Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #467 Fifth Column, Part IV

Record­ed July 4, 2004
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You can’t fool Grover Norquist

Intro­duc­tion: This pro­gram presents more infor­ma­tion about a Fifth Col­umn that Mr. Emory believes facil­i­tat­ed the 9/11 attacks. One of the prin­ci­pal ele­ments in the devel­op­ment of this Fifth Col­umn is GOP king­mak­er Grover Norquist’s active recruit­ment of Islamists to the Repub­li­can cause. Many of Norquist’s Islamist recruits had ter­ror­ist ties. Among the Norquist recruits is Faisal Gill, whose sen­si­tive posi­tion with the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty places him in pos­ses­sion of top-secret infor­ma­tion about the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of America’s sea­ports, avi­a­tion facil­i­ties and nuclear pow­er plants. Gill, in turn, is linked to Abdu­rah­man Alam­ou­di, part of the Al Taqwa milieu impli­cat­ed in the financ­ing of Al Qae­da. Gill’s appoint­ment is all the more alarm­ing in light of his appar­ent lack of intel­li­gence qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Much of the pro­gram is devot­ed to fur­ther scruti­ny of Ptech—a soft­ware firm that devel­oped threat-assess­ment soft­ware for both the Air Force and the FAA. Ptech may also be part of the Fifth Col­umn for which the pro­gram is titled.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Infor­ma­tion that indi­cates that Islamists did indeed work to estab­lish a Fifth Col­umn in the U.S. in order to gain access to sen­si­tive intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion; review of the sig­nif­i­cance of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in the ter­ror­ist cos­mol­o­gy; dis­cus­sion of the rela­tion­ship between Ptech and indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions under inves­ti­ga­tion in con­nec­tion with ter­ror­ism; the rela­tion­ship between BMI (involved in the for­ma­tion of Ptech) and Al Taqwa; con­nec­tions between BMI and Abdul­lah bin Laden (under inves­ti­ga­tion in con­nec­tion with ter­ror­ism); the Bush administration’s evac­u­a­tion of Abdul­lah bin Laden in the imme­di­ate after­math of the 9/11 attacks; links between BMI founder Soli­man Biheiri and Al Taqwa; links between Ptech and Yaqub Mirza (at the cen­ter of the insti­tu­tions involved in the 3/20/2002 Green Quest raids); indi­ca­tions that Ptech per­son­nel had access to FAA head­quar­ters for a peri­od of two years; sus­pi­cious behav­ior by BMI founder Biheiri in the imme­di­ate after­math of 9/11; review of the FBI’s frus­tra­tion of Oper­a­tion Green Quest; more detailed exam­i­na­tion of the back­ground of Pak­isani Air Force offi­cers killed in the crash that took the life of (alleged) Al Qae­da col­lab­o­ra­tor Mushaf Ali Mir (the head of the Pak­istani Air Force); the res­ig­na­tion of a key infor­ma­tion ana­lyst for the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty the same day that Oper­a­tion Green Quest was for­mal­ly elim­i­nat­ed as an inde­pen­dent task force name.

1. Begin­ning with more infor­ma­tion about the Islamists asso­ci­at­ed with GOP king­mak­er Grover Norquist, the pro­gram high­lights the appoint­ment of Faisal Gill—a Norquist protégé—to a sen­si­tive intel­li­gence posi­tion with the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty. Note that Gill, in turn, is close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Abdu­rah­man Alam­ou­di, an inti­mate of the Al Taqwa milieu. “The pol­i­cy direc­tor for the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s intel­li­gence divi­sion was briefly removed from his job in March when the Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion dis­cov­ered he had failed to dis­close his asso­ci­a­tion with Abdu­rah­man Alam­ou­di, a jailed Amer­i­can Mus­lim leader. Alam­ou­di was indict­ed last year on ter­ror­ism-relat­ed mon­ey-laun­der­ing charges and now claims to have been part of a plot to assas­si­nate Sau­di Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdul­lah.” (“How Secure is the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty?” by Mary Jaco­by; Salon.com; 6/22/2004; p. 1; accessed at: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/06/22/gill/print.html .)

2. It is fright­en­ing to note the infor­ma­tion to which Gill’s appoint­ment has giv­en him access. “After a flur­ry of inter­a­gency meet­ings, how­ev­er, Home­land Secu­ri­ty decid­ed to leave the pol­i­cy direc­tor, Faisal Gill, in place, accord­ing to two gov­ern­ment offi­cials with knowl­edge of the Alam­ou­di inves­ti­ga­tion. A White House polit­i­cal appointee with close ties to Repub­li­can pow­er bro­ker Grover Norquist and no appar­ent back­ground in intel­li­gence, Gill has access to top-secret infor­ma­tion on the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of America’s sea­ports, avi­a­tion facil­i­ties and nuclear pow­er plants to ter­ror­ist attacks. [Empha­sis added.]” (Ibid.; pp. 1–2.)

3. “The FBI raised con­cerns with Home­land Secu­ri­ty offi­cials in March after dis­cov­er­ing that Gill had failed to list on secu­ri­ty clear­ance doc­u­ments his work in 2001 with the Amer­i­can Mus­lim coun­cil, the offi­cials said. The advo­ca­cy group, which was con­trolled by Alam­ou­di, has been under scruti­ny in an inves­ti­ga­tion of ter­ror­ism financ­ing. The lead agent in that inves­ti­ga­tion works for an arm of Home­land Secu­ri­ty. Gill’s omis­sion of the infor­ma­tion on his ‘Stan­dard Form 86’ nation­al secu­ri­ty ques­tion­naire is a poten­tial felony vio­la­tion. There is no evi­dence, how­ev­er, that Gill has tak­en any action to com­pro­mise nation­al secu­ri­ty.” (Ibid.; p. 2.)

4. “A Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty spokes­woman would not com­ment on Gill or when he was hired, except to say that a ‘thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion’ by the department’s Office of Secu­ri­ty found no basis to deny the 32-year-old lawyer a secu­ri­ty clear­ance. Among gill’s polit­i­cal patrons is Grover Norquist, head of Amer­i­cans for Tax Reform and a key ally of the White House. Gill list­ed Norquist as a ref­er­ence on employ­ment doc­u­ments, the gov­ern­ment offi­cials said. Gill also worked in 2001 for a Mus­lim polit­i­cal out­reach orga­ni­za­tion that Norquist co-found­ed with a for­mer top aide to Alam­ou­di. [That is the Islam­ic Institute—D.E.] Norquist did not respond to phone calls, a fax and an e‑mail seek­ing com­ment. . . .” (Idem.)

