Skip to comments.Hatfill v. US - DOJ and FBI Statement of Facts (filed Friday)
Posted on 04/13/2008 8:20:52 AM PDT by ZacandPook
On Friday, the government filed this statement of the facts in its memorandum in support of its motion for summary judgment in a civil rights and Privacy Act lawsuit brought by Dr. Steve Hatfill.
The anthrax attacks occurred in October 2001. Public officials, prominent members of the media, and ordinary citizens were targeted by this first bio-terrorist attack on American soil. Twenty-two persons were infected with anthrax; five died. At least 17 public buildings were contaminated. The attacks wreaked havoc on the U.S. postal system and disrupted government and commerce, resulting in economic losses estimated to exceed one billion dollars. The attacks spread anxiety throughout the nation already in a heightened state of alert in the wake of the attacks of September 11 and left behind a lasting sense of vulnerability to future acts of bioterrorism. Given the unprecedented nature of the attacks, the investigation received intense media attention. Journalists from virtually every news organization pursued the story, sometimes conducting their own worldwide investigation to determine the person or persons responsible for the attacks and the motive behind them.
A. Journalistic Interest In Hatfill That Predates Alleged Disclosures
Testimony has revealed that at least certain members of the media began focusing their attention upon Hatfill in early 2002 because of tips they had received from former colleagues of his who found him to be highly suspicious. Articles about Hatfill thus began to appear in the mainstream press and on internet sites as early as January of 2002, and continued until the first search of his apartment on June 25, 2002, which, in turn, led to even more intense press attention.
Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, a Professor at the State University of New York, for example, complained in January and February 2002 on the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) website of the FBIs apparent lack of progress on the investigation, and described generally the person she believed was the anthrax perpetrator. Analysis of Anthrax Attacks, Possible Portrait of the Anthrax Perpetrator (Section IV.6), Defendants Appendix , Ex. 1. Rosenberg did not identify Hatfill by name, but described him in sufficient detail: a Middle-aged American who [w]orks for a CIA contractor in Washington, DC area and [w]orked in USAMRIID laboratory in the past and [k]nows Bill Patrick and probably learned a thing or two about weaponization from him informally. Id. In his amended complaint, Hatfill states that Professor Rosenbergs Possible Portrait of the Anthrax Perpetrator . . . described [him].
In addition to her postings on the FAS website, Professor Rosenberg also presented a lecture on February 18, 2002 at Princeton Universitys Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, entitled The Anthrax Attacks and the Control of Bioterrorism. Ex. 2. During the course of her lecture, Rosenberg stated that she had draw[n] a likely portrait of the perpetrator as a former Fort Detrick scientist who is now working for a contractor in the Washington, D.C, area[.] Ex. 3. Rosenberg also commented upon Hatfills whereabouts on the date of the attacks, stating that [h]e had reason for travel to Florida, New Jersey and the United Kingdom where the attacks had been and from which the letters had been purportedly sent that [h]e grew [the anthrax], probably on a solid medium, and weaponised it at a private location where he had accumulated the equipment and the material. Id. Rosenberg also stated that the investigation had narrowed to a common suspect[,] and that [t]he FBI has questioned that person more than once[.] Id. Former White House Spokesperson, Ari Fleischer, immediately responded to Rosenbergs comments, stating that there were several suspects and the FBI had not narrowed that list down to one. Ex. 4. The FBI also issued a press release, stating that it had interviewed hundreds of persons, in some instances, more than once. It is not accurate, however, that the FBI has identified a prime suspect in this case. Id. Rosenbergs comments and writings were subsequently pursued by The New York Times (The Times). In a series of Op-Ed articles published from May through July 2002, Nicholas Kristof, a journalist with The Times, accused Hatfill of being responsible for the anthrax attacks. Kristof wrote on May 24, 2002 that the FBI was overlooking the anthrax perpetrator, noting that experts (Professor Rosenberg) point to one middle-aged American who has worked for the United States military bio-defense program and had access to the labs at Fort Detrick, Md. His anthrax vaccinations are up to date, he unquestionably had the ability to make first-rate anthrax, and he was upset at the United States government in the period preceding the anthrax attack. Ex. 5.
Hatfill first noticed the Kristof columns in May 2002. Hatfill Dep. Tran. in Hatfill v. The New York Times, No. 04-807 (E.D.Va.), Ex. 6, at 13: 3-6. According to Hatfill, [w]hen Mr. Kristofs article appeared, it was the first [time] that [he] realized that [his] name [was] in the public domain with connection with an incident of mass murder. Id. at 16:15-18. Hatfill has charged that The Times began the entire conflagration and gave every journalist out there reason to drive this thing beyond any sort of sanity. Mr. Kristof lit the fuse to a barn fire and he repeatedly kept stoking the fire. Id. at 43:19 - 44:1. In July 2004, Hatfill thus filed suit alleging that these articles libeled him by falsely accusing him of being the anthrax mailer. Complaint, Hatfill v. The New York Times, No. 04-807 (E.D.Va.), Ex. 7.
Hatfill alleges in that lawsuit that Kristof wrote his columns in such a way as to impute guilt for the anthrax letters to [him] in the minds of reasonable readers. Id. ¶ 12. The articles, Hatfill claimed, which described his background and work in the field of bio-terrorism, state or imply that [he] was the anthrax mailer. Id. ¶ 14. Hatfill specifically alleged that statements in Kristofs articles were false and defamatory, including those that stated that he: (1) unquestionably had the ability to make first-rate anthrax; (2) had the ability to send the anthrax; (3) had the access required to send the anthrax; (4) had a motive to send the anthrax; (5) was one of a handful of individuals who had the ability, access and motive to send the anthrax; (6) had access to an isolated residence in the fall of 2001, when the anthrax letters were sent; (7) gave CIPRO [an antibiotic famously used in the treatment of anthrax infection] to people who visited [the isolated residence]; (8) his anthrax vaccinations were up to date as of May 24, 2002; (9) he failed 3 successive polygraph examinations between January 2002 and August 13, 2002; (10) he was upset at the United States government in the period preceding the attack; (11) he was once caught with a girlfriend in a biohazard hot suite at Fort Detrick [where Hatfill had concedely worked] surrounded only by blushing germs. Id. ¶ 16 (brackets in original). Hatfill alleges in his lawsuit against The Times that [t]he publication of [Kristofs] repeated defamation of [him] . . .gave rise to severe notoriety gravely injurious to [him]. Id. ¶ 29. The injury, Hatfill alleged, was [made] all the more severe given the status and journalistic clout of The Times. Id. This harm was compounded, Hatfill alleged, by the fact that these articles were thereafter repeatedly published by a host of print and on-line publications and on the television and radio news in the following months. Id., ¶ 30.
The case was initially dismissed by the trial court. Hatfill v. The New York Times, No. 04-807, 2004 WL 3023003 (E.D.Va.). That decision was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, 416 F.3d 320 (4th Cir. 2005). Upon remand, the trial court granted The Times summary judgment, finding that Hatfill was a public figure and public official and had failed to present evidence of malice. Hatfill v. The New York Times, 488 F. Supp. 2d 522 (E.D. Va. 2007). In arriving at that conclusion, the court considered Hatfills repeated media interviews before the attacks; the fact that he had drafted a novel, which he registered with [the] United States Copyright office, describing a scenario in which a terrorist sickens government officials with a biological agent; and had lectured on the medical effects of chemical and biological agents. Id. at 525.
Although not recited by the district court in The New York Times litigation, Hatfill also talked directly to reporters about his suspected involvement in the attacks. Brian Ross of ABC News, and his producer, Victor Walter, for example, talked separately to Hatfill on two to three occasions as early as January and February 2002, Ross Dep. Tran., Ex. 8, at 263:14 - 270:1, and continued talking to Hatfill until May of that year. Id. Ross also spoke to Hatfills friend and mentor, William Patrick, about Hatfill. Id. at 287:9 - 295:12. These meetings were prompted by discussions ABC News had in January 2002 with eight to twelve former colleagues of Hatfill at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). Id. at 242:7 - 246:14. Hatfills former colleagues found him to be highly suspicious because of a number of things he had done when he worked at [USAMRIID], and this behavior was strange "and unusual and they felt that he was a likely candidate. Id. at 242: 7-17. These meetings were also prompted by ABC Newss own investigative reporting into Hatfills background; the more ABC News learned the more interested [they] became in Hatfill. Id. at 264: 14-15.
