahed, who sits on his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. She is a close colleague of John Esposito, a staunch defender of the Muslim Brotherhood and a witness for the defense during the Holy Land Foundation trial. Officials from the Obama Administration, like the Bush Administration, have made a concerted effort to court these Brotherhood affiliates, including senior advisor Valerie Jarrett; chief counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan; Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano; Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough and many other lower-level government officials that have sought to engage them as part of their outreach to the Muslim-American community.
David Rusin told FrontPage that there is “some hope” that public pressure will force the Obama Administration to change course. However, he thinks it is more likely that a major political battle is brewing as Attorney General Eric Holder could be “shown to have quashed prosecutions for political gain.”
“The major obstacle is that Democrats have so much to lose, given their long history of pandering to these groups and promoting the narrative of rampant anti-Muslim prejudice,” he said. “Thus, expect the party to pull out all the stops to ensure that such a day never comes.”