5. “Mark Zaid, a lawyer in pri­vate prac­tice in Wash­ing­ton who spe­cial­izes in secu­ri­ty clear­ance cas­es, said it would be unusu­al for an agency to over­look omis­sions on a secu­ri­ty clear­ance appli­ca­tion. ‘Most agen­cies get real­ly upset and sus­pi­cious and act antag­o­nis­ti­cal­ly toward appli­cants if they find they with­held infor­ma­tion,’ he said, adding that a minor vio­la­tion might be for­giv­en. But he said if the issue con­cerned fail­ing to list employ­ment at ‘a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion or one that’s being inves­ti­gat­ed, all sorts of red flags would go up.’ Gill’s place­ment in the sen­si­tive intel­li­gence job has alarmed gov­ern­ment offi­cials because it fits the oper­at­ing the­o­ry of pros­e­cu­tors and inves­ti­ga­tors that Alam­ou­di was part of a long-term scheme by Islam­ic extrem­ists to place friend­ly, if per­haps unwit­ting, asso­ciates in key U.S. gov­ern­ment posi­tions.” (Ibid.; pp. 2–3.)

6. Doc­u­ments seized from Sami Al-Ari­an indi­cate that the Fifth Col­umn about which Mr. Emory has hypoth­e­sized in con­nec­tion with 9/11 was indeed con­tem­plat­ed by peo­ple tar­get­ed by the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002. (Alam­ou­di and Al-Ari­an are part of the milieu tar­get­ed in those raids. For more about Al-Ari­an, see—among oth­er programs—FTRs 406, 462, 464.) “A doc­u­ment seized in a 1995 raid of a close Alam­ou­di friend and polit­i­cal ally, for­mer Uni­ver­si­ty of South Flori­da pro­fes­sor Sami Al-Ari­an, out­lined a plan to ‘infil­trate the sen­si­tive intel­li­gence agen­cies or the embassies in order to col­lect infor­ma­tion and build close rela­tion­ships with the peo­ple in charge of these estab­lish­ments.’ The unsigned doc­u­ment, which author­i­ties believe was authored by Al-Ari­an in part because it was found among his papers, added: ‘We are in the cen­ter which leads the con­spir­a­cy against our Islam­ic world . . . Our pres­ence in North Amer­i­ca gives us a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty to mon­i­tor, explore and fol­low up.’ It instruct­ed mem­bers of the ‘cen­ter,’ thought to refer to an Islam­ic think tank that Al-Ari­an found­ed, to ‘col­lect infor­ma­tion from those rel­a­tives and friends who work in sen­si­tive posi­tions in gov­ern­ment.’ [Empha­sis added.]” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

7. “Al-Ari­an is in a Flori­da prison await­ing tri­al next year on charges he was the North Amer­i­can leader of the Pales­tin­ian Islam­ic Jihad, a group that has tar­get­ed Israel with sui­cide bomb­ings. He denies all the charges. But inves­ti­ga­tors believe Al-Ari­an and Alam­ou­di were part of a broad­er polit­i­cal Islam­ic move­ment in the Unit­ed States that con­nects sym­pa­thiz­ers of Hamas, Islam­ic Jihad and al-Qai­da.” (Idem.)

8. The arti­cle pre­sent­ed here reviews the sig­nif­i­cance of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in the con­text of the events of 9/11. “This move­ment, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, is the umbrel­la under which ter­ror groups have forged ‘a sig­nif­i­cant degree of coop­er­a­tion and coor­di­na­tion with­in our bor­ders,’ for­mer White House coun­tert­er­ror­ism chief Richard Clarke told the Sen­ate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee last year. ‘The com­mon link here is the extrem­ist Mus­lim Brotherhood—all of these orga­ni­za­tions are descen­dants of the mem­ber­ship and ide­ol­o­gy of the Mus­lim Broth­ers.’ Alam­ou­di, for exam­ple, has spo­ken open­ly of his admi­ra­tion for the anti-Israeli Hamas, which evolved from a branch of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. Al-Arian’s cir­cle of asso­ciates, mean­while, over­laps with mem­bers of the Brook­lyn, N.Y., pre­cur­sor to al-Qai­da that was respon­si­ble for the 1993 World Trade Cen­ter bomb­ing.” (Idem.)

9. “The ties among Alam­ou­di, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and Gill help explain why offi­cials are con­cerned about whether Gill was ade­quate­ly vet­ted. These rela­tion­ships are dif­fi­cult to under­stand with­out immer­sion in the indict­ments, court tran­scripts and case exhibits; the con­cerned offi­cials said they fear that busy polit­i­cal oper­a­tives in the admin­is­tra­tion sim­ply do not grasp the nation­al-secu­ri­ty issues at stake. ‘There’s an over­all denial in the admin­is­tra­tion that the agen­da being pushed by Norquist might be a prob­lem,’ one offi­cial said. ‘It’s so absurd that a Grover Norquist per­son could even be close to some­thing like this. That’s real­ly what’s so insid­i­ous.’” (Idem.)

10. It is worth not­ing that some of the mod­er­ates involved in Alamoudi’s AMC (for which Gill was a spokesman) came to be sus­pi­cious of aspects of the organization’s behav­ior. “In 1999 a group of reform­ers oust­ed Alam­ou­di as AMC exec­u­tive direc­tor amid ques­tions about the group’s opaque finances and mys­te­ri­ous Mid­dle East­ern fund­ing sources. Alam­ou­di took a posi­tion at the affil­i­at­ed Amer­i­can Mus­lim Foun­da­tion but remained in con­trol of the AMC through friend­ly board mem­bers, the reform­ers said. ‘I had con­cerns about the reluc­tance to reveal infor­ma­tion about the finances. They said they’re not doing well, that they need­ed more mon­ey, but I looked at their office [in Wash­ing­ton], and it was very big,’ said one of the would-be reform­ers, Ikram Khan, a sur­geon in Las Vegas. Khan said he resigned from the AMC board when his friend, Nazir Kha­ja, a Pak­istani-Amer­i­can physi­cian from Cal­i­for­nia who was try­ing to open the group’s books, told him that Alam­ou­di was not coop­er­at­ing. ‘I said, ‘if this is the case, I can­not con­tin­ue to serve in the group,’ and I sent in my res­ig­na­tion let­ter,’ Khan said. . . .” (Idem.)