Scott Shane of the Baltimore Sun also spoke to Hatfill in February 2002. Shane also spoke to USAMRIID employees who had worked with Hatfill. Ex. 9. These employees stated that they had been questioned by the FBI and asked about a former Fort Detrick scientist Hatfill who returned a few years ago and took discarded biological safety cabinets, used for work with dangerous pathogens. Id. at 1. These employees claimed that Hatfill ha[d] expertise on weaponizing anthrax and ha[d] been vaccinated against it[.] Id. Shane also called one of Hatfills former classmates, who was plagued by questions from the Baltimore Sun and others within the media regarding Hatfills alleged involvement with the large anthrax outbreak in Zimbabwe[.] Ex. 10. According to Hatfill, this classmate was told by Shane that Hatfill was purportedly responsible for mailing the anthrax letters and also starting the [anthrax] outbreak in Zimbabwe/ Rhodesia twenty years before. Ex. 11, at AGD29SJH00014; see also e-mail to Hatfill fr. DF Andrews, dated Mar. 1, 2002, Ex. 10. Hatfill told Shane in February 2002 that he had been questioned by the FBI and that he considered the questioning to be part of a routine effort to eliminate people with the knowledge to mount [the] attack. Ex. 9. Hatfill also confirmed for Shane that he had taken an FBI polygraph. Ex. 12, at 2. In March 2002, Hatfill left Shane a frantic telephone message reportedly stating how he had been [in the bioterrorism] field for a number of years, working until 3 oclock in the morning, trying to counter this type of weapon of mass destruction and fearing that his career [was] over at [that] time. Ex. 13, at 2. According to Hatfill, Shane later Case 1:03-cv-01793-RBW Document 232-2 Filed 04/11/2008 Page 17 of 73
____ Hatfill did not sue either Shane or Rosenberg, even though Hatfill has stated that Rosenberg caused the focus on him. Ex. 14, at 10. Because Hatfill believed that the portrait Rosenberg painted at the February 2002 Princeton conference and in her website postings was so identifying and incriminating, however, Hatfill advised Rosenberg through his lawyers that before [she] get[s] close to describing him in the future, by name or otherwise, [that she] submit [her] comments for legal vetting before publishing them to anyone. Ex. 15. There is no evidence that the agency defendants bore any responsibility for the media presence. Information about FBI searches is routinely shared with a variety of state and local law enforcement authorities. Roth Dep. Tran., Ex. 16, at 163:5 -165:21; Garrett Dep. Tran. Ex. 17, at 79: 8-18. ______
compounded Hatfills problems by calling his then-employer, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and accusing Hatfill of being responsible for the anthrax attacks, Ex. 11, at AGD29SJH00014, which, according to Hatfill, cost him his job as a contractor at SAIC. Id. 1
The media frenzy surrounding Hatfill intensified upon the search of his apartment on June 25, 2002, and the search of a refrigerated mini-storage facility in Ocala, Florida on June 26, 2002. Both were witnessed by the media, and the search of his apartment was carried live on national television. In addition to the television coverage, the searches generated a slew of articles about Hatfill throughout the media, one fueling the next. The Associated Press, for example, detailed in an article, dated June 27, 2002, Hatfills (1) work as biodefense researcher, including studies he had conducted at SAIC, and the work he had done at the USAMRIID; (2) his educational background; (3) where he had previously lived; and (4) security clearances he had held and the suspension of those clearances. Ex. 18. The Hartford Courant reported these same details, and additional information regarding Hatfills purported service in the Rhodesian army. Ex. 19. The next day -- June 28, 2002 -- the Hartford Courant reported details about Hatfills background in biological warfare, his vaccinations against anthrax, questioning that purportedly had occurred among Hatfills colleagues, his educational background (including the claim that he had attended medical school in Greendale), and lectures that he had given on the process of turning biological agents into easily inhaled powders. Ex. 20. None of this information is attributed to a government source.
B. Hatfills Public Relations Offensive
In July 2002, after these reports and after the first search of Hatfills apartment on June 25, 2002, Hatfill retained Victor Glasberg as his attorney. Glasberg Dep. Tran., Ex. 21, at 12: 16-19. Glasberg believed that any number of people in the media [had] overstepped their bounds. . . . prior to July of 2002 . Id. at 141:1 - 142:6. To counter this information, Hatfill set out on a public relations offensive of his own to turn [the] tide. Id. at 138: 20-21, 178: 12-13.
Recognizing that Hatfill continue[d] [to] get killed with bad press, national as well as local[,] Hatfill drafted a statement and Glasberg forwarded that statement in July 2002 to Hatfills then-employer at Louisiana State University (LSU). Ex. 11, at 1. The statement detailed Hatfills background, including his medical training and employment history, and provided details about Hatfills involvement in the anthrax investigation, including how he had been interviewed by the FBI and had taken a polygraph examination. Id. at AGD29SJH00002-13. Hatfills statement corroborated the conversations that Hatfill reportedly had with Scott Shane of the Baltimore Sun in February 2002, and how that interaction had purportedly cost Hatfill his job at SAIC in March 2002. Id. at AGD29SJH00014.
In his July statement, Hatfill was careful not to blame DOJ or the FBI for his troubles or for any wrongdoing for the information about him that had made its way into the press. He touted the professionalism of the FBI, noting that [t]he individual FBI agents with whom [he had come] in contact during this entire process are sons and daughters of which America can be justifiably proud. They are fine men and women doing their best to protect this country. Id. at AGD29SJH00016. Hatfills objection lay with the media, whom he labeled as irresponsible[,] for trading in half-truths, innuendo and speculation, making accusations and slanting real world events . . . to gain viewer recognition, sell newspapers, and increase readership and network ratings. Id.
As the investigation proceeded, however, Glasberg publicly criticized investigators on the date of the second search of Hatfills apartment, August 1, 2002, for obtaining a search warrant rather than accepting the offer Glasberg had allegedly made to cooperate. Ex. 22. So angry was Glasberg with investigators that he wrote a letter, dated the same day as the search, to Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth C. Kohl, denouncing the fact that the search had been conducted pursuant to a search warrant. Ex. 23. Glasberg forwarded a copy of this letter to Tom Jackman of the Washington Post, and to the Associated Press, the morning of August 1st. Glasberg, Dep. Tran., Ex. 24, at 265:12 - 266:5; see also Ex. 25 (Glasberg memorandum to file, stating, among other things, that Glasberg showed Jackman Kohl letter on August 1, 2002).
On the day of the search, an FBI spokeswoman at the Bureaus Washington field office, Debra Weierman, confirmed that the search was part of the governments anthrax investigation. Ex. 25. Weierman added, however, that she was unable to confirm that [investigators were acting on a search warrant] or to provide any further information about the search. Id.
The next day August 2, 2002 Glasberg faxed the Kohl letter to members of the media. Ex. 26. In the fax transmittal sheet accompanying the Kohl letter, Glasberg also advised the media that: Dr. Hatfill was first contacted by the FBI earlier this year, as part of the Bureaus survey of several dozen scientists working in fields related to biomedical warfare. He was voluntarily debriefed and polygraphed, and voluntarily agreed to have his home, car and other property subjected to a lengthy and comprehensive search by the FBI. He and his lawyer Tom Carter were told that the results were all favorable and that he was not a suspect in the case. Id. at AGD16SJH03106. Subsequent to the fax transmittal by Glasberg, Weierman confirmed that the search had been conducted pursuant to a search warrant, but only after receiving appropriate authorization from her superiors. Weierman Dep. Tran., Ex. 27, at 93:16 - 94:14.
Hatfill had also accompanied Glasberg for his interview with Jackman the day before to address the media feeding frenzy. Ex. 28. Glasberg provided Jackman with the promise of an [e]xclusive personal statement from Hatfill and the promise of [n]o other press contacts pending publication of the article. Id. Glasberg thus provided Jackman background information about Hatfill, Rosenbergs statements, and other publications. Ex. 25. Hatfill reportedly complained to the Washington Post in the interview about the media feeding frenzy, and about how his friends are bombarded with press inquiries. Ex. 29, at 1. Hatfill also complained about the [p]hone calls at night. Trespassing. Beating on my door. For the sheer purpose of selling newspapers and television. Id.
