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FBI WON'T GIVE FILE TO DOCTOR CLEARED OF TERRORIST TIES

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  • ummyakoub
    FBI WON T GIVE FILE TO DOCTOR CLEARED OF TERRORIST TIES Torsten Ove, Post-Gazette, 8/21/03 http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03233/213412.stm FBI won t give file
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2003
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      FBI WON'T GIVE FILE TO DOCTOR CLEARED OF TERRORIST TIES
      Torsten Ove, Post-Gazette, 8/21/03
      http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/03233/213412.stm

      FBI won't give file to doctor questioned, cleared of terrorist ties
      after Sept. 11 attacks

      U.S. says file about former New Castle area resident holds classified
      data

      Thursday, August 21, 2003

      By Torsten Ove, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

      An FBI file on an Egyptian-born radiologist initially suspected of
      having terrorist ties and later cleared will not be turned over to
      his lawyer as part of a civil suit because it contains "classified
      information" about the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

      U.S. Magistrate Francis Caiazza quashed a subpoena this week from a
      lawyer demanding the government release the file on his client, Dr.
      Basem Moustafa Hussein, who most recently was living in Coraopolis.

      On Sept. 11, 2001, FBI agents searched Hussein's apartment near New
      Castle after his landlord said she saw "suspicious" items there.

      Authorities exonerated Hussein a few weeks later, but he sued the
      landlord. As part of that lawsuit, his lawyer, Craig Fishman, wanted
      the FBI to hand over its files on the investigation, but the agency
      refused.

      In court papers, the U.S. attorney's office in Pittsburgh and the FBI
      said the file would reveal secret information, including the identity
      of a "confidential source."

      In a letter to Fishman in the spring, Pittsburgh FBI Chief Division
      Counsel Jeff Killeen said releasing details about the investigation
      could "interfere with enforcement proceedings -- including, but not
      limited to, one case related to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, that is
      proceeding to trial later this year."

      That case involves Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called "20th hijacker"
      who is the only person facing trial in a U.S. court for conspiring to
      carry out the Sept. 11 attacks.

      The FBI file on Hussein has been turned over to the Moussaoui defense
      team as part of the discovery process in that case. Assistant U.S.
      Attorney Paul Brysh in Pittsburgh said prosecutors can't comment on
      the contents.

      Mary E. Galligan, an FBI assistant inspector and lead investigator
      on "PENTTBOM," the code name for the Sept. 11 probe, said in court
      documents that releasing the file would show how the FBI has been
      conducting investigations.

      "The information contained in these files, if released to the
      plaintiff or the public, could jeopardize ongoing and possible future
      counterterrorism investigations by alerting individuals they are of
      interest to the FBI," she wrote.

      Fishman couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.

      Hussein's lawsuit blames Sherri Lynn Wilson, his former apartment
      manager, and her employer, Universal Development Management Inc. of
      Ohio, for all of his problems.

      Within hours of the Sept. 11 attacks, Wilson walked into Hussein's
      unit in Neshannock Township, saw items that she thought were
      suspicious and called state police. The FBI arrived and searched the
      apartment based on an affidavit prepared by Special Agent Denise
      Valentine.

      Hussein said he was questioned repeatedly, lost his job in New Mexico
      and was evicted from his apartment before the U.S. attorney's office
      exonerated him. He said Egyptian police also ransacked his parents'
      apartment in Egypt at the request of U.S. authorities, causing
      $200,000 in damage.

      Hussein's lawsuit says Wilson started the whole thing by mistaking a
      computer game for terrorist plans. Wilson told authorities she
      saw "an expensive computer," a flight manual for a Boeing 737 and a
      compact disc jacket that showed a jetliner blowing up in the sky.

      Hussein said the manual was an instruction booklet for a computer
      game and the CD jacket was part of the package for it.

      The FBI is not party to the lawsuit, but Fishman said he needed to
      depose Valentine and review the information that led to her search
      warrant affidavit. He said he also wanted any information about a
      videotape Wilson said she saw called "How to Make a Bomb."

      After Killeen rebuffed him, Fishman sent the FBI the subpoena. The
      FBI did eventually turn over some documents, such as its interviews
      of Hussein, notes and an inventory of items taken in the search, but
      agents kept the other documents related to the investigation.

      Hussein couldn't be reached yesterday, but after his exoneration in
      2001 he said he was relieved.

      "They asked a lot of biographical information," he said then. "We
      went into whether I knew certain individuals and whether I am a
      member of al-Qaida. I haven't been involved in supporting any
      activity or funding any activity like that or even conversing with
      anyone about committing such a thing. I am innocent."

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      (Torsten Ove can be reached at tove@... or 412-263-2620.)

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