11. “U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment is exam­in­ing whether Alam­ou­di was con­spir­ing with a Lon­don group the Sau­di gov­ern­ment says is linked to Osama bin Laden. Who is Abdu­rah­man Alam­ou­di? We real­ly don’t know,’ one of the con­cerned gov­ern­ment offi­cials said.’ So how can we say there is not a prob­lem with his for­mer aide? He [Gill] has access to infor­ma­tion about all our vulnerabilities—aviation, ports. He knows what is pro­tect­ed and what is not.’” (Ibid.; pp. 3–4.)

12. “Yet some offi­cials remain con­cerned that Gill appar­ent­ly enjoys the polit­i­cal pro­tec­tion of Norquist, the archi­tect of the 1994 Repub­li­can elec­tion sweep that brought Geor­gia Repub­li­can Newt Gin­grich to pow­er as House speak­er. Norquist speaks of ‘crush­ing’ his polit­i­cal oppo­nents and dis­miss­es those who don’t agree with his anti-tax, anti-gov­ern­ment agen­da as ‘Bol­she­viks.’ His pow­er derives from a for­mi­da­ble coali­tion of evan­gel­i­cal, busi­ness and oth­er con­ser­v­a­tive groups that he con­trols to push favored GOP issues, as well as from his close rela­tion­ship with White House polit­i­cal chief Karl Rove.” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

13. “In 1998, Norquist and a for­mer deputy to Alam­ou­di at the AMC co-found­ed the non­prof­it Islam­ic Insti­tute as part of a dri­ve to win Mus­lim vot­ers for Bush in 2000. Alam­ou­di donat­ed $35,000 to the insti­tute, records show. Soon, the Islam­ic Insti­tute, the AMC and Al-Ari­an were all work­ing togeth­er on a top pri­or­i­ty for Amer­i­can Mus­lims: an end to the use of clas­si­fied intel­li­gence to jail nonci­t­i­zens as nation­al-secu­ri­ty threats. Al-Arian’s broth­er-in-law had been jailed on the basis of such secret evi­dence link­ing him to Pales­tin­ian Islam­ic Jihad, and Al-Ari­an lob­bied heav­i­ly on Capi­tol Hill to end the prac­tice. In Octo­ber 2000, through the efforts of Norquist and Rove, Bush came out against secret evi­dence in a debate with Al Gore, and the AMC endorsed Bush for pres­i­dent. Al-Ari­an would lat­er claim that the Mus­lim votes he round­ed up for Bush in Flori­da helped decide the elec­tion.” (Idem.)

14. “Gill was in the mid­dle of these advo­ca­cy efforts. As direc­tor of gov­ern­ment affairs at Norquist’s Islam­ic Insti­tute, Gill lob­bied against the use of secret evi­dence, accord­ing to a May 2001 release on the institute’s Web site. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Gill was quot­ed in news arti­cles as a spokesman for the AMC. A Wash­ing­ton Post arti­cle from May 2001, mean­while, iden­ti­fied Gill as a spokesman for the AMC. A Wash­ing­ton Post arti­cle from May 2001, mean­while, iden­ti­fied Gill as a spokesman for the ‘fledg­ling’ Tax­pay­ers Alliance of Prince William Coun­ty, Va., which is affil­i­at­ed with Norquist’s Amer­i­cans for Tax Reform. Accord­ing to the Post arti­cle, Norquist was slat­ed to appear with Gill at an anti-tax ral­ly.” (Idem.)

15. Next, the pro­gram returns to the sub­ject of Ptech, a com­pa­ny that made threat-assess­ment soft­ware for the Air Force and the FAA. (For more about Ptech, see—among oth­er programs—FTRs 462, 464.) Tar­get­ed by the Oper­a­tion Green Quest task force, Ptech mer­its con­sid­er­a­tion as (pos­si­bly) a part of the Under­ground Reich/Islamist Fifth Col­umn that facil­i­tat­ed the 9/11 attacks. One of the ter­ror­ist-linked firms that assist­ed with the gen­e­sis of Ptech is BMI. ” . . . One came from BMI, a New Jer­sey com­pa­ny that had leased com­put­er equip­ment to the pair and that intro­duced Ptech to Sar­many, an invest­ment com­pa­ny backed by Sau­di financier Yasin al-Qadi. Sar­many invest­ed $5 mil­lion in Ptech, a quar­ter of the $50 mil­lion Ptech raised from about 50 ‘angel’ investors. Al-Qadi vis­it­ed Ptech in 1994, and he and Ziade met sev­er­al times in Sau­di Ara­bia. . . ” (“Soft­ware Com­pa­ny Tries to Sur­vive Ter­ror­ism Inves­ti­ga­tion” [AP]; USA Today; 12/6/2003; p. 2.)

16. ” . . . Al-Qadi’s appear­ance on the list was not the first time his name sur­faced in con­nec­tion with ter­ror­ism fund­ing, how­ev­er. Nor was al-Qadi the only link between Ptech and groups that have attract­ed author­i­ties’ atten­tion. In a 1998 FBI affi­davit, al-Qadi was said to have pro­vid­ed a loan relat­ed to a com­plex land deal in Chica­go that was used to fund Hamas, the Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist group. The loan was instruct­ed to be repaid to Qadi Inter­na­tion­al, care of BMI, the com­pa­ny that intro­duced Ptech to Sar­many, and ‘Attn: Gamel Ahmed.’ Ahmed was Ptech’s comp­trol­ler for about a year-and-a-half in the mid 1990’s. Both BMI and Ptech also employed Hus­sein Ibrahim, an adjunct pro­fes­sor at Colum­bia. . .

(Ibid.; p. 3.)

17. Note the rela­tion­ship between Ptech and the oper­a­tions of Yaqub Mirza. The lat­ter set up the char­i­ties and busi­ness­es that were tar­get­ed by the 3/20/2002 Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids. ” . . . In March, fed­er­al author­i­ties inves­ti­gat­ing ter­ror fund­ing raid­ed busi­ness­es con­trolled by Ster­ling Advi­so­ry Ser­vices, whose chief exec­u­tive Yaqub Mirza served on a Ptech advi­so­ry board. He had been rec­om­mend­ed to Ptech by an investor (not al-Qadi), Ziade said. ‘He took some com­pa­nies pub­lic and under­stood high-tech, and I under­stood he had lot of con­nec­tions in the indus­try,’ Ziade said. A six-month back­ground check turned up noth­ing but praise. Ptech declined to say whether Mirza also invest­ed in Ptech, but papers filed in Vir­ginia and obtained by The Inves­tiga­tive Project, an anti-ter­ror­ism think-tank, indi­cate Ster­ling con­trolled a com­pa­ny called ‘Ptech Fund LLC.’” (Idem.)