C. Attorney General Ashcrofts Person of Interest Statements
Following this media frenzy, not to mention the two searches of Hatfills apartment, former Attorney General John Ashcroft was asked on August 6, 2002 (at an event addressing the subject of missing and exploited children) about Hatfills involvement in the investigation. Jane Clayson of CBS News asked General Ashcroft about the searches and whether Hatfill was a suspect in the investigation. Ex. 30, at 2. General Ashcroft responded that Hatfill was a person of interest. General Ashcroft cautioned, however, that he was not prepared to say any more at [that] time other than the fact that he is an individual of interest. Id. At the same media event, Matt Lauer of NBC News also asked General Ashcroft whether Hatfill was a suspect in the investigation. Ex. 31. General Ashcroft responded that Hatfill was a person that that the FBIs been interested in. Id. at 2. General Ashcroft cautioned that he was not prepared to make a . . . comment about whether a person is officially a . . . suspect or not. Id.
General Ashcroft made the same comments at a news conference in Newark, New Jersey on August 22, 2002, stating that Hatfill was a person of interest to the Department of Justice, and we continue the investigation. Ex. 32, at 1. As in his previous statements, General Ashcroft refused to provide further comment. Id. When asked upon deposition why he referred to Hatfill as a person of interest in the anthrax investigation in response to these media inquiries, General Ashcroft testified that he did so in an attempt to correct the record presented by the media that he was a suspect in the investigation, which he believed served a necessary law enforcement purpose. Ashcroft Dep. Tran., Ex. 33, at 81: 5-12; 103:18; 108: 9-13; 138: 5-7; 125: 18-21; 134:22 - 136:8. Prior to making these statements, General Ashcroft did not review or otherwise consult any investigative record, id. at 128:14 - 129:12, much less any record pertaining to Hatfill.
General Ashcrofts initial statements on August 6, 2002 were followed, on August 11, 2002, by the first of Hatfills two nationally televised press conferences. Ex. 34. During his press conference, Hatfill lashed out at Rosenberg and other journalists and columnists who he believed wrote a series of defamatory speculation and innuendo about [him]. Id. at 3. In apparent response to the person of interest statements, by contrast, he stated that he did not object to being considered a subject of interest because of [his] knowledge and background in the field of biological warfare. Id. at 4. This was consistent with Hatfills statement to ABC News earlier in 2002 in which he stated that his background and comments made him a logical subject of the investigation. Ex. 35. As noted, moreover, Glasberg told the media -- almost a week before the first of General Ashcrofts statements -- that Hatfill was first contacted by the FBI [earlier that] year, as part of the Bureaus survey of several dozen scientists working in fields related to biomedical warfare. He was voluntarily debriefed and polygraphed, and voluntarily agreed to have his home, car and other property subjected to a lengthy and comprehensive search by the FBI. Ex. 26.
Hatfills second press conference was held on August 25, 2002. In the flyer publicizing the conference, Hatfill identified himself to the media -- in bold lettering -- as the person of interest at the center of the federal Governments [anthrax] investigation. DA, Exhibit 36.
D. Clawsons Sunshine Policy
Patrick Clawson joined the Hatfill team in early August 2002 as spokesperson and fielded hundreds of inquiries from members of the press worldwide regarding Dr. Hatfill[.] Ex. 12, at 13. Clawson believed it best to employ a media strategy that would, in his words, let it all hang out. Id. at 50:10. Clawson felt that permitting maximum sunshine into . . . Hatfills existence would do both him and the public the best good. Clawson Dep. Tran., Ex. 37, at 50:16-18.
The majority of Clawsons communications with the press regarding this case have been oral and by telephone and he did not keep a press log or any other regular record of such contacts with the press. Ex. 12, at 13. Clawson nonetheless admitted upon deposition that he revealed numerous details about Hatfills personal and professional background to members of the press (Clawson Dep. Tran., Ex. 37, at 101:9 - 105:21), including Hatfills professional expertise (id. at 103:10 - 105:21), use of Cipro (id. at 123:16 - 130:11, 248: 8-13), whereabouts on the days of the attacks (id. at 148:12 - 158:10, 361:15 - 362:3), expertise in working with anthrax (id. at 194:13 - 195:8), former service in the Rhodesian Army (id. at 210:9 - 211:10), and drunk driving arrest (id. at 795: 7-9, 798: 4-6). Clawson also told reporters what had been purportedly removed from Hatfills apartment during the two searches of his apartment on June 25, 2002 and August 1, 2002 (including medical books and a jar of bacillus thuringiensis (BT)) (id. at 121: 6-12, 131:2 - 131:12, 14:8 - 147:3, 313: 3-10). Clawson also freely relayed to the press that bloodhounds had been presented to Hatfill during the investigation (id. at 200: 15-19); that Hatfill had been the subject of surveillance (id. at 123:12-15, 428: 19-21); that Hatfill had taken polygraphs (id. at 135:16 - 137:17); and that he had submitted to blood tests (id. at 137:18-138:5, 347: 6-10).
In furtherance of Clawsons sunshine policy, Hatfill, Clawson, and Glasberg, together, provided countless on-the-record, on-background (i.e., for use, but not for attribution), and off-the-record (i.e., not for attribution or use) interviews to counter misinformation. Although Hatfill repeatedly claimed upon deposition not to remember what he said during these interviews, he acknowledged in his responses to the Agency Defendants interrogatories having such conversations with, in addition to Mr. Jackman, Judith Miller of The New York Times, Jeremy Cherkis of the City Paper, Guy Gugliotta of the Washington Post, David Kestenbaum of National Public Radio, Rick Schmidt of the LA Times, Rob Buchanan of NBC Dateline, Jim Popkin of NBC News, Dee Ann David and Nick Horrock of UPI, Gary Matsumato of Fox TV, Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, and David Tell of the Weekly Standard. Ex. 12, at 3-4. With respect to the Matsumato interview, Glasberg warned Hatfill before the interview that he should not be quoted, nor should Matsumato say or imply that he spoke with him. Ex. 38, at 1. Glasberg warned Hatfill that Matsumato must be willing to go to jail rather than reveal word one of anything [he] says on deep background. Id.
All of these disclosures became too much even for Glasberg, who attempted to put a stop to them. In August, when Jackman aired his exclusive interview with Glasberg and Hatfill, Glasberg heralded the success of his public relations strategy noting that Rosenberg, Shane and Kristof are, [each] of them, in varying stages of sulking, licking their wounds, reacting defensively and changing their tune. Ex. 39. Slowly Glasberg advised both Hatfill and Glasberg to observe the rule of COMPLETE SILENCE regarding anything and everything about the case[.] Ex. 40 (emphasis in original). Ultimately, in September 2002, Glasberg ordered Clawson to stand down, noting [w]hat you know, you know, and you have put virtually all of that into the public record. Fine. That is where we are, and for good or ill we can and will deal with it. But we must put a full stop to any further conveyance of substantive data about ANYTHING from Steve to anyone [but his attorneys]. Ex. 41 (emphasis in original). To no avail. On October 5, 2002, Hatfill and Clawson appeared together at an Accuracy in Media Conference. Hatfill was asked about the reaction of bloodhounds, and stated, Im not supposed to answer things against . . . but let me tell you something. They brought this good-looking dog in. I mean, this was the best-fed dog I have seen in a long time. They brought him in and he walked around the room. By the way, I could have left at anytime but I volunteered while they were raiding my apartment the second time, I volunteered to talk with them. The dog came around and I petted him. And the dog walked out. So animals like me (laughter). Ex. 42, at 2.
Disclosures from the Hatfill camp to the media continued. For example, between late 2002 and May 8, 2003, Hatfills current attorney, Tom Connolly, and CBS News reporter James Stewart had multiple telephone conversations and two lunch meetings. Ex. 43. According to Stewart, Connolly told Stewart that the investigation was focusing on Hatfill, and detailed at great length the FBIs surveillance of Hatfill. In virtually every one of these conversations, Connolly encouraged Stewart to report on these subjects. Id. at 96.
E. Louisiana State Universitys Decision To Terminate Hatfill
At the time of the second search of his apartment in August 2002, Hatfill was working as a contract employee at the Louisiana State University (LSU) on a program to train first responders in the event of a biological attack. This program was funded by the Department of Justices Office of Justice Programs (OJP) as part of a cooperative agreement. Ex. 44. Under the terms of the cooperative agreement, OJP maintain[ed] managerial oversight and control of the program. Id. at 2. Following the second search of Hatfills apartment on August 1, 2002, Timothy Beres, Acting Director of OJPs Office of Domestic Preparedness, directed that LSU cease and desist from utilizing the subject-matter expert and course instructor duties of Steven J. Hatfill on all Department of Justice funded programs. Ex. 45. LSU, meanwhile, had independently hired Hatfill to serve as Associate Director of its Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education. Following the second search, LSU placed Hatfill on administrative leave. Ex. 46. LSU then requested a background check of Hatfill. Ex. 47. During the course of that investigation, the University became concerned that Hatfill had forged a diploma for a Ph.D that he claimed to have received from Rhodes University in South Africa. Hatfill explained to Stephen L. Guillott, Jr., who was the Director of the Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education at LSU, that [h]e assumed the degree had, in fact been awarded since neither his [thesis advisor] nor Rhodes University advised him to the contrary. Ex. 48. LSUs Chancellor, Mark A. Emmert, made an internal decision to terminate [LSUs] relationship with Dr. Hatfill quite independent of [the DOJ e-mail] communication. Ex. 51.
