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FTR #464 I Told You So—More About the Subversion of Operation Green Quest

Recorded June 13, 2004
MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]
RealAudio [3]

Presenting more information about the subversion of Operation Green Quest (the investigation into terrorist financing), this program highlights the structural economic relationships that bind the Bush milieu to that of the Saudis. These relationships helped spawn the Islamist element in the Republican Party’s ethnic outreach wing, which overlaps the milieu targeted in the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids. Central to the development of the Bush/Saudi relationship is the milieu of the BCCI investigation. Not only did key players in BCCI invest in Bush’s unsuccessful energy businesses, but that investment almost certainly was for the purpose of currying favor with “the House of Bush”—the Saudis did not need to invest in unsuccessful oil drilling operations! Moreover, it appears that the Bush/Saudi/BCCI connection is a central factor motivating those who are frustrating the investigation into Operation Green Quest. Central to the theme of this program is FBI chief Robert Mueller’s role in covering up the Justice Department’s investigation of the BCCI case when he was the US attorney in charge of the investigation, as well as the role of the bureau in the frustration of Operation Green Quest.

Program Highlights Include: The Saudi investment in Bush’s Harken Energy; the connections of BCCI players such as Khalid bin Mahfouz in the Saudi financing of Harken; the role of Abdullah Bakhsh of the BCCI in elevating the position of Talat Othman to that of director of Harken Energy; Othman’s eventual succession to the position of adviser to Bush, Sr.; review of the development of GOP operative Grover Norquist’s Islamic Institute and the connections of the GOP/Islamist milieu to terrorism; Talat Othman’s delivery of a Muslim benediction at the GOP convention in 2000; review of the connections between the targets of the Operation Green Quest raids of 2002 and the Al Taqwa network; the relationship between Sami al-Arian and the targets of the 3/20/2002 raids; Talat Othman’s intercession on behalf of the targets of the Operation Green Quest raids; federal employees’ “accidental” destruction of key documents in the al-Arian investigation; review of the FBI’s alleged stonewalling of other federal agencies involved in combating terror.

1. Tracing the history of the Bush/Saudi relationship, the broadcast begins with discussion of the role of rich Saudis in the financing of Harken Energy—one of W’s failed oil ventures. For the purposes of this program, do not fail to note the presence in the Harken machinations of people closely associated with the BCCI milieu. ” . . . And yet, with the Bush name now on its marquee, suddenly all sorts of marvelous things started to happen to Harken—new investments, unexpected sources of financing, serendipitous drilling rights in faraway countries. All thanks to people who now found Harken irresistible—many of them close to BCCI, the Saudi-dominated bank that had political connections all over the world and whose biggest shareholder was Khalid bin Mahfouz. It was a phantom courtship.”
(House of Bush/House of Saud; by Craig Unger; Scribner [HC]; Copyright 2004 by Craig Unger; ISBN 0-7432-5337-X; p. 118.) [4]

2. The Saudis’ backing of Harken makes no sense in terms of the petroleum business—it only makes sense in the context of the purchasing of political influence. “Even if Harken had not had its liabilities, for Saudi billionaires, whose wealth came from the biggest oil reserves in the world, investing in Harken was at best truly a case of selling coals to Newcastle, ice to the Eskimos. ‘Think about it,’ explains Bush’s friend and business partner James Bath. ‘It doesn’t make sense. What we would consider a big oil drill here [in Texas] would be laughable to them.'” (Idem.)

3. Through the BCCI, the Saudis were able to gain a significant foothold in the U.S. ” ‘You had this terribly complicated dance,’ recalls a former senior Senate investigator into BCCI. ‘It was not just that the Saudis used BCCI to buy power. There were people in the United States who saw the opportunity to make scads of money. They weren’t exactly raping the system. It was more like consensual sex.'” (Ibid.; p. 119.)

4. “Neither George W. Bush nor Harken, it should be said, had any direct contact of any kind with bin Mahfouz or BCCI. Bin Mahfouz professed no knowledge of any intention to create a special relationship with Bush or Harken and, according to his attorney, ‘does not recall that the matter of BCCI’s relationship with Harken’ was brought up at BCCI board meetings or ‘in any other fashion.’ Likewise, Harken officials, including George W. Bush, said they were unaware of their new investors’ links to BCCI. On paper, there was no relationship whatsoever between the two institutions or their principals.” (Idem.)

