Skip to comments.FBI reportedly didn't act on Ptech tips
Posted on 12/07/2002 2:05:40 AM PST by sarcasmEdited on 04/13/2004 2:08:40 AM PDT by Jim Robinson. [history]
A whistle-blower from Ptech Inc. told the Boston FBI in October 2001 that the company was being financially backed by Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman whose US assets were frozen after the Sept. 11 attacks amid allegations that he has funded terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda and Hamas, a Bush administration official and a former Clinton administration official involved in the case said yesterday.
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
UINCY - Two employees of the Quincy software company raided by federal investigators late Thursday have links to organizations previously suspected of terrorist connections.
Suheil Laher, an MIT-trained engineer at Ptech Inc., is the president of Boston-based Care International Inc., an Islamic charity that was investigated last year for possible links with Brooklyn-based al-Kifah Refugee Center, believed to be the site where the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center was plotted, according to published reports.
A second Ptech employee, Hussein Ibrahim, a vice president and chief scientist, was a vice president of BMI Inc., a defunct Islamic bank based in Secaucus, N.J. Federal officials believed BMI had ties to Yasin al-Qadi, a Saudi businessman with suspected connections to Osama bin Laden.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, the Treasury Department labeled Qadi a ''designated global terrorist.'' Qadi has denied being linked to terrorism.
Ptech, which sells software to the FBI, Air Force, and Navy, was searched Thursday and yesterday by agents from the US Customs Service, FBI, and Internal Revenue Service. Officials were looking for links to Qadi.
Ptech's chief executive, Oussama Ziade, denied yesterday the company or any of its employees had ties to terrorist organizations. ''Ptech is a real company ... We're basically very shocked by what is going on,'' said Ziade.
Laher, reached at his Quincy home yesterday, acknowledged he had been interviewed by the FBI following the Sept. 11 attacks but he said the interview had nothing to do with Care International. He said he doesn't believe his involvement with the organization has any connection with Thursday's raid. ''Right after Sept. 11, the FBI interviewed a lot of Muslims and a lot of community leaders, and they came to me in that capacity,'' Laher said. ''They didn't ask me anything about Care ... I'm quite shocked. To my knowledge, everybody there has been working in a professional manner.''
The FBI yesterday declined to comment on the nature and extent of any investigation into Care International.
Asim Ghafoor, a spokesman for Care International, said, ''As far as I know, there is no link, and if the government thinks there is a link, we'd like to see what they have.''
He said Care International's assets were never frozen by federal investigators, as were those of dozens of other Islamic charities suspected of terrorist ties after Sept. 11.
Bilal Zuberi, a graduate student at MIT, where Laher serves as a Muslim chaplain, said he would not describe Laher as a religious extremist.
''His understanding of religion is open-minded,'' said Zuberi. ''He's been a speaker at several events encouraging interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims on campus.''
Little is known about Ibrahim. He was employed at BMI from 1989 to 1995. Records show he was employed by Ptech in 1997. BMI financed computers and equipment for Ptech, according to state incorporation records. The Globe was unable to contact Ibrahim.
Joseph Johnson, vice president of professional services at Ptech, said Qadi had no recent connections to the software company but acknowleged he could have been connected to the company in some capacity nine years ago, the Associated Press reported.
''There isn't anything going on here,'' Johnson said. ''We're a small software company. What we do doesn't give us access to information that is top secret.''
Meanwhile, residents in the tony Quincy neighborhood where Ziade lives expressed disbelief that the quiet businessman's company was raided. ''I am shocked,'' said Eileen Walsh, who has lived next door to Ziade for six years.
''I know he never spoke to me,'' said Walsh. ''When I came outside, he'd leave immediately.''
Walsh's husband, Martin, said he often chatted with Ziade as they worked around their respective houses. ''After Sept. 11 he asked if any of my family was hurt,'' Martin said. ''He said that was a horrible, horrible thing.''
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