22 December 2002

Saddam Hussein: If I can't have Iraq, no one can.

Rumours that Saddam will destroy Iraq if the US invades, via Daimnation!.
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Willful incompetence at the FBI

The FBI unvestigating as detailed by Midwest Conservative Journal.

ABC News has a devastating story on the FBI’s unbelievable unwillingness to pursue terrorist investigations too far in the mid 1990’s:

In the mid-1990s, with growing terrorism in the Middle East, the two Chicago-based agents were assigned to track a connection to Chicago, a suspected terrorist cell that would later lead them to a link with Osama bin Laden. Wright says that when he pressed for authorization to open a criminal investigation into the money trail, his supervisor stopped him.

“Do you know what his response was? ‘I think it’s just better to let sleeping dogs lie,’” said Wright. “Those dogs weren’t sleeping. They were training. They were getting ready.”

The FBI seemed determined not to find anything:

The suspected terrorist cell in Chicago was the basis of the investigation, yet Wright, who remains with the FBI, says he soon discovered that all the FBI intelligence division wanted him to do was to follow suspected terrorists and file reports — but make no arrests.

“The supervisor who was there from headquarters was right straight across from me and started yelling at me: ‘You will not open criminal investigations. I forbid any of you. You will not open criminal investigations against any of these intelligence subjects,’” Wright said.

Even though they were on a terrorism task force and said they had proof of criminal activity, Wright said he was told not to pursue the matter.

In 1998 al Qaeda terrorists bombed two American embassies in Africa. The agents say some of the money for the attacks led back to the people they had been tracking in Chicago and to a powerful Saudi Arabian businessman, Yassin al-Kadi. Al-Kadi is one of 12 Saudi businessmen suspected of funneling millions of dollars to al Qaeda and who had extensive business and financial ties in Chicago.

Yet, even after the bombings, Wright said FBI headquarters wanted no arrests.

“Two months after the embassies are hit in Africa, they wanted to shut down the criminal investigation,” said Wright. “They wanted to kill it.”

A move which angered the Chicago federal prosecutor at the time:

The move outraged Chicago federal prosecutor Mark Flessner, who was assigned to the case despite efforts Wright and Vincent say were made by superiors to block the probe. Flessner said Wright and Vincent were helping him build a strong criminal case against al-Kadi and others.

“There were powers bigger than I was in the Justice Department and within the FBI that simply were not going to let it [the building of a criminal case] happen. And it didn’t happen, ” Flessner said.

He said he still couldn’t figure out why Washington stopped the case — whether it was Saudi influence or bureaucratic ineptitude.

And this is too incredible to believe:

Perhaps most astounding of the many mistakes, according to Flessner and an affidavit filed by Wright, is how an FBI agent named Gamal Abdel-Hafiz seriously damaged the investigation. Wright says Abdel-Hafiz, who is Muslim, refused to secretly record one of al-Kadi’s suspected associates, who was also Muslim. Wright says Abdel-Hafiz told him, Vincent and other agents that “a Muslim doesn’t record another Muslim.”

“He wouldn’t have any problems interviewing or recording somebody who wasn’t a Muslim, but he could never record another Muslim,” said Vincent.

Surely this Abdel-Hafiz was called on the carpet, right? Uh…no:

Wright said he “was floored” by Abdel-Hafiz’s refusal and immediately called the FBI headquarters. Their reaction surprised him even more: “The supervisor from headquarters says, ‘Well, you have to understand where he’s coming from, Bob.’ I said no, no, no, no, no. I understand where I’m coming from,” said Wright. “We both took the same damn oath to defend this country against all enemies foreign and domestic, and he just said no? No way in hell.”

Far from being reprimanded, Abdel-Hafiz was promoted to one of the FBI’s most important anti-terrorism posts [emphasis added], the American Embassy in Saudi Arabia, to handle investigations for the FBI in that Muslim country.

Which might be why investigations there have gone so slowly. Hitting for the incompetence cycle, the FBI claims ignorance:

The FBI said it was unaware of the allegations against the Muslim agent when he was sent to Saudi Arabia or of two similar incidents described to ABCNEWS by agents in New York and Tampa, Fla. They said Abdel-Hafiz contributed significantly to many successful terror investigations.

And lies through its teeth:

In a statement to ABCNEWS, the FBI also defended the agent, saying he had a right to refuse because the undercover recording was supposed to take place in a mosque.

But former prosecutor Flessner said that was a lie and the mosque was never part of the plan.

“What he [Abdel-Hafiz] said was, it was against his religion to record another Muslim. I was dumbfounded by that response,” said Flessner. “And I had perfectly appropriate conversations with the supervisors of his home office and nothing came of it.”

Is there any truth to the charges made by these agents? Apparently:

The White House confirmed their fears. One month after the attacks, the U.S. government officially identified al-Kadi — the same man the FBI had ordered Wright and Vincent to leave alone years earlier — as one of bin Laden’s important financiers.

Just not serious.

Posted by orbital at 5:28 PM