Last month I revealed that the FBI Chicago field office had selected Hamas operative Kifah Mustapha to participate in a six-week Citizen Academy that included a tour of the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center and FBI Headquarters. Critics have noted that Mustapha had been de-certified as an Illinois State Police chaplain earlier this summer following a background check, and he had been named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in American history. Court records in that case showed that he had worked for at least six years and was paid more than $154,000 by the Holy Land Foundation, which was listed as a specially designated global terrorist group by the U.S. Treasury Department in December 2001.
For two days, the FBI headquarters told angry citizens who called to complain that my Big Peace article had been fabricated, and the photo I included of Kifah Mustapha standing in the lobby of the NCTC with the Citizen Academy group had been doctored. By week’s end, however, FBI Chicago field office spokesman admitted that the story was true and defended Mustapha’s inclusion in the program. He also reluctantly forwarded a full-sized copy of the group photo at the NCTC. FBI Director Robert Mueller doubled-down in defense of the Hamas operative’s participation in the program during a Q&A at a public event the following week.
It will be interesting to see how FBI Director Mueller will respond to the news that his Hamas homeboy Kifah Mustapha hosted a fundraiser for Hamas in his Chicago-area mosque a year before he was selected to participate in the Citizen Academy program. The Hamas fundraiser was held on July 3, 2009 at the Mosque Foundation, and featured former UK far-left politician George Galloway as the keynote speaker. The event was held to raise money for Galloway’s Viva Palestina blockade-busting convoy to Hamas-controlled Gaza.
That Galloway was raising money for Hamas was hardly a secret. Four months prior to his appearance with Mustapha at the Mosque Foundation, Galloway presented a bag of cash to Hamas social minister Ahmad Kurd – a designated global terrorist according to the U.S. government – live on Al-Jazeera. For defying international sanctions, terrorist Kurd called Galloway “a hero”. As a result, Canada banned Galloway from re-entering the country on “national security” grounds.
Galloway’s U.S. fundraising for Hamas also caught the attention of Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, who sent letters to Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman asking for an investigation into Viva Palestina’s activities.
Mustapha’s role in the July 2009 Hamas fundraiser isn’t in question either, as a picture posted on the Mosque Foundation’s own website documenting the event shows the FBI’s favorite Hamas operative sitting beside Galloway, who is speaking at the podium flanked by two bodyguards. The mosque event was first noticed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
Despite the FBI’s continued defense of including Kifah Mustapha in their Citizen Academy program, there are serious questions that have yet to be answered:
- How is it that Mustapha couldn’t pass a background investigation for the Illinois State Police, but could pass the same background check and obtain a temporary security clearance from the FBI to participate in the program in accordance with the rules posted on the FBI’s own website?
- How exactly could Mustapha receive a security clearance after being named unindicted co-conspirator by federal prosecutors in the Holy Land Foundation trial two years earlier?
- According to my follow-up report here at Big Peace, one homeland security official I spoke with said that “the plugs had to be pulled on our system” for Mustapha to be allowed entry into the top-secret NCTC. Who exactly pulled those plugs and why?
- And now we have to ask how was it that the FBI’s outreach partner could openly host a Hamas fundraiser – advertising such on the mosque’s website – and the FBI not be aware?
- Finally, will FBI Director Mueller continue to defend his agency’s association with Kifah Mustapha?
We here at Big Peace will continue to ask these questions. Hopefully, someone in Congress is asking the FBI the same questions.