18. Among the per­son­al­i­ties in the con­stel­la­tion sur­round­ing Ptech is Dr. Abdul­lah Azzam, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood men­tor to Osama bin Laden. (For more about Azzam, see—among oth­er programs—FTRs 354, 465.) ” . . . Until August, Ptech employed Suheil Laher, list­ed as an offi­cer at Care Inter­na­tion­al, a Mass­a­chu­setts char­i­ty that has report­ed­ly been inves­ti­gat­ed by author­i­ties for pos­si­ble finan­cial ties to ter­ror­ists. And Ptech still employs Muhamed Mubayyid, Care’s trea­sur­er, who donat­ed $360.00 to the Alk­i­fah refugees Cen­ter in Brook­lyn, N.Y., accord­ing to a receipt obtained by The Inves­tiga­tive Project. The cen­ter was named by fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors as the cen­ter of the con­spir­a­cy to bomb the World Trade Cen­ter in 1993. A note on the donation’s receipt reads: ‘Make checks payable to Dr. Abdul­lah Azzam.’ Azzam is believed to have been a men­tor of Osama bin Laden. . .” (Ibid.; p. 4.)

19. More about the ter­ror-linked per­son­al­i­ties involved with BMI—part of the con­stel­la­tion of orga­ni­za­tions involved in gen­er­at­ing Ptech: ” . . . The mon­ey invest­ed in BMI by the two char­i­ties came from a $10m endow­ment from unnamed Sau­di donors, accord­ing to the affi­davit by David Kane, an agent with the Bureau of Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment. While it is not clear whether that mon­ey came from the Sau­di gov­ern­ment, the affi­davit quotes a recent CIA report that says the Mus­lim World League ‘is large­ly financed by the gov­ern­ment of Sau­di Ara­bia.’ Mr. Kane said that the char­i­ties gave $3.7m to BMI, which may have passed the mon­ey to indi­vid­u­als con­sid­ered ter­ror­ists by the U.S. They include Yassin Qadi accused by the US gov­ern­ment of trans­fer­ring mil­lions of dol­lars to Osama bin Laden through char­i­ties such as the Muwafaq Foun­da­tion; Mousa Abu Mar­zook, the self-pro­fessed head of the polit­i­cal branch of Hamas, the rad­i­cal Pales­tin­ian orga­ni­za­tion; and Moham­mad Salah, a mem­ber of Hamas who spent five years in an Israeli prison. . . .” (“Sau­di-backed Char­i­ties ‘Aid­ed ter­ror­ists’’ by Mar­i­anne Brun-Rovet and Edward Alden; The Finan­cial Times; 8/21/2003; p. 2.)

20. BMI’s founder—Soliman Biheiri—is linked to the prin­ci­pal fig­ures of Al Taqwa. “The alle­ga­tions against BMI were made to back up charges against Soli­man Biheiri, BMI’s founder and pres­i­dent, who was indict­ed two weeks ago on charges of lying to obtain US cit­i­zen­ship. The gov­ern­ment alleges that Mr. Biheiri also did busi­ness with oth­er des­ig­nat­ed ter­ror­ists. Mr. Biheiri’s lap­top com­put­er con­tained con­tact infor­ma­tion for Ghaleb Him­mat and Youssef Nada, mem­bers of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood extrem­ist group and peo­ple con­sid­ered ter­ror­ists by the US and the Unit­ed Nations.” (Idem.)

21. Anoth­er of the investors in BMI was Abdul­lah bin Laden—under inves­ti­ga­tion for involve­ment in ter­ror­ism. ” . . . Pros­e­cu­tors iden­ti­fied a third BMI investor as Abdul­lah Awad bin Laden, who BMI part­ner­ship records and bank state­ments show put in more than $500,000.00. He is a nephew of Osama bin Laden, head of al Qae­da and the alleged mas­ter­mind of the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror attacks. Dur­ing the 1990’s, Abdul­lah Awad bin Laden ran the U.S. branch of a Sau­di char­i­ty called the World Assem­bly of Mus­lim Youth. The Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion and pri­vate ana­lysts labeled it a sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion; the group says it doesn’t sup­port ter­ror­ism . . . Abdul­lah Awad bin Laden, who for­mer­ly lived in Vir­ginia but left the U.S., after Sept. 11, 2001, has made no pub­lic state­ments and couldn’t be locat­ed. U.s. offi­cials believe he is in Sau­di Ara­bia.” (“U.S. Details an Alleged Ter­ror-Financ­ing Web” by Glenn R. Simp­son; Wall Street Jour­nal; 9/15/2003; p. A5.)

22. More about the rela­tion­ship between BMI and Al Taqwa, as well as con­nec­tions between BMI and the afore­men­tioned Sami Al-Ari­an: ” . . . Mr. Kane said Mr. Beheiri has rela­tion­ships with the two founders of the now-banned al-Taqwa, both of whom are also offi­cial­ly list­ed as ter­ror­ists by the U.S. He added that there are oth­er ‘indi­ca­tions there were some con­nec­tions between Bank al-Taqwa and BMI,’ includ­ing ‘finan­cial trans­ac­tions.’ He was halt­ed from say­ing any­thing fur­ther on the mat­ter by the pros­e­cu­tor, who said the infor­ma­tion is clas­si­fied for­eign intel­li­gence. Anoth­er of Mr. Biheiri’s asso­ciates, the gov­ern­ment alleged, is Sami Al-Ari­an the Tam­pa col­lege pro­fes­sor now under indict­ment in fed­er­al court in Flori­da as an alleged leader of Pales­tin­ian Islam­ic Jihad, which com­petes with Hamas to kill Israeli civil­ians in sui­cide bomb­ings. . . .” (Idem.)

23. Among the fig­ures impli­cat­ed in the web of intrigues dis­cussed above is Yaqub Mirza. (For more about Mirza, see—among oth­er programs—FTRs 356, 357, 382, 462, 464.) ” . . . Round­ing out their evi­dence, pros­e­cu­tors dis­closed an e‑mail they obtained show­ing that Mr. Biheiri was involved in Mr. Qadi’s finan­cial deal­ings with Yaqub Mirza, a Pak­istani engi­neer who man­ages a group of Sau­di-backed Islam­ic char­i­ties which are also under inves­ti­ga­tion for sup­port­ing ter­ror­ism, accord­ing to a fed­er­al search war­rant. The e‑mail was tak­en from Mr. Mirza’s com­put­er in the search. They said that one of the top fig­ures in the SAAR net­work, Ahmed Toton­ji, is a senior leader of the Mus­lim char­i­ty that Abdul­lah bin Laden helped run.” (Idem.)