Hatfill has now testified that in fact he created a fraudulent diploma with the assistance of someone he met in a bar who boasted that he could make a fraudulent diploma. Hatfill Dep. Tran., Ex. 49 at 19:20 - 20:12. Glasberg, moreover, has stated under oath that Hatfills earlier attempted explanation was untrue. Glasberg, Dep. Tran., Ex. 21, at 314:10 - 317:2. In a nationally televised 60 Minutes episode that aired in March 2007, Connolly confirmed that Hatfill forged the diploma for the Ph.D from Rhodes University. Ex. 50, at 3.
F. Hatfills Amended Complaint
Hatfill claims lost wages and other emotional damages resulting from General Ashcrofts person of interest statements and other for-attribution statements by DOJ and FBI officials. He also seeks to recover for certain other alleged leaks by DOJ and FBI officials. Hatfill additionally asserts that the defendants violated the Act by purportedly failing to (1) maintain an accurate accounting of such disclosures, which he asserts is required by section 552a(c) of the Act; (2) establish appropriate safeguards to insure the security and confidentiality of the records that were purportedly disclosed, which he asserts is required by section 552a(e)(10); (3) correct information that was disseminated about him that was inaccurate or incomplete, which he asserts is required by section 552a(e)(5); and (4) establish adequate rules of conduct, procedures, and penalties for noncompliance, or to train employees in the requirements of the Act, which he asserts is required by section 552a(e)(9). Defendants are entitled to summary judgment.
Now when Director Mueller set that deadline for bringing an Amerithrax indictment, the FBI simultaneously moved against both the GMU PhD security expert and al-Massari.
Critics claim political motives in U.S. detention of son of Saudi dissident.
Chicago Tribune 27-AUG-04
(referring to his arrest the previous month).?
To connect the dots you would want to know about Khawwaz, another London-based Saudi dissident and founder of the group and his connection to the detained Egyptian Islamic Jihad members. Fawwaz arranged through a student in St. Louis to buy Ayman’s satellite phone that he used to keep in touch with Jaballah etc., the London cell members, etc.
Al-Massari’s dad’s website discusses cell security in the conduct of urban warfare.
August 14, 2005
Saudi exile runs urban warfare website in UK
An audio segment of the course posted on the websites discussion forum advises that urban warfare is best conducted by several terrorist cells that may share a leader but should remain unknown to each other in case members are captured. One cell should stake out a target, another should acquire military equipment or explosives, and a third should actually mount the attack.
His Dad has Denver ties.
EXPATRIATE SAUDI: TERROR `JUSTIFIED’
Denver Rocky Mountain News
November 24, 2001
“You’re not going to like this. I wasn’t quite sure how to react myself.
But there I was engaged in a conversation with an expatriate Saudi intellectual who happens to have Denver ties and who was coolly explaining how the Sept. 11 attacks were somehow ``justified.’’ And how we should expect more attacks.”
Was the raid on WAMY related to Amerithrax?
Ibrahim Abdullah reportedly was the Vice-President of WAMY a group founded by Bin Laden’s nephew.
U.S. Raids N.Va. Office Of Saudi-Based Charity
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 2, 2004; Page B01
“Federal agents have raided the U.S. branch of a large Saudi-based charity, founded in Northern Virginia by a nephew of Osama bin Laden, in connection with a terrorism-related investigation, law enforcement sources said yesterday.”
“In a statement last night, WAMY said that all of the office’s files and computer hard drives were seized and that a volunteer WAMY board member was arrested on immigration charges.”
“Sources said the raid was part of an investigation into whether the group’s operations around the world have financial and other ties to terrorists, but the scope of the probe could not be learned because the case is under court seal.”
“During last year’s case against Soliman S. Biheiri, the only person convicted as an outgrowth of that investigation, prosecutors filed documents saying that Biheiri’s company, BMI Inc., had managed money for Abdullah bin Laden. The documents said Abdullah bin Laden incorporated WAMY’s U.S. branch in Falls Church in 1992, became president and was listed on the organization’s tax forms until at least 1998. The branch is now in Alexandria.
“The affidavit also lays out what it calls ties between WAMY and the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.”
Abdullah’s “arrest was part of an investigation by the local terrorism task force.”
Question: what was the terrorism investigation underlying the raid on WAMY?
“Has someone been sitting on the FBI?” BBC, Newsnight, November 6, 2001
Federal agents arrested Dr. Abdullah on immigration charges, alleging that he had violated his student visa by accepting thousands of dollars in wages or other compensation from WAMY since 1999. Abdullah said that the money in question was merely reimbursement for supplies he had bought, and that his work for WAMY was done on a volunteer basis. Fadel Soliman, Executive Manager of WAMY’s U.S. branch, also claimed that Abdullah had never been paid by the organization.
Abdullah, however, plead guilty to the immigration charge. In July 2004 he was deported to Saudi Arabia, where he took a job as a computer science professor.
His May 2004 thesis explains: “Communication protocols in general, as well as security protocols, need a higher level of flexibility to handle evolution. My approach increases the level of code sharing and reuse. I also found that security protocols are best-suited for the application of my framework because most security protocols share a similar set of functions and exhibit common sequences and patterns in the way they operate. Therefore, I validated the framework by applying it to the implementation of several security protocols: Needham-Schroeder Authentication Protocol, ISAKMP, and SSL.”
Thought question: Where did Ken and Charles, the anthrax leading lights at GMU’s Center for Biodefense, keep their biochemistry information underlying the concentration of anthrax and other pathogens using hydrophobic silica in the medium? What precautions were in place?
errata - “we told him” should be “they told him.”
“Nothing happened today at the status conference. Judge Walton had intended to take up argument on a motion, but no one was prepared for that because it had been calendared as a status conference. He asked the parties if their position had changed on the need for Stewarts testimony, and we told him our position was unchanged. Thats really it. A non-event.”
"They told him our position was unchanged."?
It made more sense the original way.
The tv show this month “Terrorist Next Door” will takes viewers into the very human story of a young Algerian immigrant named Ahmed Ressam, from his arrival in Montreal to his recruitment by Majid), the leader of an al-Qaeda sleeper cell. Majid’s wife who converted to Islam for the husband she loves, is blind to the fact that his travels as head of an international charity are for less-than-philanthropic ends.
For an article explaining the connection between Ressam, Mercy International, Hamid Aich and al-Hawali, see
“Irish-based charity has links with terrorists,” Independent.ie., September 16, 2001
Although the name Hamid Aich is unfamiliar to those following Amerithrax from the outside, it is not unfamiliar to the FBI agents who have pursued him.
In 2006, US authorities continued to aggressively prosecute the matter back in Northern Virginia and reindicted a Virginia Paintball defendant — another GMU student from Falls Church — who had been acquitted previously. This time he was indicted for perjury. In late July 2007, Benkhala, an acquaintance of the same folks who travelled from London to Pakistan in 1999 to a training camp, was sentenced to 10 years for perjury in connection with a grand jury appearance. Here are excerpts from an email from Sabri Ben Kahla to people whether from GMU or abroad. In his email, Mr. Benkahla summarized his legal matter and mentions an October 2006 search of his fathers medical supplies business.
What questions did they ask Sabri Ben Khala before the grand jury in 2004? At a 2003 court hearing, the Assistant US Attorney said that Mr Sabri Ben Khala had a handwritten phone book that included a contact for Mr Ibrahim Buisir, whom Mr Laufman described as a Libyan-born resident of Ireland who ran Mercy International Relief Agency. One of Mercy Internationals Directors, al-Hawali, was Bin Ladens spiritual mentor and the express subject of the 1996 Declaration of War against the United States. Al-Hawali was on the telephone with his former student, Al-Timimi on September 16, 2001 and September 19, 2001. One of Mercy International’s Dublin operatives, Mr Hamid Aich, is still at large, wanted in Canada for questioning about an attempted car-bombing of millennium celebrations in Seattle, Washington. Hamid Aich used to live in Vancouver (before going to Dublin). He fled from Dublin in July 2001. An Islamic Jihad operative, he is implicated in the killing tourists in 1997 at Luxor. It was a charity operative in Dublin who arranged for Moussaoui’s transportation to the US. Al-Hawali and Al-Timimi spoke on the telephone about how they might best help Moussaoui’s defense.
