Patrick Poole writes at Big Peace:
The fallout continues in response to my Big Peace article filed on Monday concerning a known Hamas operative and unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism finance trial in U.S. history who was given a VIP tour of the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and the FBI training center at Quantico as part of a six-week FBI Citizen Academy arranged by the FBI Chicago Field Office.
Now a Homeland Security official (requesting anonymity for fear of retaliation by superiors) has contacted Big Peace saying that "the plugs had to be pulled on our system" in order to allow Kifah Mustapha to enter the NCTC and that "the NCTC has Kifah Mustapha on the highest watch list we have. There's no way from a systems point-of-view that this could be an accidental oversight, unless they didn't bother checking at all as they are required to do."
The DHS official added, "It's as if we haven't learned anything from twenty years of reaching out to the wrong people in the Muslim community."
My report on Monday was prompted by a WLS ABC7-Chicago story over the weekend by news anchor Ben Bradley describing his participation in the FBI's Citizen Academy with Kifah Mustapha. As I noted then, curiously absent from Bradley's story was any mention of his Hamas travel partner's terror-tied background. Even more curious, ABC7 had aired an investigative report back in March about Mustapha, along with several subsequent reports about his de-certification by the Illinois State Police as a Muslim chaplain after failing a background check. Mustapha is currently suing the State Police claiming discrimination with the help of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), identified by FBI Special Agent Lara Burns during the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial as a Hamas front group.
What makes Bradley's silence about Kifah Mustapha's activities in support of Hamas all the more odd is that one of his own ABC7 colleagues, Chuck Goudie, published an editorial three weeks before Bradley's story aired contrasting the Illinois State Police's de-certification of Mustapha and the FBI's open embrace of the Hamas operative.
Mustapha's terrorist support activities are laid out in court documents filed by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation case:
- Kifah Mustapha was personally named unindicted co-conspirator (#31) in the case, identifying him as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee that federal prosecutors say was formed to raise money for Hamas and was "committed to the globalization of Islam and violent jihad."
- Holy Land Foundation records confiscated by the FBI indicate that he was a longtime employee of the group and was paid more than $154,000 between 1996 and 2000 when the group's financial support for Hamas was at its peak.
- FBI Agent Lara Burns testified during the trial that Mustapha was a member of the notorious Al-Sakhra Band sponsored by the Holy Land Foundation and the Islamic Association for Palestine (another Hamas front group that was the parent group to CAIR) that regularly featured songs about murdering Jews and glorifying Hamas. The leader of the singing group, Mufid Abdelqader, was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- In a deposition in a civil case filed against the Holy Land Foundation and other Islamic groups by the parents of a Chicago teenager murdered by Hamas at a bus stop in Israel (the groups were found liable in a $156 million judgment), Mustapha admitted that he was the registered agent for the Holy Land Foundation's Illinois office. His Chicago-area office was specifically named by the U.S. Treasury when the group was listed as a specially designated global terrorist group in December 2001.
- The Bridgeview Foundation, the mosque where Mustapha is presently an imam, was identified by the Chicago Tribune in 2004 as a national hot-spot for Hamas fundraising and terrorist support.
The stark contradiction of the NCTC placing an individual on a terror watch list (as represented by the Homeland Security official we spoke with yesterday) based on evidence collected by the FBI and presented by federal prosecutors in a terrorism financing trial, and then being granted access to that same top-secret NCTC facility by the same FBI, is is painfully obvious.
But it should be noted that this is not the first time that Kifah Mustapha has been granted access to secure areas accessible only to Homeland Security personnel.
In June 2006, Mustapha was part of a group led by CAIR-Chicago officials that was given a behind-the-scenes tour of Chicago's O'Hare Airport, one of the busiest airports in the nation. A report of the tour is still available on the CAIR-Chicago website, as are pictures featuring Mustapha at the secure area event hobnobbing with TSA officials.
As the Homeland Security official we spoke with noted, the U.S. Government has a very poor historical record in the "Annals of Outreach":
- As I reported here at Big Peace earlier this month, the Congressional Muslim Staff Association invited Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar Al-Aulaqi to lead prayers on Capitol Hill after 9/11. Video of Al-Aulaqi preaching to congressional staffers was included in the 2002 documentary, "Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet". Al-Aulaqi was spiritual advisor to at least two of the 9/11 hijackers, and has been the inspiration for the Ft. Hood massacre, the Christmas Day Underwear Bomber, and the attempted Times Square bombing. He is currently subject to a kill or capture order signed by President Obama.
- In 1991, the first Muslim cleric to offer opening prayers in Congress, Siraj Wahhaj, was later named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1995 "Day of Terror" trial of "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel-Rahman. The Blind Sheikh was sentenced to life in prison. Wahhaj served as a character witness for the defense during the trial. After NYC Mayor Bloomberg was told of Wahhaj's past after meeting with the imam last year, Bloomberg later apologized for taking the meeting.
- The most prominent Muslim leader during the 1990s and immediately following 9/11 was Abdurahman Alamoudi, who was appointed a "goodwill ambassador" to the Middle East by the U.S. State Deparment and was the point man for establishing the Muslim chaplain program for the Defense Department. Alamoudi was the most frequent Muslim visitor in the White House during the Clinton Administration, and was courted by then-presidential candidate George W. Bush in the 2000 election. Alamoudi also bankrolled, along with large contributions from well-heeled donors in the Middle East, the establishment of the Islamic Institute by GOP activist Grover Norquist and Alamoudi acolyte Khaled Saffuri. But Alamoudi is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence after his conviction in an international plot led by Libyan intelligence to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince (now King) Abdullah in 2003. The U.S. Treasury Department later identified Alamoudi as a top Al-Qaeda fundraiser in America, saying that "the September 2003 arrest of Alamoudi was a severe blow to al Qaida, as Alamoudi had a close relationship with al Qaida and had raised money for al Qaida in the United States."
- Helping Alamoudi hand-pick and train the Muslim chaplain corps for the Defense Department was Taha Jaber Al-Awani, chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America. However, his organization, the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, was raided by the FBI in 2002. Al-Awani was later named by federal prosecutors as "Unindicted Co-Conspirator #5? in the terrorism trial of Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian.
- Muzammil Siddiqi met with President Bush just days after 9/11, which prompted the media to ask questions about his service as a translator for the Blind Sheikh just two months before the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, where the Blind Sheikh exhorted Siddiqui's congregation to violent jihad, and statements Siddiqi made prior to 9/11 warning of the "wrath of God" falling on the U.S. One former Secret Service agent, noting Siddiqui's close association with Alamoudi, told Fox News, "the intelligence community has known for sometime the association of Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, and Mr. Alamoudi and their association with terrorist organizations."
- Earlier this year, a military contractor was suspended and an Army criminal investigation opened after Louay Safi was invited to speak on Islam to troops departing for Afghanistan at Ft. Hood less than a month after Army Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 soldiers. Safi was on base at Ft. Hood during the massacre. As noted by my colleague Andy McCarthy, Safi had been caught on federal wiretaps talking with Sami Al-Arian about President Clinton's designation of Palestinian Islamic Jihad as a terrorist organization and its impact on Al-Arian's U.S. operations. Safi was also named in a federal affidavit by U.S. Customs Special Agent David Kane in applying for a federal warrant as part of the Operation Greenquest terror finance investigation, during which Safi's office was raided by the FBI. Rowan Scarborough has also reported on statements made by Safi encouraging violence against unbelievers and advocating for armed jihad.
With the VIP tour given to Kifah Mustapha, however, the U.S. government may have reached a new low.