24. Abdul­lah Bin Laden is linked to the WAMY, which in turn has areas of over­lap with Al Qae­da, the GOP’s eth­nic out­reach orga­ni­za­tion and the Al Taqwa milieu. (For more about this con­nec­tion, see—among oth­er programs—FTRs 356, 357, 425.) “In fact, the F.B.I. had been keep­ing an eye on some of the bin Ladens. A clas­si­fied F.B.I. file exam­ined by Van­i­ty Fair and marked ‘Secret’ shows that as ear­ly as 1996, the bureau had spent near­ly nine months inves­ti­gat­ing Abdul­lah and Omar bin Laden, who were involved with the Amer­i­can branch of the World Assem­bly of Mus­lim Youth (WAMY), a char­i­ty that has pub­lished writ­ings by Islam­ic schol­ar Sayyid Qutb, one of Osama bin Laden’s intel­lec­tu­al influ­ences.” (“Sav­ing the Saud­is” by Craig Unger; Van­i­ty Fair; October/2003; p. 175.)

25. In addi­tion to Abdul­lah, Khalil bin Laden has been impli­cat­ed in ter­ror­ist-relat­ed activ­i­ties. “Khalil bin Laden, who board­ed a plane in Orlan­do that even­tu­al­ly took him back to Sau­di Ara­bia, won the atten­tion of Brazil­ian inves­ti­ga­tors for pos­si­ble ter­ror­ist con­nec­tions. Accord­ing to a Brazil­ian paper, he had busi­ness con­nec­tions in the Brazil­ian province of Minas Gerais, not far from the tri-bor­der region, an alleged cen­ter for train­ing ter­ror­ists. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 176.)

26. Note that Abdul­lah bin Laden was among the Saud­is evac­u­at­ed by the Bush White House in the imme­di­ate after­math of 9/11. “F.B.I. offi­cials declined to com­ment on the inves­ti­ga­tion, which was report­ed in Britain’s The Guardian, but the doc­u­ments show that the file on Abdul­lah and Omar was reopened on Sep­tem­ber, 19, 2001, while the Sau­di repa­tri­a­tion was still under way. ‘These doc­u­ments show there was an open F.B.I. inves­ti­ga­tion into these guys at the time of their depar­ture,’ says David Arm­strong, an inves­ti­ga­tor for the Pub­lic Educa­tion Cen­ter, the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., foun­da­tion that obtained the doc­u­ments.” (Idem.)

27. Biheiri was alleged [by his estranged wife] to have destroyed doc­u­ments in the imme­di­ate after­math of 9/11. ” . . . Accord­ing to Ms. Mashid Fatoohi, she and Biheiri con­tin­ued to share the same house until he left the coun­try in 2002. After the events of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, she wit­nessed Biheiri destroy­ing records.” (“Dec­la­ra­tion in Sup­port of Pre-Tri­al Deten­tion” by David Kane; sub­mit­ted in con­nec­tion with Case No. 03–365‑A—United States of Amer­i­ca vs. Soli­man S. Biheiri; p. 10; accessed at: http://www.4law.co.il/Lea99.pdf .)

28. In FTRs 462, 464 Mr. Emory raised the ques­tion of whether or not Ptech’s threat assess­ment soft­ware might account for some of the anom­alies in the per­for­mance of air-defense sys­tems on 9/11. An arti­cle from researcher Daniel Hop­sick­er fur­ther devel­ops that ques­tion: “A soft­ware com­pa­ny called Ptech, found­ed by a Sau­di financier placed on America’s Ter­ror­ist List in Octo­ber 2001, had access to the FAA’s entire com­put­er sys­tem for two years before the 9/11 attack. Last week, when the Nation­al 9/11 Com­mis­sion held hear­ings on The Avi­a­tion Secu­ri­ty Sys­tem and the 9/11 Attack, gov­ern­ment and avi­a­tion offi­cials described a sys­tem unpre­pared for the events that unfold­ed on Sep­tem­ber 11. None of them, how­ev­er, men­tioned secu­ri­ty breach­es involv­ing ‘Sau­di ter­ror­ists in the base­ment of the FAA.’” (“FBI Shut Down Sau­di Ter­ror Cell Inves­ti­ga­tion in Boston—the Group had Access to All the FAA Com­put­er Sys­tem for 2 Years pre-911” by Daniel Hop­sick­er; mad­cownews; p. 2; accessed at http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/02/279945.shtml .)

29. Ptech is alleged to have had a team in the base­ment of FAA head­quar­ters for two years. “Yet that’s what hap­pened, accord­ing to a high-lev­el risk ana­lyst who had trou­bling deal­ings with the firm. ‘Ptech had a cou­ple of very trou­bling client rela­tion­ships,’ states risk archi­tect and whistle­blow­er Indi­ra Singh, ‘one of which was with the FAA. One of the ‘per­sons of inter­est’ in the inves­ti­ga­tion had a team in the base­ment of the FAA for two years.’” (Idem.)

30. ” ‘Ptech worked on a project that revealed all infor­ma­tion process­es and issues that the FAA had with the Nation­al Air­space Sys­tems Agency, NAS,’ Singh said. ‘The project includ­ed inci­dent inves­ti­ga­tion, law enforce­ment, mil­i­tary avi­a­tion sys­tems, high­ly sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion, espe­cial­ly if you want­ed to exploit the FAA’s cur­rent capa­bil­i­ties and holes . . . to jam or slow down U.S. mil­i­tary response to a domes­tic hijack­ing, for exam­ple.’ [Empha­sis added.]” (Idem.)

31. A secu­ri­ty expert fur­ther delin­eat­ed the poten­tial dan­gers of Ptech’s con­tracts with the gov­ern­ment: “Ptech is a sys­tems engi­neer­ing and soft­ware con­sul­tant firm that helps oth­er companies—including gov­ern­ment agencies—manage the ‘work flow’ of com­plex projects and oper­a­tions through so-called enter­prise soft­ware solu­tions. These cus­tomized pro­grams help orga­nize and arrange infor­ma­tion based on how each ‘cus­tomer’ oper­ates and allows exec­u­tives to make impor­tant deci­sions faster and more effi­cient­ly.” (“Open­ing Vir­tu­al Door to Gov­ern­ment” by Paul Eng; ABC News; 12/6/2002; accessed at: http://ABCNEWS.com .)

