(UPDATE: This afternoon, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson confirmed to Fox News that Mustapha’s tour of the NCTC did in fact happen, confirming our initial report, but defended including him in the FBI Citizen Academy program, saying that “he’s a prominent figure in the community.”)
Following an ACT for America email sent to its 150,000 member list earlier this week linking to my Big Peace article from Monday about a known Hamas operative – Kifah Mustapha – who was escorted on a VIP tour of the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI training facility at Quantico earlier this month as part of a FBI Citizen Academy, apparently hundreds of ACT members who called the FBI’s Washington D.C. headquarters were told the that the Big Peace article was “totally fabricated” and that the accompanying photo had been “doctored”.
The folks at ACT for America have provided me at least a dozen emails from supporters recounting this same story of contacting the FBI – that my report was fabricated and the photo of Kifah Mustapha at the NCTC was doctored. After they began receiving those reports from their members yesterday, one ACT staff member who I spoke with this morning contacted the FBI-HQ and received the same story.
Photo of Hamas operative Sheikh Kifah Mustapha (front row, second on left) touring the National Counterterrorism Center on September 14th provided to Big Peace by FBI Chicago Field Office spokesman yesterday (resized from hi-res photo), which FBI-HQ claims is doctored.
There’s just one problem (several actually): not only did FBI Special Agent Ross Rice of the Chicago field office confirm for me yesterday Mustapha’s participation in the NCTC and Quantico tours, but Rice also provided me a high-resolution copy of the photo of the group, including Mustapha, at the NCTC in question (resized version above). Initially, Rice denied having a copy of any of the photos for the trip, but he coughed it up when I noted that the ABC7 report credited it as a FBI photo. I understand that my Big Peace colleague Christine Brim also conducted several interviews with Special Agent Rice yesterday confirming Kifah Mustapha’s participation in the NCTC/Quantico tour and will be posting audio and/or video from those interviews here shortly.
Additionally, we have the first-hand account of ABC7-Chicago anchor Ben Bradley who traveled with the group on the tour and was part of the FBI Citizen Academy. In fact, the image used in my initial article, which FBI-HQ now claims was doctored, was taken straight from the ABC7 website. Bradley’s ABC7 colleague, Chuck Goudie, even published an article in a Chicago-area newspaper earlier this month making exactly the same point I made – that a Hamas operative who was de-certified as a chaplain by the Illinois State Police earlier this year for his terrorist ties was now being embraced by the FBI Chicago Field Office (the trip to the NCTC and Quantico hadn’t occurred yet).
Thus, the FBI-HQ’s claims that my Big Peace article was “fabricated” and the picture included in that report was “doctored” has put the bureau in an even more precarious position: they must also admit that their own FBI Chicago spokesman is lying, along with ABC7 news anchor Ben Bradley who says he was part of the NCTC tour FBI-HQ says never happened. Furthermore, they now have to charge Special Agent Ross Rice with circulating a doctored photo, which he not only provided to ABC7, but also to me yesterday.
The truth is, obviously, that the FBI-HQ itself is lying through their teeth in a desperate attempt to avoid dealing with a rightfully outraged public over this stunning breach of one of our most secure counterterrorism facilities by a terrorist operative identified as such by the FBI. As I reported earlier today, one Homeland Security official told me yesterday that “the plugs had to be pulled from our system” in order for Mustapha’s visit to happen, since as this official claimed, “the NCTC has Kifah Mustapha on the highest watch list we have.”
There is a fallback position the FBI seems to be preparing in response, claiming that Kifah Mustapha really isn’t a Hamas operative. That is what FBI Chicago spokesman Ross Rice told me yesterday. When I pointed out that Mustapha had been named by federal prosecutors (again, this the FBI and DOJ we’re talking about) as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial, Rice responded “among a thousand other people.” Well, actually it wasn’t even remotely close to that. “He has never been charged with any crime,” he huffed. In those court documents Mustapha was specifically identified as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, which they say was formed to raise money for Hamas and “committed to the globalization of Islam and violent jihad.”
Special Agent Rice apparently isn’t aware of what being named an unindicted co-conspirator actually means. It’s a special legal definition based on the fact that there is sufficient evidence that the individual or organization named could be charged, but so far hasn’t, in order to allow certain hearsay testimony to be introduced at trial.
And isn’t it a bit odd for a FBI official to excuse this whole affair by saying that Mustapha hasn’t been charged with any crime, when by listing his as an unindicted co-conspirator they have told a federal judge that sufficient evidence exists to charge him? Is it the practice of the FBI and DOJ to name perfectly innocent people as unindicted co-conspirators?
This is the bizarro world we live in when it comes to the U.S. government’s outreach to the Muslim community, which I observed here earlier today is marked repeatedly by utter failure. By giving Hamas operative Kifah Mustapha an all-access VIP tour of the NCTC and the FBI training facility at Quantico, they have let the proverbial Hamas fox into the counterterrorism hen-house.
That FBI-HQ would flagrantly lie to an outraged public in the face of contradicting testimony by their own Chicago-based spokesman and a first-hand news report, rather than admit that their Muslim outreach programs are a complete disaster and our homeland security system is completely broken down, should prompt some kind of congressional investigation. Heads should roll as the lives of American citizens are at risk. If terrorist operatives can continue to penetrate our most sensitive institutions and agencies without the slightest inquiry from our elected representatives, there is little room for hope.
You can contact your Congressman and US Senators and let them know your thoughts on this matter through the Capitol Hill Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.