Ben Khala wrote his friends explaining his matter.
Dear Brothers And Sisters: As-Salem Aleikum wa rahmtu Allah
I pray this letter finds you all in good health and high imaan. I havent spoken to many of you for a while. But if you are receiving this email, we have met somewhere along this journey of life. Whether it be from GMU, or studies abroad in Syria or Egypt, or the University of Medina, or JHU or Hajj or a masjid, or a conference, or some type of activity; I have met you. I pray that you remember me.
To give you an update on recent events of my life: In June of 2003, shortly before I was to graduate from the University of Medina with a degree in Islamic law, I was arrested in Saudi Arabia. I was held in a small concrete cell without charge or explanation and no human contact other than periodic interrogations for a month. At the end of the month I found out this was done at behest of the F.B.I.
I was the final defendant in the Virginia 11 case. Because of lack of evidence those charges were dropped but the prosecution came up with new charges. On March 9, 2004 after 8 months of home confinement and a one day bench trial, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that I was not guilty on all counts. Instead of being allowed to get on with my life; after the acquittal, I was called for several debriefings with the F.B.I. I was compelled to testify before two Grand Juries.
Two years later, in February of 2006, I was indicted again in what my lawyers would argue is a case of double jeopardy; this time on charges of making false statements to the Grand Juries and obstruction of justice.
In October of 2006, one week before my scheduled trial, the F.B.I. raided my fathers medical supplies business, causing my sister to be rushed to the hospital. They took boxes and boxes of our personal documents and belongings.
Finally, on February 5, 2007, my trial has come to an unfavorable conclusion. I was not allowed to mention to the jury that I was acquitted, yet the prosecution brought in all the evidence of the previous case which has already been ruled upon to prejudice the jury.
The CIA’s Office of Technical Services has played a role in rounding up Jaballah’s colleagues.
In August 1998, Mahmoud Jaballah, an operative in Canada serving as a communications relay between high-ranking Egyptian Islamic Jihad figures, was under electronic surveillance by Canadian intelligence. Calls were intercepted in which he relayed a series of phone calls between operatives in London and Baku, Azerbaijan, in the days and hours before the African embassy bombings on August 7, 1998. He was in contact with his brother-in-law, Shehata and military commander Mabruk in Baku. Both were on Islamic Jihads nine member ruling council. On August 8, Mabruk again called Jaballah and told him to contact an operative in London to give him Mabruks latest phone number. He asked Jaballah to tell others not to call him anymore, since he and Shehata would soon be leaving Azerbaijan and their phone numbers there will no longer work. Shehata and Mabruk had just been implicated in the embassy bombings. They sent the fax taking credit for the bombings to bin Ladens press office in London several hours before the bombings. Mabruk, by a stroke of luck, is picked up outside a restaurant in Baku.
As I understand the story, after the bombings in Africa, there was a concern that there was plotting against the US embassy in Baku. One cell member was captured. But the second member of a cell had eluded capture. He had married a local woman. The man was using a female cut-out to keep in contact with London cell members. The CIA, to locate him, sent a souvenir plaque to the female suspected of being the cut-out. Under a plaque dedicate to a Saint, there was hidden a lot of money, along with a note written by an Arab linguist saying that the money should serve to get them by until his brothers could next be in touch. (The idea was that given the address where it was originating in London, the recipient in Baku would know to study it for a concealed prize; the money was findable just be unscrewing the plaque; the transmitter was buried into the wood). When the female cut-out got the package, she started moving, stopping a number of times and doubling back before going to the man’s house. The CIA personnel overheard the man and his wife find the money and talk excitedly. Then perhaps upon seeing surveillance of a tactical team on the perimeter he made exclamations and ran back inside. The tactical team moved. The Office of Technical Services people found the plaque upstairs under the bed, but the man was nowhere to be found. His wife said she did not know where he was. Suddenly there were shots downstairs. The man had been hiding in a washing machine with the parts removed. When discovered, he shot the officer who found him in the chest.
Where has Shehata, the head of EIJ’s civilian operations, been for the past 10 years?
Dr. Alibek was just beginning his frequest appearances before Congressional Committees in the first half of 1998. So when Mabruk’s laptop seized in Baku is said to have contained documents evidencing an intent to weaponize anthrax, and a memo the next spring from Ayman to Atef says that they only turned to seek to weaponize anthrax when they kept hearing how easy it was, one wonders whether Mabruk’s laptop might have had news of what Dr. Alibek was saying on Maburk’s laptop. Mabruk was the captured EIJ military commander and Shehata was head of its Civilian Branch, in charge of its Special Operations. Shehata, again, was Jaballah’s brother-in-law, who the CSIS had been monitoring in Canad since shortly after his arrival in Canada in May 1996. The FBI found a news article upon the FBI’s regular dumpster diving at an Illinois charity. The CIA tended to cooperate with the FBI better on BIF, the Benevolence International Foundation, than on GRF, the Global Relief Foundation. There were secrets the CIA reportedly did not want to come out in a trial as they might compromise the methods, means, and sources. Sometimes there is more than dirty laundry in a washing machine.
But the events of August 1998 in the capture of the second cell member show that Jaballah was in touch with Mabruk, the fellow with the anthrax planning documents on his laptop. That raises an important question. Was Mahmoud Jaballah the Egyptian scientist in the researching anthrax?
The Globe and Mail reports that When Mahmoud Jaballah appears before Federal Court as an alleged terrorist threat in coming months - the third such case against him - hell finally get to answer specific allegations about how he is believed to have relayed terrorist communications during the 1998 African embassy bombings. The government has alleged that on the day of the bombing, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad military commander Mabruk had called Jaballah from Baku, Azerbaijan and told him to call the London cell members. Mabruk asked Jaballah to tell them they could reach him in the home of Shehata, who was in charge of Special Operations for Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Shehata was Jaballahs brother-in-law and had been Jaballahs lawyer in the 1980s in connection with problems with the government. (Shehata was Montasser al-Zayats law partner). Jaballah had been in regular contact with Mabruk, Shehata and the London cell members who faxed responsibility for the 1998 embassy bombings in which over 200 people died. Shehatas former law partner, Montasser al-Zayat, and military commander Mabruk announced in March 1999 that Ayman Zawahiri was going to use anthrax against US targets in retaliation for the rendering of senior Egyptian Islamic Jihad leaders. Jaballahs colleague Mahjoub was #2 in Zawahiris Vanguards of Conquest. When Mahjoubs bail hearing was announced in January 2001, one of Zawahiris minions threatened to use anthrax if bail was denied. This was the subject of a February 2001 Presidential Daily Brief from the CIA to President Bush. Bail was denied on October 5, 2001. The potent anthrax was mailed to the US Senators the next day.
The government alleges that at one point Jaballah reported to Mabruk that he had recruited individuals who had been members of the Muslim Brotherhood and emphasized that they had been tested and could be trusted.
Relatedly, for the first time, the government this year has publicly confirmed that Jaballah was in regularly in touch with Ayman Zawahiri by telephone. Zawahiri was head of Al Qaedas program to weaponize anthrax for use against US targets.
The Globe and Mail, quoting allegations, infers that The new charges indicate CSIS targeted Mr. Jaballah almost as soon as he arrived in Canada [in 1996]. They make specific references to 1990s-era phone calls, and even include remarks about the suspects tone of voice. The documents cite code words Mr. Jaballah is alleged to have used or heard in his phone calls. For example, the documents say hospitalized was used as a code for a man being arrested overseas, and the green outfit referred to a forged passport.
Wasn’t Mahmoud Jaballah the Egyptian scientist in the library in Ohio in June 2001 researching anthrax in water? The mailed anthrax was sent to the United Senators the day after bail was denied by the Canadians of his colleague, Mahmoud Mahjoub, who now is revealed be the #2 man in Zawahiris Vanguards of Conquest.