32. “Mark Rasche, a for­mer Jus­tice Depart­ment pros­e­cu­tor and now a senior vice pres­i­dent of a pri­vate secu­ri­ty con­sult­ing firm called Solu­tion­ary in Oma­ha, Neb., is not aware of exact­ly what work Ptech might have done for its gov­ern­ment cus­tomers. And he is extreme­ly cau­tious about how—or if—any sen­si­tive gov­ern­ment com­put­er sys­tems might be com­pro­mised by Ptech’s pur­port­ed ter­ror­ism ties. ‘Their abil­i­ty to insert a virus, or a back­door, or log­ic bomb will be dic­tat­ed by the type of soft­ware they were work­ing on, and their amount of access to [sen­si­tive] sys­tems,’ he said.” (Idem.)

33. “Still, he notes that even if Ptech’s soft­ware is free of mali­cious, hid­den codes, there is some con­cern. ‘The goal of [enter­prise] soft­ware is to improve infor­ma­tion flow in an agency. If I were to go to ABCNEWS and work to under­stand the way you dis­trib­ute infor­ma­tion, I will know names of peo­ple, their titles, their job descrip­tions, how you com­mu­ni­cate [with each oth­er], all of your ‘buzz words’ and all of that,’ he said. ‘The more I know, the more I can con­trol and dis­rupt your oper­a­tions.’” (Idem.)

34. “Rasche also says that gov­ern­ment agen­cies typ­i­cal­ly work with out­side con­sult­ing com­pa­nies because pri­vate firms have exper­tise to stream­line com­plex gov­ern­ment process­es. ‘The gov­ern­ment very rarely does any of its own soft­ware work,’ said Rasche. ‘But when you out­source [soft­ware work], you real­ly want to vet who it is that’s design­ing the code.’” (Idem.)

35. As not­ed in FTRs 460, 462, 464, one of Al Qaeda’s alleged col­lab­o­ra­tors was the head of the Pak­istani Air Force, killed in a plane crash in Feb­ru­ary of 2003. When con­sid­ered in con­nec­tion with Ptech’s devel­op­ment of threat-assess­ment soft­ware for the Air Force and the FAA, the Mushaf Ali Mir/Al Qae­da link assumes larg­er sig­nif­i­cance. Might Ali Mir have pro­vid­ed infor­ma­tion dto Al Qae­da and/or Ptech that could have assist­ed in the frus­tra­tion of air defense units on 9/11? “Nor was that the end of it. Dur­ing his inter­ro­ga­tion, Zubay­dah had also said that Osama bin Laden had struck a deal with Pak­istani air force chief Air Mar­shal Mushaf Ali Mir, and had told him that there would be unspec­i­fied attacks on Amer­i­can soil on 9/11. Sev­en months after the Sau­di deaths, on Feb­ru­ary 20, 2003, Mir and six­teen oth­ers were killed when their plane crashed in a north­west province of Pak­istan. Sab­o­tage was wide­ly spec­u­lat­ed to be behind the crash but could not be proved.” (House of Bush/House of Saud; by Craig Unger; Scrib­n­er [HC]; Copy­right 2004 by Craig Unger; ISBN 0–7432-5337‑X; p. 269.)

36. Two of the oth­er vic­tims in the crash that killed Ali Mir had back­grounds as Air Con­trollers. Might they have been involved with Al Qae­da as well? Might this have sig­nif­i­cance for the Ptech con­nec­tion as well? ” . . . Air Com­modore Rizwan­ul­lah Khan . . . Dur­ing his tenure of ser­vice, he worked on var­i­ous appoint­ments includ­ing Senior Air Traf­fic Con­trol Offi­cer, Sar­god­ha. [Empha­sis added.] . . . Wing Com­man­der Syed Tabas­sam Abbas . . . worked on var­i­ous instruc­tion­al and staff appoint­ment includ­ing Air Traf­fic Con­troller, instruc­tor at Direc­torate of Stud­ies Risalpur [Empha­sis added.] . . .” (“Ded­i­cat­ed to the Glo­ri­ous PAF Sha­heeds” by Chief Patron DJ, Air Mar­shal Asghar Khan; Defence Jour­nal; March/2003; p. 1; accessed at: http://www.defencejournal.com/2003/mar/paf-shaheeds.htm .)

37. The pro­gram reviews the FBI’s frus­tra­tion of Oper­a­tion Green Quest, the task force whose mem­bers exe­cut­ed the inves­ti­ga­tion into Ptech. (For more about the frus­tra­tion of Oper­a­tion Green Quest, see—among oth­er programs—FTRs 462, 464.) ” . . . But even while the White House was preach­ing coop­er­a­tion, the var­i­ous agen­cies that were being fold­ed into Home­land Secu­ri­ty were squab­bling with the FBI—the behe­moth in the domes­tic war on ter­ror. One prime exam­ple of the ten­sion is the inves­ti­ga­tion into Ptech, the Boston-area com­put­er soft­ware firm that had mil­lions of dol­lars in sen­si­tive gov­ern­ment con­tracts with the Air Force, the Ener­gy Depart­ment and, iron­i­cal­ly enough, the FBI. In what turned into a minor embar­rass­ment for the bureau, the firm’s main investors includ­ed Yasin Al-Qadi, a wealthy Sau­di busi­ness­man whom the Bush admin­is­tra­tion had for­mal­ly des­ig­nat­ed a ter­ror­ist financier under the Inter­na­tion­al Emer­gency Eco­nom­ic Pow­ers Act. Al-Qadi has vig­or­ous­ly denied any con­nec­tion to ter­ror­ism.” (“Whose War on Ter­ror?”; Newsweek; 12/10/2003; p. 2; accessed at: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3068377/ .)

38. “The Ptech case turned into an ugly dis­pute last year when com­pa­ny whistle­blow­ers told Green Quest agents about their own sus­pi­cions about the firm’s own­ers. Sources close to the case say those same whistle­blow­ers had first approached FBI agents, but the bureau appar­ent­ly did lit­tle or noth­ing in response, With back­ing from the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, Green Quest agents then mount­ed a full-scale inves­ti­ga­tion that cul­mi­nat­ed in a raid on the company’s office last Decem­ber. After get­ting wind of the Green Quest probe, the FBI stepped in and unsuc­cess­ful­ly tried to take con­trol of the case.” (Idem.)

