View Full Version : Terror allegations disappear from court filing

06-10-2005, 03:57 PM
Terror allegations disappear from court filing

Different affidavit in Lodi father-son case given to media than used for court.

By Tom Regan (http://www.csmonitor.com/cgi-bin/encryptmail.pl?ID=D4EFEDA0D2E5E7E1EEA0ADA0E2F9ECE9 EEE5) | csmonitor.com

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Federal Bureau of Invesigation apparently gave the media a different, far more damaging version (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2002324463_terror10.html) of an affidavit against a Lodi, California father and son charged with lying to federal officials than the one that was finally given to a court in Sacramento Thursday.

The affidavit filed Thursday did not contain any of the sensation material from earlier in the week which said the son's "potential terrorist targets included hospitals and groceries, and contained names of key individuals and statements about the international origins of 'hundreds' of participants in alleged Al Qaeda terrorist training camps in Pakistan." Attorneys for the two men now say they will challenge the government on this discrepancy, which they say as a deliberate move by the FBI to prejudice the case against their clients. Defense attorney Johnny Griffin III, who represents the father, Umer Hayat, accused the government of "releasing information it knew it could not authenticate." The FBI said the different versions were the result of "unfortunate oversight due to miscommunication."

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the son, Hamid Hayat, first came to the attention (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0610/p01s01-usgn.html) of the FBI on May 29.
Authorities discovered that his name was on the US government's 'no fly' list while he was en route from South Korea to San Francisco. Such lists, used by the Department of Homeland Security, include names of suspected terrorists culled from confiscated computers in terrorist raids world wide.USA Today reported Thursday that the FBI says it is "looking for terror connections (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-06-09-terror-calif_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA)" between the father and son and three other individuals (including two imams) from the same area who were arrested for immigration violations.
FBI Agent John Cauthen said numerous federal and local investigators are conducting interviews and examining evidence seized during searches of homes and property. "The investigation, at this point, consists of identifying and nailing down the connections between the people in custody and anyone else," Cauthen said..

The Washington Post reports that the FBI insists that "[its] work in the farming town has been going on for years (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/10/AR2005061000361_2.html) – and it's not over yet." Agent Cauthen made this remark after "some members of Lodi's large Pakistani community that the probe was triggered by a rift between fundamentalist and mainstream factions.." The Hayats are apparently members of a group with more "traditional Islamic values" while the imams who belong to a group "seeking greater cooperation and understanding from the larger community." Meanwhile the Post and others also reports on the missteps that led the FBI to miss the 9/11 hijackers (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/09/AR2005060902000.html). The report (http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/0506/final.pdf) (pdf) by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said the FBI missed at least five chances to "detect the presence of two of the suicide hijackers – Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar – after they first entered the United States in early 2000."
'We believe that widespread and longstanding deficiencies in the FBI's operations and Counterterrorism Program caused the problems we described in this report,' Fine's investigators wrote, including a shoddy analytical program, problems sharing intelligence information and 'the lack of priority given to counterterrorism investigations by the FBI before September 11.'The FBI said in a statement that it had taken steps to address many of the issues raised in the report. But Jamie S. Gorelick, a member of the 9/11 commissiom, which focused primarily on missteps by the CIA, said the "litany of reports documenting FBI problems in recent months 'has to be a wake-up call' for Director Robert S. Mueller III and other FBI officials." The FBI arrests in Lodi come at the same time that the Patriot Act is being debated again in the Congress. The Bush administration and the FBI have asked for new powers (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/06/10/MNGB7D6JMJ1.DTL) to be added to the Act.

The Los Angeles Times reports that in a speech yesterday asking for the Patriot Act to be made permanent, President Bush said that since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, "federal terrorism investigations have resulted in charges against more than 400 suspects (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-patriot10jun10,0,7129955.story?coll=la-home-headlines), and more than half of those charged have been convicted."

But the American Civil Liberties Union challenged Mr. Bush's numbers, citing a study done by Syracuse University that showed the "vast majority" of the 400 cases were for minor, non-terrorism offenses." Lisa Graves, an ACLU senior counsel, said the study showed that most of those arrested "posed such little threat to national security that most served no jail time."