Stateside, in Ohio, there was the long-forgotten case of a mysterious Egyptian in the Summer of 2001 associated with the members of an alleged terror cell. The young men worked at a local chicken slaughterhouse and are more commonly known as the Detroit cell. In June 2001, they had an angry conversation about the detention of the Egyptian blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. Sometime before 9/11, an older Egyptian man with one of these young men made repeated attempts to obtain maps of the water supply system of Canton, Ohio. At the library, he studied books dealing with disease spread to human by animals such as anthrax. The Akron Beacon Journal reported that after 9/11, a librarian in Canton alerted authorities who called in the FBI. The man had visited the library as many as a half dozen times and asked for detailed maps of Cantons water system and books concerning microbiology and animal borne diseases. Among the things the man sought were maps of waterlines running under Interstate 77 to Cantons Mercy Medical Center. The librarian described the man as 50ish, with a slight paunch, and balding. Jaballah reports that he graduated from the University of Zagazigs Faculty of Biology.
Was the scientist in Ohio in June 2001 ever identified and questioned? According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the man told the librarian that he worked at Case Farms. After 9/11, Case Farms was investigated in connection with allowing illegal immigrants to work without proper identification. The Egyptian reportedly had lived with the young men in Canton for a time in the past year or so, according to the librarian. (Their names were Hanna and Koubriti) The FBI has never confirmed the story. Case Farms doesnt confirm the story. The librarians wont confirm the story and a reporter who went to the library in person was shown the door. What news, if any, came out of the trial of members of the Detroit terror cell? Portions of the proceeding were sealed. During the same period, two of the men on trial reportedly had enrolled in a four-week truck-driving course.
The Detroit defendants were arrested when the week after 9/11 authorities kicked down the door of the apartment that had the name Nabil al-Marabh on the mailbox. Knowing of his connection to Al Qaeda, the FBI had gone looking for him after 9/11. His lawyer handling a fender bender involving al-Marabhs taxicab in Boston had a forwarding address for him. In considering how many Egyptians trained in biology taxi driver Nabil Al-Marabh knew, well, he knew Mahmoud Jaballah. Mahmoud Jaballah was a biology teacher and co-founder, with al-Marabhs uncle, of an elementary school on the edge of Little Beirut in Toronto. After coming to Canada in 1996, Jaballah would contact Ayman regularly on Aymans Inmarsat satellite phone. Jaballah was rearrested in August 2001 after an earlier security certificate was quashed. Why was he rearrested? Were authorities upset had gone off the radar for a matter of weeks? CSIS alleges Jaballah knew Mahmoud Mahjoub who the CSIS now for the first time alleges was #2 in the Vanguards of Conquest. CSIS alleges that Jaballah was in regular contact with both the Vanguards/Egyptian Islamic Jihad head of military operations and the head of special operations with the latter being both his brother-in-law and lawyer. CSIS alleges that he has had contact for years with Hassan Farhat and Ali Hussein, whom they say were part of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Hassan Farhat was with the Ansar al-Islam. Hassan Farhat was a senior member of Ansar Al Islam, formed in 2001, and was arrested by Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq. Farhat was the Imam of the Salaheddin Mosque in Toronto, which was affiliated with the school founded by Jaballah, from 1997 to 2002. Farhat also lived in Montreal for a time where Jaballah visited him. For an organization that emphasizes cell security, Jaballah was well-connected.
After Jaballah s second arrest, Nabil al-Marabh s uncle, Ahmed Shehab, took over as principal at Jaballah s school. Mr. Shehab had shared control of the school with Jaballah as co-founder. Does Shehab know Jaballah to have been the scientist researching anthrax in Canton, Ohio from May to July 2001? The man told the librarian that he had worked at a laboratory in Egypt where he had learned to detect pathogens otherwise not detectable. He said he wanted to help the United States detect pathogens. (The librarian said that his english was so poor, she would expect him to be asking about a green card; but she finally got the word pathogens out of him). Jaballah was 40 rather than 50ish. But he otherwise fit the description and from his picture looks older than his age.
A January 2008 decision addressed the conditions of Jaballahs detention (such as whether his son could bring a wireless laptop home, why his apartment had DSL service etc.). The decision explained: After serving three months as principal at Salaheddin Islamic School [the one he cofounded with al-Marabhs uncle] and teaching privately from his home for six months, Mr. Jaballah founded Um Al Qura School in July of 2001. Shortly after the school opened, Mr. Jaballah was detained (August 14, 2001). Why was he arrested? What was the new evidence or new concern? Had he been missing? Had they lost track of him did authorities want to know how he spent his summer vacation?
Aly Hindy, president of the affiliated Salaheddin Islamic Center, imam of its mosque and a civil engineer in Toronto, described the school to the Wall Street Journal in December 2001. We had to take our children out of the public-school system, which teaches about homosexuality and allows undue mixing between boys and girls. The Wall Street Journal article explains: Mr. Jaballah helped organize the curriculum at Salaheddin during the summer of 2000 and taught Arabic for a few months. He wanted to be principal. I told him no, Mr. Hindy says, because his English wasnt good enough.
The mailed anthrax was sent to the United Senators the day after a judge denied bail to Jaballahs colleague, Mahmoud Mahjoub, who now is revealed be the #2 man in Zawahiris Vanguards of Conquest. “Magic Man” Cheney, remember, is Bushs #2. As explained in a still-classified February 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), a threat to use anthrax was mailed to the Canadian immigration minister. That was reported in the early February 2001 PDB to the President. Fitzpatrick sat al-Marabh one last time to see if he could shed any light on these matters before shipping him off to Syria.
Now given all that the Administration knew of this background from the still-classified February 2001 PDB about these matters, when the report came over Andrew Card’s desk in mid-December that the FBI suspected Ali Al-Timimi — his former assistant at Department of Transportation — do we think the Administration was going to deal with this issue with candor? Some Congressional Committee should force the declassification of that PDB because it is only serving to avoid embarrassment and delay a sensible approach to Amerithrax. The perps already know what the February 2001 PDB contains.
How good is the United States government at ferreting out moles who out of personal bias assisted terror suspects under investigation by the FBI?
Let’s consider the recent example of the Fairfax, VA police sergeant who tipped off a terror suspect.
Weiss Rasool, age 30, a Sergeant with the Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Department, was sentenced last month to two years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to a criminal information charging him with unauthorized computer access. In June 2005, he accessed the federal database at the request of a friend from his local mosque. He was sentenced by United States Magistrate Judge Poretz in Alexandria. A seven year veteran of the Fairfax County Police Department, at last report, he is still on duty. He checked his own name and the names of others to determine if those names were registered within the Violent Crime and Terrorist Offender File. If in 2001, he had checked Al-Timimi’s name and had known him, would he have told him? Sergeant Rasool knew that the information was for criminal justice purposes only. The target was arrested and deported in November 2005 but not without being found destroying evidence when agents arrived to arrest him.
The Washington Post reports:
“Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeanine Linehan said that the target and his family were already dressed and destroying evidence at 6 a.m. when agents arrived to make the arrest, indicating that they had been tipped off. The target’s name and the charges against him have not been disclosed.”
“His acquaintance had asked him to run some license plates to see if the cars were part of FBI surveillance. Sergeant Rasool told his acquaintance on the phone he could only tell him if the three license plates traced back to an individual or not. If they didn’t, that was a tip-off they related to government surveillance. “Umm, as I told you, I can only tell you if it comes back to a person or not a person, and all three vehicles did not come back to an individual person. So, I just wanted to give you that much.”
Rasool wept upon sentencing, saying:
“If I could turn back time, I would maybe do things different,” he said. “It was an error in judgment. I never intended for things to turn out this way. I don’t know what to say to you or anyone. . . . I admit I made errors of judgment. But I never intended to put anybody’s life at risk.”
That’s not really the point. The point on sentencing is whether his actions were reasonably calculated or have the effect of undermining or thwarting a federal investigation.
When confronted in October 2007, Rasool denied knowing the man. He confessed only when they played a recording of him agreeing to check the databases.
The magistrate judge, even though Rasool had denied knowing the man, in sentencing gave Rasool credit for accepting responsibility. Huh? The magistrate made a finding that there was no intent to disrupt the federal investigation. Huh? That is precisely the purpose of learning of surveillance. Personally, I would have just gone up and asked the person(s) in the car or call the police and report the suspicious man in the car. Once I did that when I lived in Arlington, VA spending a lot of my time at GMU. The man in the baseball cap staring straight ahead would be there each morning for long periods until I had left my CIA handler’s apartment. The Arlington, VA police told me that the man was waiting each day for a parking space. (That was a silly explanation as there was ample parking; in any event, he didn’t come back the next day). In my case, as in the case of Rasool’s friend, it likely was what is known as “conspicuous surveillance.” That is, surveillance intended to be noticed (so the feds can see how the target reacts on their phone and email intercepts). In Virginia, can’t you ascertain a license plate for a modest fee at the DMV? (I can’t remember, but the purpose would relate to locating drivers in hit-and-run fender benders). His counsel perhaps might have defended on the grounds that it was conspicuous surveillance and that this is all much ado about nothing. (Though I guess counsel did very well taking the approach used).
