Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

NY Imam Jailed On Wiretap

Expand Messages
  • World View
    NY: SECRECY REMAINS MAJOR ISSUE IN MOSQUE CASE MICHAEL VIRTANEN, Associated Press, 3/2/06
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      NY: SECRECY REMAINS MAJOR ISSUE IN MOSQUE CASE
      MICHAEL VIRTANEN, Associated Press, 3/2/06
      http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--mosqueraid-secrec0302mar02,0,1713276.story


      ALBANY, N.Y. -- Almost 18 months after two members of an Albany mosque
      were arrested in an FBI anti-terrorism sting, the issue of federal
      secrecy remains unresolved, further complicated by recent allegations
      that warrantless wiretaps were used to gather evidence.

      U.S. District Judge Thomas McAvoy scheduled a hearing March 24 in
      Binghamton on pretrial motions, including bail reconsideration for
      Muslim cleric Yassin Aref and the Justice Department's reply on the
      use of wiretaps.

      "The interesting first question is: Did you conduct warrantless
      wiretaps? If the answer to that is no, it's over," said Kevin
      Luibrand, attorney for co-defendant Mohammed Hossain. "It's a very
      easy question to answer to get us off this hump. That's why I think
      the answer is yes."

      Aref and Hossain are accused of laundering money in 2003-2004 for an
      FBI informant, a Pakistani businessman posing as an arms dealer.
      Neither is accused of actual violence.

      Defense attorneys want the charges thrown out, or at least any
      evidence obtained from phone taps without court warrants, arguing that
      would have violated their clients' constitutional rights against
      unreasonable searches.

      The National Security Agency's warrantless wiretap program was
      disclosed publicly Dec. 16 by The New York Times. President Bush and
      Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have defended it as necessary
      eavesdropping on incoming calls from suspected terrorists abroad
      beginning sometime after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. They
      have declined to disclose any details.

      Assistant U.S. Attorney William Pericek said he has forwarded the
      Albany wiretap query to the Justice Department Counterterrorism
      Section and the deputy attorney general. In a letter to the judge last
      month, Pericek cited "the novelty of the issue," which has been raised
      in other cases, and the need to coordinate with other agencies. He
      requested a two-week delay, promising a reply by March 10.

      The New York Civil Liberties Union asked to participate, saying it has
      been involved "in a number of cases ... presenting questions about the
      lawfulness of extraordinary measures taken by the federal government
      in the aftermath of 9/11." Acknowledging it opposes the warrantless
      wiretap program, the NYCLU said its expertise can help sort out the
      complex legal issues.

      In a brief Wednesday, Pericek argued the NYCLU filed too late and has
      nothing different to offer from the defense lawyers.

      Meanwhile, prosecutors have repeatedly invoked the Classified
      Information Procedures Act in asking McAvoy to shield certain
      documents, saying disclosure would compromise national security.
      Defense attorneys Luibrand and Terence Kindlon say they, too, have
      been kept in the dark, even though both are U.S. military veterans and
      have security clearances.

      Prosecutors say all pertinent evidence will be in the record, that the
      case was a sting where suspects agreed to participate in a crime, and
      authorities are merely shielding sensitive background that led to the
      evidence.

      Prosecutors recently got another extension until March 16 to file more
      sealed documents with the judge arguing against disclosures.

      Bail was revoked in the fall for Aref, 35, imam of Masjid as-Salam in
      Albany. Co-defendant Hossain, 50, an Albany pizzeria owner and mosque
      member, remains free on bond. They have denied charges they conspired
      to provide support to Jaish-e-Mohammed, a Pakistan-based group listed
      by the federal government as a terrorist organization.

      U.S. Magistrate Judge David Homer concluded Sept. 30, in revoking his
      bail, that Aref "espouses and has adopted the goals of terrorist
      organizations." That was when prosecutors presented Aref's diary
      entries from 1999, shortly before he reached the U.S. as a refugee
      from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq.

      Kindlon argued that prosecutors "artfully" created that false
      impression with diary excerpts that recorded the views of some people
      Aref had met while working for the political group Islamic Movement in
      Kurdistan.

      *********************************************************************

      WORLD VIEW NEWS SERVICE

      To subscribe to this group, send an email to:
      wvns-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

      NEWS ARCHIVE IS OPEN TO PUBLIC VIEW
      http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/wvns/
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.