39. “The result, sources say, has been some­thing of a train wreck. Pri­vate­ly, FBI offi­cials say Green Quest agents botched the probe and jeop­ar­dized oth­er more promis­ing inquiries into Al-Qadi. Green Quest agents dis­miss the charges and say the prob­lem is that the bureau ws slow to respond to legit­i­mate alle­ga­tions that an out­side con­trac­tor with ter­ror­ist ties may have infil­trat­ed gov­ern­ment com­put­ers. [Empha­sis added.] What­ev­er the truth, there is no dis­pute that the case has so far pro­duced no charges and indict­ments against Al-Qadi or any­one else con­nect­ed with Ptech. The com­pa­ny has denied wrong­do­ing.” (Idem.)

40. Next, the pro­gram reviews alle­ga­tions that Yaqub Mirza—at the epi­cen­ter of the orga­ni­za­tions tar­get­ed by the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002—had con­tacts high-up in the FBI. “Fur­ther­more, the FBI was aware that Ptech pro­vid­ed com­put­er soft­ware for sev­er­al gov­ern­ment agen­cies, includ­ing the FBI itself, the FAA, the U.S. Trea­sury, the Depart­ment of Defense, the IRS, and the White House, prov­ing a vis­i­ble and viable threat to nation­al secu­ri­ty. The FBI ignored the repeat­ed requests of con­cerned employ­ees. Fright­en­ing­ly, when an employ­ee told the Pres­i­dent of Ptech he felt he had to con­tact the FBI regard­ing Qadi’s involve­ment in the com­pa­ny, the pres­i­dent alleged­ly told him not to wor­ry because Yaqub Mirza, who was on the board of direc­tors of the com­pa­ny and was him­self a tar­get of a ter­ror­ist financ­ing raid in March 2002, had con­tacts high with­in the FBI. [Empha­sis added.]” (“Per­ilous Pow­er Play: FBI vs. Home­land Secu­ri­ty” by Rita Katz & Josh Devon; Nation­al Review; 5/27/2003; p. 2; accessed at: http://www.nationalareview.com/script/printage.asp?ref=/comment/comment-katz-devon0 .)

41. As not­ed in pre­vi­ous pro­grams, Oper­a­tion Green Quest ceased to exist on 6/30/2003. Note that the SAAR inves­ti­ga­tion is the case at the cen­ter of the Oper­a­tion Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002. ” . . . Now, the FBI is attempt­ing to wrest the SAAR Net­work inves­ti­ga­tion from Green Quest and take all the cred­it for Green Quest’s ded­i­ca­tion and hard work. The agree­ment between Ashcroft and Ridge is a crush­ing blow to Green Quest, as it effec­tive­ly dis­solves the out­stand­ing task force. Accord­ing to the mem­o­ran­dum, ‘The sec­re­tary of [Home­land Secu­ri­ty] agrees that no lat­er than June 30, 2003, Oper­a­tion Green Quest (OGQ) will no longer exist as a pro­gram name.’ [Empha­sis added.]” (Ibid.; p. 3.)

42. Clos­ing on a spec­u­la­tive note, the pro­gram notes the res­ig­na­tion of a key Home­land Secu­ri­ty coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence offi­cial. That official—Paul J. Redmond—resigned on 6/30/2003. That is the same day that the Green Quest Task Force ceased to exist. Might there be any con­nec­tion between the two dates and the Ptech case? “Paul J. Red­mond, a top ter­ror­ism intel­li­gence expert at the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, is retir­ing, offi­cials said Mon­day. Red­mond, assis­tant sec­re­tary for infor­ma­tion analy­sis and a for­mer CIA offi­cer, is leav­ing for health rea­sons, offi­cials said. . . . Pre­vi­ous­ly, Red­mond served 33 years at the CIA, work­ing in Asia and Europe, He rose to top posi­tions in the agency’s coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence ranks before retir­ing in 1997.” (“Ex-CIA Expert Retires as Top Home­land Secu­ri­ty Intel­li­gence Ana­lyst” [AP]; San Fran­cis­co Chron­i­cle; 6/30/2003.)

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #467 Fifth Column, Part IV”

  1. Oh lordy, Wednes­day morn­ings in DC just got “more ide­o­log­i­cal­ly pure”. Move over Grover, there’s a new wreck­ing crew in town

    Moth­er Jones

    Inside Groundswell: Read the Mem­os of the New Right-Wing Strat­e­gy Group Plan­ning a “30 Front War”
    Gin­ni Thomas, Allen West, and a crew of con­ser­v­a­tive activists and jour­nal­ists have formed a hush-hush coali­tion to bat­tle progressives—and Karl Rove.

    —By David Corn
    | Thu Jul. 25, 2013 9:53 AM PDT

    Believ­ing they are los­ing the mes­sag­ing war with pro­gres­sives, a group of promi­nent con­ser­v­a­tives in Washington—including the wife of Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas and jour­nal­ists from Bre­it­bart News and the Wash­ing­ton Examiner—has been meet­ing pri­vate­ly since ear­ly this year to con­coct talk­ing points, coor­di­nate mes­sag­ing, and hatch plans for “a 30 front war seek­ing to fun­da­men­tal­ly trans­form the nation,” accord­ing to doc­u­ments obtained by Moth­er Jones.

    Dubbed Groundswell, this coali­tion con­venes week­ly in the offices of Judi­cial Watch, the con­ser­v­a­tive legal watch­dog group. Dur­ing these hush-hush ses­sions and through a Google group, the mem­bers of Groundswell—including aides to con­gres­sion­al Republicans—cook up bat­tle plans for their ongo­ing fights against the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, con­gres­sion­al Democ­rats, pro­gres­sive out­fits, and the Repub­li­can estab­lish­ment and “clue­less” GOP con­gres­sion­al lead­ers. They devise strate­gies for killing immi­gra­tion reform, hyp­ing the Beng­hazi con­tro­ver­sy, and coun­ter­ing the impres­sion that the GOP exploits racism. And the Groundswell gang is mount­ing a behind-the-scenes orga­nized effort to erad­i­cate the out­size influ­ence of GOP über-strate­gist/pun­dit Karl Rove with­in Repub­li­can and con­ser­v­a­tive ranks. (For more on Groundswell’s “two front war” against Rove—a major clash on the right—click here.)