In any event, all second-guessing aside, the case illustrates this issue of how it deals with sympathizers (or even moles). We saw how lame the FBI’s media leak investigation was. Did the US Attorney ever take responsibility for not telling Van Harp he had talked to Newsweek, as did his assistant (the fellow whose daughter now represents Al-Timimi pro bono)? The issue in the Al-Timimi case recently related to access to intercepts — whether FISA or NSA, we don’t know.
Rasool’s supervisor says his unauthorized database was not as bad as the unauthorized access by other police officers. I’m sure. But that’s a matter for Internal Affairs. Maybe Michael Mason, former head of Amerithrax is right. Maybe one of the best ways to encourage public compliance with the laws is to enforce the law evenhandedly and hold government officials accountable for violations. In the private sector, upon such a violation, most employees would be shown the door.
There is a closer connection between Rasool and Al-Timimi than some might realize.
Sergeant Rasool acting with another officer from a neighboring police department, who represented himself as being with the Council on American Islamic Relations [CAIR, a Hamas friendly Muslim pressure group, funded by the Saudis and named as a co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror prosecution] were successful in stopping an anti-terrorism training program at the Fairfax police department and an associated police academy.
The training program was run by a group headed by GMU Microbiology professor Peter Leitner.
In a letter to Fairfax Chief of Police, David M. Rohrer, from Dr. Peter Leitner, president of the Higgins Center for Counter Terrorism Research he noted:
“For several years, the Higgins Counterterrorism Research Center was a provider of a series of training courses related to Terrorism, Intelligence, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Source Development, etc. We always enjoyed very high ratings from the Department and external personnel who attended our training sessions. We trained many hundreds of your personnel without a hitch until a complaint was filed by Sergeant Weiss Rasool, a Muslim. Sergeant Rasool maliciously accused my organization of being inaccurate, unfair, and mean-spirited in how we portrayed Islam. In conversations with Rasool he admitted to not having studied the Koran or other Islamic doctrine and texts. That did not deter him from accusing us of unfairly portraying Islam.” [source, Investigative Project, http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/misc/131.pdf]
Dr. Peter Leitner, as you may recall from posts above, was the microbiology professor who supervised the thesis on the vulnerabilities of GMU to infiltration.
Now which side has the equities in this debate?
Well, Dr. Leitner is one fellow who had the common sense to know that it is foolhardy to let a man preaching on the end of times and actively in contact with Bin Laden’s sheik, to be working not much more than 15 feet from the leading anthrax scientist and former deputy commander of UAMRIID. The pair was working on the largest biodefense award in history using Delta Ames under a contract with USAMRIID. It seems that this Leitner fellow is someone who could be teaching law enforcement (and GMU Administration and faculty) a thing or two.
The Court found that Sergeant Rasool accessed the NCIC multiple times searching multiple names. Who else did he search?
Sgt. Rasool’s attorney said that he did not know the name of the person being watched but that his client, Rasool, “had no reason to believe this person was the subject of an investigation.” If the attorney does not know who was being watched, how can he know Rasool had no reason to believe he was the subject of an investigation? He says his client was also checking the federal terrorism “watch list to see if he or others close to him were incorrectly listed.”
The AUSA argued, unsuccessfully, that:
“The sentence in this case should send a clear message that law enforcement officers cannot abuse their access to sensitive
information intended to protect the public. In this case, a sentence in the advisory guideline range will promote a respect for the law and deter this defendant and others from engaging in misuse of this system and the information generated by it.”
Dr. Leitner in a letter to the Fairfax County Police Department notes:
“Now we see that Sergeant Rasool was the subject of a several-year long
investigation in fact, he was under investigation at the time he lodged his
complaints against us — and was recently convicted of a very serious
security breach involving misusing FBI databases to assist another person
under FBI investigation for Federal terrorism charges (reporting attached).”
Several-year long investigation, huh? Mr. Rasool’s call to the target was picked up pursuant to a FISA intercept. This reference to a several-year long investigation makes me curious as to the identity of the target being watched — and the other names the officer looked up. If his lawyer doesn’t know even the name of the individual who was the subject of this one breach, how can he reasonably judge the circumstances of the looking of up other names?
Mohammad Weiss Rasool is from Afghanistan. Apparently the man and the target were not good friends. The transcript of the conversation reads:
This is Weiss. You spoke to me after the Juma prayer today; Im the police officer. Umm, as I told you, I can only tell you if it comes back to a person or not a person and all three vehicles did not come back to an individual person. So, I just wanted to give you that much. Uhh, okay. Hope things work out for you. Enshullah!
Does the fact that he had no personal loyalty to the man make it more or less problematic? He was apparently willing to look up whoever asked. Rasools patrol included the mosque area where the FBI vehicles were run. Rasools lawyers said he had a reason to check them because they were out of place in the neighborhood of his mosque.
“Since I will probably never know the entire case I can only base my opinions on Weiss Rasool, the employee I know.” Then she goes on to highly commend the quality of his work. He says: “In comparison to other employees that this agency has disciplined for VCIN violations, his seems to be the least significant.” He continues: “Most times those employees are never legally charged, but disciplined within our agency. Knowing that the conclusion of this matter in the legal system will not be the end for Weiss, I ask you to consider that his internal punishment within the Fairfax County Police Department will also be a part of his permanent record.” She explains that he is a good officer who merely made a mistake in judgment many years ago.
Like the McLean Assistant District Commander going to bat for him in front of the federal magistrate, we don’t know enough to judge the case.
His direct supervisor similarly writes:
“In my opinion, recent events have found Weiss caught up in matters way above his level of involvement. The matter at hand is not characteristic of Weiss as I know him as a person and coworker. Weiss has been completely transparent with me about everything that was going on with his case. He took me in confidence and allowed me to ask questions. In my opinion he kept me informed not only because I was his supervisor, but because I believe he wanted to clear his name with those close to him.”
Does that mean he told his supervisor all the other names he searched? Is there an electronic trail to such a database? If not, why not?
A friend of his ends with a quote “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” I definitely agree. But doesn’t anyone appreciate that one cannot fairly judge the situation without knowing the names he searched? The devil is always in the details.
In addition to other extensive praise from past supervisors and numerous other friends and supporters, there is a letter from a fellow alum at GMU, where Rasool once attended.
The statement of facts signed by the defendant, his attorney, and the United States Attorney states:
“The acts taken by the defendant, in furtherance of the offenses charged in this case, including the acts described above, were done willfully, deliberately, knowingly and were not committed by mistake, accident, or other innocent reason. The defendant acknowledges that the foregoing statement of facts does not describe all of the defendant’s conduct relating to the offenses charged in this case nor does it identify all the persons with whom the defendant may have engaged in illegal activities. The defendant further acknowledges that he is obligated under his plea agreement to provide additional information about this case beyond that which is described in this statement of facts.”
I would hope professional investigators would not write such high praise unless they had received a full accounting of whose names were searched, had confirmation or corroboration of the information, and understood the context. Otherwise, they too are abdicating their responsibility. The high praise of his supervisors pretty much tells you how the Internal Affairs investigation will turn out. (P.S. Is paid administrative leave is punishment or is that additional vacation time?)
Here is some background on Jdey’s educational background.
Jdey apparently has no formal training in biology and there is no indication he had any type of lab-type job. He arrived in Canada in 1991. In a letter he explains that before coming to Canada, he earned a degree in technological architectural engineering and worked in the architectural engineering sector. He apparently only was able to find menial jobs. He then enrolled in the University of Quebec in Montreal to study geology, receiving a degree in physiography after 4 years.
His correspondence reveals him to be a supporter of blind sheik Abdel-Rahman. In 1999, he writes:
“I remind you, my brothers, with the advice of our father Omar Abd Al-Rahman (may Allah release him from his capture), about the Americans and their allies. ‘Sever the bond of their assault, tear them to pieces, destroy their economy, burn their companies, destroy their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their airplanes, kill them on the ground, on the sea and in the air (kill them wherever you find them, take them, encircle them and ambush them anywhere you can). Fight those infidels (let them find harshness in you), (fight them, and Allah will punish them with your hands, disgrace them, help you to be victorious over them, heal the breasts of the believers and still the indignation of their hearts, for Allah will turn (in mercy).”