5. “But like so much of what went on with BCCI, this elaborate dance often took place through convoluted financial transactions and third parties. It was not essential for the key players in this aspect of the Saudi-Bush drama even to know each other to have productive relationships. In fact, for many of the participants, the less they knew the better.” (Idem.)

6. Examining the history of the evolution of the Harken/Saudi/BCCI milieu and its influence on Bush and events that took place during his presidency, the broadcast highlights Abdullah Taha Bakhsh. It was as Bakhsh’s protégé that Talat Othman made his entrée into the Bush camp. Othman is a key player in the scenario we are examining in this program. “Before the deal could be finalized, however, the financing from UBS ran into unrelated difficulties and fell apart. As a result, still another financier was needed to rescue Harken. This time, Stephens introduced Harken to a new investor, Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, a real estate magnate from Jeddah, whose subsequent injection of capital resulted in his ownership of 17.6 percent of Harken’s stock.” (Ibid.; p. 121.)

7. “A well-known Saudi investor, Bakhsh had been a founding member of the board of Investcorp, the enormous global investment group. Bakhsh had had business dealings with the most prominent people in Saudi Arabia, including members of the Saudi royal family. He also had at least two ties to BCCI. According to the [Wall Street] Journal, he had been chairman of the Saudi Finance Co., a holding company partly controlled by BCCI shareholders. In addition, he was well acquainted with bin Mahfouz.” (Idem.)

8. There were denials all around concerning a causal relationship between Bakhsh’s role on Harken’s board and the BCCI relationship. Note that bin Mahfouz’s lawyer is Cherif Sedky, whom we will view later on in connection with the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids. “All parties concerned—bin Mahfouz, Bakhsh, and Harken—have denied that Bakhsh’s role in Harken had anything to do with BCCI or his relationship to bin Mahfouz. ‘Mr. Bakhsh was not in any way representing Khalid bin Mahfouz’s interests in any investment by Mr. Bakhsh in Harken Energy,’ says Cherif Sedky. . . .” (Idem.)

9. More about the Bakhsh/Harken/Bush/Othman relationship: ” . . . Yet there is evidence that Saudi favors to Bush interests had begun to pay off. In August 1990, Talat Othman, a Chicago investor of Arab descent who represented the interests of Abdullah Taha Bakhsh on the board of Harken Energy, was granted unusual access to the president and attended White House meetings with him to discuss Middle East policy—at a time of crisis during which the Gulf War was brewing. [Emphasis added.] The White House, George W. Bush, and Harken all denied that Othman’s presence was related to Bakhsh’s investment.” (Ibid.; p. 125.)

10. Next, the program highlights the role of then US Attorney Robert Mueller in helping to derail the BCCI investigation. Mueller is now head of the FBI. ” . . . In addition, according to the 1992 Senate BCCI investigation, the Bush Justice Department went to great lengths to block prosecution of BCCI. The Senate probe determined that federal officials repeatedly obstructed congressional and local investigations into BCCI, and for three years thwarted attempts by Manhattan district attorney Robert Morgenthau to obtain critical information about the bank.” (Ibid.; p. 126.)

11. Note that the Senate probe into BCCI (which was headed by John Kerry) was highly critical of the Justice Department’s conduct of the investigation. “The Senate investigation concluded that in 1990 and 1991 the Bush Justice Department, with Assistant Attorney General Robert Mueller leading the way, consistently put forth the public impression that it ws aggressively moving against BCCI. But, in fact, the Senate probe said the Justice Department was actually impeding ‘the investigations of others through a variety of mechanisms, ranging from not making witnesses available, to not returning telephone calls, to claiming that every aspect of the case was under investigation in a period when little, if anything, was being done.'” (Idem.)

12. “Specifically, among other charges, the Senate report alleged that a federal prosecutor lied to Morgenthau’s office about important material; that federal prosecutors failed to investigate serious allegations that BCCI laundered drug money; and that Justice Department personnel in Washington, Miami, and Tampa actively obstructed and impeded congressional attempts to investigate BCCI in 1990 . . .” (Idem.)