    One of the influ­en­tial con­ser­v­a­tives guid­ing the group is Vir­ginia “Gin­ni” Thomas, a colum­nist for the Dai­ly Caller and a tea par­ty con­sul­tant and lob­by­ist. Oth­er Groundswell mem­bers include John Bolton, the for­mer UN ambas­sador; Frank Gaffney, the pres­i­dent of the Cen­ter for Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy; Ken Black­well and Jer­ry Boykin of the Fam­i­ly Research Coun­cil; Tom Fit­ton, the pres­i­dent of Judi­cial Watch; Gayle Trot­ter, a fel­low at the Inde­pen­dent Wom­en’s Forum; Cather­ine Engel­brecht and Ani­ta Mon­Crief of True the Vote; Allen West, the for­mer GOP House mem­ber; Sue Myrick, also a for­mer House GOP­er; Diana Ban­is­ter of the influ­en­tial Shirley and Ban­is­ter PR firm; and Max Pap­pas, a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R‑Texas).

    Among the con­ven­ers list­ed in an invi­ta­tion to a May 8 meet­ing of Groundswell were Stephen Ban­non, exec­u­tive chair­man of Bre­it­bart News Net­work; Dan Bongi­no, a for­mer Secret Ser­vice agent who resound­ing­ly lost a Mary­land Sen­ate race last year (and is now run­ning for a House seat); Leonard Leo, exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­al­ist Soci­ety; Sandy Rios, a Fox News con­trib­u­tor; Lori Roman, a for­mer exec­u­tive direc­tor of the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil; and Austin Ruse, the head of the Catholic Fam­i­ly and Human Rights Insti­tute. Con­ser­v­a­tive jour­nal­ists and com­men­ta­tors par­tic­i­pat­ing in Groundswell have includ­ed Bre­it­bart News reporters Matthew Boyle and Mike Fly­nn, Wash­ing­ton Exam­in­er exec­u­tive edi­tor Mark Tap­scott, and Nation­al Review con­trib­u­tor Michael James Bar­ton.

    Groundswell has col­lab­o­rat­ed with con­ser­v­a­tive GOP­ers on Capi­tol Hill, includ­ing Sens. Jeff Ses­sions (R‑Ala.) and Cruz and Rep. Jim Briden­s­tine (R‑Okla.), a lead­ing tea parti­er. At its week­ly meet­ings, the group aims to strength­en the right’s mes­sag­ing by craft­ing Twit­ter hash­tags; plot­ting strat­e­gy on in-the-head­lines issues such as vot­er ID, immi­gra­tion reform, and the sequester; pro­mot­ing polit­i­cal­ly use­ful scan­dals; and devel­op­ing “action items.”

    A cer­tain amount of secre­cy cloaks Groundswell’s efforts. Though mem­bers have been encour­aged to zap out tweets with a #GSW hash­tag, a mes­sage cir­cu­lat­ed to mem­bers of its Google group not­ed that the role of cer­tain advo­cates should be kept “off of the Google group for OPSEC [oper­a­tional secu­ri­ty] rea­sons.” This “will avoid any poten­tial for bad press for some­one if a com­mu­ni­ca­tion item is leaked,” the mes­sage explained. (The Groundswell doc­u­ments were pro­vid­ed to Moth­er Jones by a source who had access to its Google group page and who has asked not to be iden­ti­fied.)

    Wash­ing­ton is full of coali­tions that meet to coor­di­nate mes­sag­ing and strat­e­gy. For two decades, con­ser­v­a­tive strate­gist Grover Norquist, who heads Amer­i­cans for Tax Reform, has held his now-famous Wednes­day morn­ing meet­ings for a broad spec­trum of Repub­li­cans, includ­ing con­ser­v­a­tives opposed to gay rights and abor­tion rights and those who favor them, as well as GOP­ers on dif­fer­ent sides of the immi­gra­tion reform debate. Groundswell, which meets at the same time as Norquist’s group, appears to be a more ide­o­log­i­cal­ly pure ver­sion of the Norquist con­fab, and its emergence—given the promi­nent role of Gin­ni Thomas and the par­tic­i­pa­tion of journalists—prompts sev­er­al intrigu­ing ques­tions.

    Crit­ics have con­tend­ed that Thomas’ work as a lob­by­ist oppos­ing Oba­macare posed a con­flict of inter­est for her hus­band, who would rule on the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of the health care reform ini­tia­tive. (Clarence Thomas joined the Supreme Court minor­i­ty that favored strik­ing down the law.) And Com­mon Cause has main­tained that Jus­tice Thomas had a con­flict of inter­est when he par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Cit­i­zens Unit­ed case because his wife at the time was run­ning a con­ser­v­a­tive non­prof­it fight­ing the “tyran­ny” of Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma that would ben­e­fit from remov­ing lim­its on such groups’ spend­ing and fundrais­ing. With her involve­ment in Groundswell—which zeroes in on con­tentious issues that come before the high court, includ­ing vot­ing rights, abor­tion, and gay marriage—Ginni Thomas con­tin­ues to be intri­cate­ly asso­ci­at­ed with mat­ters on which her hus­band may have to ren­der a deci­sion. Gin­ni Thomas did not respond to requests for com­ment.

    The par­tic­i­pa­tion of jour­nal­ists in coor­di­nat­ing mes­sag­ing with ide­o­log­i­cal advo­cates and polit­i­cal par­ti­sans rais­es anoth­er set of issues. Con­ser­v­a­tives expressed out­rage when news broke in 2009 about Journo­list, a pri­vate email list where sev­er­al hun­dred pro­gres­sive-mind­ed reporters, com­men­ta­tors, and aca­d­e­mics exchanged ideas and some­times bick­ered. (I was on Journo­list, main­ly as a lurk­er.) The late Andrew Bre­it­bart once offered $100,000 for the full Journo­list archives and denounced it as “the epit­o­me of pro­gres­sive and lib­er­al col­lu­sion that con­ser­v­a­tives, Tea Partiers, mod­er­ates and many inde­pen­dents have long sus­pect­ed and feared exists at the heart of con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can polit­i­cal jour­nal­ism.” The Groundswell doc­u­ments show con­ser­v­a­tive jour­nal­ists, includ­ing sev­er­al with Bre­it­bart News, col­lud­ing on high-lev­el mes­sag­ing with lead­ing par­ti­sans of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 26, 2013, 8:41 am
  2. This is great work,Dave.

    Posted by adam | July 11, 2016, 1:01 pm

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