Skip to comments.FBI reportedly interested in former state engineer Farid Adlouni
Posted on 09/14/2002 8:34:17 AM PDT by ValerieUSA
PORTLAND A former Washington state Transportation Department engineer yesterday has found himself, his imam and his mosque swept into an unfolding investigation by Portland's joint terrorism force led by the FBI.
Farid Adlouni, a civil engineer and U.S. citizen who once worked out of the Vancouver office, was profiled in The Oregonian newspaper yesterday as a man with business ties to a top Osama bin Laden aide and who has attracted FBI scrutiny.
Adlouni, 38, yesterday said he had "done nothing wrong."
The imam, Mohammad Abdirahman Kariye, also a U.S. citizen, was recently charged with two felony counts of Social Security identity fraud. He was arrested at the Portland airport Sunday as he tried to leave the country with his four children and his brother. Traces of explosives were found on two of Kariye's bags, according to a federal prosecutor.
Adlouni was one of about 250 "unindicted co-conspirators" in the federal prosecution of the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, a source involved in that case said. The Oregonian, citing an unnamed intelligence source, described Adlouni as "a person of interest" to the FBI terrorism task force.
Adlouni has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1988 and not been arrested or charged with a crime.
A well-spoken man, he has been a public face of Islam in Portland. He spoke at the Lake Oswego Rotary Club shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.
He was interviewed by the FBI in 1997. That was the year a fax was sent to Adlouni by Wadih el-Hage, one of Osama bin Laden's trusted aides. The seven-page fax, sent to two other Muslims in the United States, detailed the Taliban's activities in Afghanistan and its posture toward al-Qaida.
The civil engineer said that if he had broken any laws, he surely would have been swept up during the arrests of 1,500 mostly Arabic residents in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"I am a family man," he said. "I have been here for 20 years. I have given lectures to churches, to prisons, to synagogues on how we can achieve peace and understanding of each other. This is my main concern."
Adlouni worships at the Islamic Center of Portland, a large, gray, stone mosque. Yesterday, one of its leaders told a visiting reporter, "This tornado will pass."
The indictment of Kariye has upset his followers, many of them Somalis. They staged two demonstrations outside the federal courthouse here. Many of them believe the FBI has unfairly targeted Muslim residents.
"If there were any truth to these (news) reports, the government surely knows and would have acted upon them by now," the mosque said yesterday in a statement. "Simply dredging up tired and flimsy anecdotes in an attempt to scoop law enforcement and other media outlets, these reports yield no value for news, national security or community harmony; in fact, they harm us all."
Adlouni was a business associate of el-Hage, the former personal secretary for bin Laden. El-Hage is serving a life sentence for his part in the embassy bombings.
Records of telephone calls, faxes and bank-account transfers between el-Hage and Adlouni were presented in evidence at el-Hage's 2001 trial in New York.
One fax to Adlouni, sent by el-Hage in October 1996, requested donations for a drought-relief fund. Federal agents later determined the fund was a front to provide new identities for those involved in the U.S. embassy bombings.
Adlouni, under advice from his lawyer, would not answer specific questions yesterday about his contacts with el-Hage.
Adlouni worked as a Washington highway engineer from 1991 to 1998. Since then he has opened an import business, sold alcohol-free fragrances through his online company Muskcarrier, and produced a Muslim business directory. He and el-Hage also tried selling Tanzanite gem stones.
Adlouni was born in Lebanon and graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a civil-engineering degree.
He moved to Oregon in 1988 and later began working for the state Transportation Department on projects involving re-paving and making safety improvements in the southwest highways in Washington.
"Farid was a great guy," said Mike Clark, his former supervisor. "I recognized right away that he had good managerial skills and great leadership skills."
Adlouni was also deeply religious and had a small conference room set aside for daily prayers, Clark said, adding, "I realized he was strong in his faith; my impression was that his religion was more peace and harmony. He didn't push his religion on anybody."
Joshua Draytel, one of el-Hage's lawyers in the embassy-bombing trial, said evidence from both the prosecution and defense showed a legitimate relationship between bin Laden's former secretary and Adlouni.
"It was designed to earn both of them money," he said. "Unfortunately, it earned very little."
Draytel said that at one point Adlouni was subpoenaed as a defense witness for el-Hage, but he was not called to testify.
Federal investigators knew of Adlouni since 1997, Draytel said, and "as far as I know, he's cooperated with the government whenever it has asked him to."
Profiled?? PROFILED??? How DARE a newspaper PROFILE a Muslim terrorist!!
The LIARS!! The MEDIA HOUNDS!!! The RACISTS!!!!
OH (**wiping forehead**) my world tilted alarmingly there for a moment...I actually thought a news publication was doing some HONEST EXPOSE research. My world, sadly, tilts back in the other directen: now it's leaning back toward the left.
I remember the Bly Ranch-cum-camp. Righteous bust.
So Kariye was trying to LEAVE the country, huh? I was given to beleave he was coming back INTO the country when the dog hit on explosive residue on his luggage.
I hope the investigation of Adlouni is wraped up and he's charged soon.
All in all, an EXCELLENT piece. Spashing coffee on my face while reviving myself with water...err...splashing water on my face while reviving self with coffee...and holding onto my keyboard tray REALLY tight until the vertigo stops.
Verrrrrrrry interesting. Thanks.
I went to UT Arlington in the 70s and returned in '81 to finish my degree. There was a huge population of Middle Eastern students there.....a lot from Iraq in fact. I had an Iraqi roommate named Hadi for about 6 months or so, too.
I will do some digging on this and see what I can find out!
Ah'll be back !!
Via Google Search for Farid Adlouni I found this tidbit about his Muskcarrier business. Click on the link below (this snippet is about halfway down):
In search of saris or spices? Ethnic
Web sites hook immigrants to the Net
Some operators of immigrant-targeted sites say they have a larger motive than just selling their own products. Portland, Ore., engineer and entrepreneur Farid Adlouni hopes his online business, Muskcarrier, which imports alcohol-free Middle Eastern fragrances, will help many Muslim buyers become more comfortable with the Internet. Many, he said, are suspicious of the technology and what they see as inappropriate content on the Web.
"By providing these products, we're trying to attract people to really log on," Adlouni said.
I think that's about all there is on him via Google search. I'll see what I can find at UT-Arlington online.
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That may be all I can find on him, but I'll see what other links they might have.
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