While it does not exclude him as mailer, it would seem to clearly exclude him as processor, notwithstanding any hands-on training, if any, he may have received in Afghanistan. I don’t know the basis for the references I’ve seen relating to training in biology. Perhaps Midhat Mursi, with whom he was acquainted, talked to him about poisons. I don’t know.
In the last sentence in the above post, I was confusing Jaffar the Pilot (Adnan El-Shukrijumah) with Jdey.
Jdey may very well have known Midhat Mursi, the chemical engineer, but I don’t know that — and it was Jaffar the Pilot who wrote Mursi a letter.
On authority for Jdey’s alleged training in biology, the source reporting study of biology in Montreal is his former FBI Internet profile. That tidbit first appeared in autumn, 2004. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, FBI seems to have removed detailed information about Jdey from its Websites. The Rewards for Justice profile just states a few facts. So we only have a secondary source—the Jdey article on Ken D’s website — or perhaps the FBI page is in the Wayback Machine.
In the Al-Timimi matter, the government has been granted a protective order over material currently under seal. Professor Turley, however, will be able to review classified material next week. None of the lawyers in the firm serving as his co-counsel will be allowed to see the classified material.
It was on October 10, 2002 — a few days after Al-Timimi had arranged for the letter to be hand-delivered to all Congressman warning of the consequences of invading Iraq — that Aulaqi arrived at JFK airport. (Al-Timimi had the letter delivered on the first anniversary of the anthrax letters to the Senators.) If I were Professor Turley, I would be curious as to who caused the warrant for Aulaqi’s arrest to be removed on October 9, 2002. Aulaqi came to DC, met with Al-Timimi, closed some business, and then left the country again.
One of the investigations of Aulaqi — Case Number HOo2P1o2H0ooo5 — involved Aulaqi’s connection that originated with the Customs office in Houston. “RADWAN ABU-ISSA — SUBJECT OF HOUSTON JTTF INVESTIGATION — SENT MONEY TO AULAQI,” states a document from the federal database called the Treasury Enforcement Communication System, or TECS II for short. Abu-Issa is a Syrian national who arrived in the US in 1997 or so. A research scholar and Muslim activist, he had taken Saudi flights in and and out of the country since 9/11. Lead investigator was Special Agent Pam, an FBI agent detailed over to Customs after 9/11 who worked in the Houston office of the JTTF.
Aulaqi was also the subject of a Green Quest investigation led by a senior special agent Michael with Customs. The case — Number DCo2PU02DC0014 — apparently has been closed. Operation Green Quest was transferred over to Homeland Security’s ICE.
Separately, Aulaqi was the subject of a terror-finance investigation led by senior ICE agent David Kane, who has been following the financial trail of the leaders of a Virginia group suspected of aiding Islamic terrorists. The Safa group is funded by wealthy Saudis.
Note that Jdey, according to the 911 Commission, may have trained with Aulaqi’s acquaintances from Falls Church and San Diego.
The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on ... - Page 527
by National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, Thomas H. Kean, Lee Hamilton - History - 2004 (”Abderraouf Jdey, aka Faruq al Tunisi. A Canadian passport holder, he may have trained in Afghanistan with Khalid al Mihdhar and Nawaf al Hazmi and received ...”)
Now there are many reasons why the Administration might want to obfuscate the investigation relating to Ali Al-Timimi. Does Scott McClellan’s new book give you confidence that it is for the right reasons?
Special Agent Wade Ammerman once played a role in both the Al-Timimi and Aulaqi investigations. He had followed Aulaqi out of the bureau’s Washington field office. He recently wrote in the Law Enforcement Bulletin, quoting Albert Einstein, that “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.”He also quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson, What you are shouts so loudly in my ears, I cannot hear what you say. Scott McClellan is very late in making his disclosures and now should be a dollar short.
FBI Special Agent Wade Ammerman, for example, testfied that on September 17, 2001, Masoud Ahmad Khan applied for a passport. On September 18, 2001, Khan left for Pakistan to go to a Lashkar-e-Taiba camp. In December 2002, Khan purchased an auto-pilot module for a radio-controlled model aircraft. Upon a search in 2003, at Khan’s residence, authorities found a copy of “The Terrorist’s Handbook.”
Maybe Special Agent Wade knows why the October 9, 2002 warrant for “911 imam” Aulaqi’s arrest was canceled the day before he arrived back in this country to finish some business.
What role has the Federal Bureau of Investigation inadvertently played in allowing the Bush Administration to tell the lies claimed by McClellan in his book?
If the anthrax mailings were thought to have involved a US citizen whose father worked at the Iraq embassy — as Ali’s lawyer suggests the FBI did — would that support or undermine the reason for invading Iraq? If they involved a former assistant of Andrew Card, the White House Chief of Staff, would that make it or more less likely the White House would direct that these issues be dealt with candidly?
Personally, I think that there was just a long-planned instance of infiltration by a dedicated and clever foe. The Administration need only be faulted for continuing to obfuscate the truth about Amerithrax. GMU’s civil liability would be determined, in part, by the candor and vigor in which they addressed these issues. ATCC fired a new, highly trained scientist the minute she complained about the lax security.
The FreeAli.org page (which I believe in the past has been maintained by Ali’s brother) states:
Professor at The George Washington University School of Law
Prior to leading Ali’s appeal, Professor Turley commented on Dr. Al-Timimi beliefs on Armageddon and the US Government’s case. In the truest form of defending the US Constitution, Professor Turley said that “it is never about the defendants. It was not about the racist fantasies of Brandenburg. It certainly is not about the apocalyptic fantasies of Al-Timimi. It is ultimately about us and who we are. With Al-Timimi’s conviction, we face that moment of self-definition again as his articles of speech become the test of our own articles of faith”.
Known for exposing state and federal violations of a defendant’s rights in the court room as a means by which the government can coerce a jury, Professor Turley was critical of the Government’s court room conduct. When prosecutors intimidated the jury with one of Dr. Al-Timimi’s writings authored years after Ali’s alleged criminal speech, Professor Turley commented: ‘The relevance of such statements is questionable, but the potential prejudicial impact could not be more clear.’ “
Professor Turley, I believe, would have been referring to the 2003 Columbia Shuttle remark (as I recall it, he said it was omen of the downfall of Western civilization).
Let’s consider the closer-in-time words of “911 imam” Anwar Aulaqi and Ali Al-Timimi in July and August 2001 then — or the speeches they gave in 2002 in a JIMAS [in the UK]. JIMAS pretty much involves the same IANA set of speakers and prominently features both Al-Timimi and Aulaqi. In his CD “Paradise” Aulaqi tells young martyrs about the “mansions of Paradise,” “the women of Paradise,” and “the greatest of the pleasures of Paradise.” Such speech is protected by the First Amendment but it does not mean it is not appropriately relied upon as evidence of someone’s intent. A person’s words are perhaps the best measure of that person’s intent. The defendant in court can then explain whether words were hyperbole, sarcasm, facetiousness etc.
In balancing tests in determining admissibility of evidence, how do we add the 3,000 lives to the balance? How do we factor into a determination of the relevance of apocalyptic views the lives at stake with respect to the threatened use of aerosolized anthrax on Washington, DC and New York City? On the subject of terrorist use of WMD and motive, is there anything more relevant than apocalyptic views?
Professor Turley now is focused on NSA wiretapping rather than First Amendment issues. Let’s assume for a moment the pertinent interceptions were NSA rather than FISA. Does that mean we as a country think it is okay to intercept every phone, fax and email in Europe under the program called ECHELON but that it is not okay to intercept Bin Laden’s sheik when he calls a microbiologist just feet away from the leading anthrax scientist working for the US government? What if the call is only five days after 3,000 were killed in New York City in an attack by Bin Laden? What if the interception target was only the person living abroad? Defense counsel is suggesting that, regardless, such interceptions need to be provided. Should they have to be provided if not even the prosecuting attorney knew of them? I’d like to see the Court err in favor of disclosure. It’s been 7 years now. There is a strong public policy weighing in favor of greater transparency on such issues.
But if we are to stand for justice, then how about we bring Amerithrax to a successful resolution? How about some justice for Ottilie Lundgren?