13. Much of the rest of the first side of the program is review of an excerpt from FTR#310 [5] (recorded on 7/8/2001.) The excerpt focuses on Robert Mueller’s appointment as head of the FBI, and notes Mueller’s less than enthusiastic investigation of the BCCI case. Mr. Emory notes that, had the BCCI case been thoroughly and properly investigated, it would have implicated the elder Bush in the Iran/Contra and Iraqgate scandals, both of which involved BCCI. Mr. Emory also notes that a proper investigation of the case might have led to the James R. Bath/George W. Bush/Harken Energy/ Saudi relationship. That relationship involved the business connections between George W. Bush and James R. Bath. Bath was an early investor in Arbusto Energy, the first of W’s failed oil company ventures. He was also the business representative of the Bin Mahfouz and Bin Laden families in Texas. Those families may well have put up some of the initial capital for Arbusto. With Mueller ruling the roost at the FBI, it appeared (on 7/8/2001) that an investigation uncovering the Bush family’s business dealings with the Bin Ladens was unlikely. As we saw in FTR#’s 454, 462, [6] the bureau appears to be derailing the investigation into Operation Green Quest. Bush selected Robert Mueller, a member of his father’s Justice Department, to be FBI director.
(“S.F. Prosecutor Mueller Picked to Lead FBI, Mend Its Image” by Zachary Coile and Bob Egelko; San Francisco Chronicle; 7/6/2001; pp. A1-A12.)

14. In his work for the Bush Justice Department, Mueller was less than vigorous in his role overseeing the prosecution of General Noriega of Panama and the BCCI case. (“In the Running for FBI Director” by Stacy Finz; San Francisco Chronicle; 7/1/2001; pp. A1-A6.) Both the BCCI case and the Noriega case overlap the Iran-Contra investigation.) The elder Bush was principally involved in the Iran-Contra imbroglio. Full disclosure concerning the BCCI case would have led to investigation of James R. Bath, the Texas business representative of the Bin Laden family and one of the financiers of George W.’s first oil venture. Was Mueller appointed to forestall any investigation of these links, thus safeguarding the Georges Bush?.)

15. The GOP recruited Islamists to its cause for the 2000 campaign. A number of the individuals and institutions recruited by Norquist are implicated in the events in, and around, 9/11. Many of them were also focal points of Operation Green Quest. The Norquist/Islamist milieu also overlaps the Harken/Bush/BCCI milieu. “As a result, Norquist’s Muslim strategy was sometimes criticized—usually from the right—for giving credibility to Muslim groups that seemed harmless, but were in fact supporting extremist interests. . . . Nevertheless, with Norquist working behind the scenes, Bush aggressively pursued the Islamists in hopes of winning their endorsements. In appearances on TV, Bush and fellow campaign staffers referred not just to churches and synagogues as places of worship, but to mosques as well. Again and again, Governor Bush sought out meetings with Muslim leaders—often without looking into their backgrounds. He invited the founder of the American Muslim Council, Abdurahman Alamoudi, to the governor’s mansion in Austin. In the mid-1990’s, Alamoudi had played an important role in recruiting as many as a hundred ‘Islamic lay leaders’ for the U.S. military. The Wall Street Journal reported that he had arranged for ‘an arm of the Saudi government’ called the Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences to train ‘soldiers and civilians to provide spiritual guidance when paid Muslim chaplains aren’t available.’ The Journal added that there were indications that there were indications that ‘the school . . . disseminates the intolerant and anti-Western strain of Islam espoused by the [Saudi] kingdom’s religious establishment.’ A self-proclaimed supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah, Alamoudi reportedly attended a terrorist summit in Beirut later in 2000 with leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda. But such a militant background did not keep Alamoudi away from Norquist and Bush. According to an article by Frank Gaffney, Alamoudi wrote two checks for $10,000 each, one an apparent loan, to help found Norquist’s Islamic Institute.”

(House of Bush/House of Saud; by Craig Unger; Scribner [HC]; Copyright 2004 by Craig Unger; ISBN 0-7432-5337-X; pp. 205-206.) [4]

16. “On March 12, 2000, Bush and his wife, Laura, met with more Muslim leaders at a local mosque in Tampa, Florida. Among them was Sami Al-Arian, a Kuwaiti-born Palestinian who was an associate professor of engineering at the University of South Florida. . . . But Al-Arian had unusual credentials for a Bush campaigner. Since 1995, as the founder and chairman of the board of World and Islam enterprise (WISE), a Muslim think tank, Al-Arian had been under investigation by the FBI for his associations with Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian terrorist group. Al-Arian brought in Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, the number-two leader in Islamic Jihad, to be the director of WISE. A strong advocate of suicide bombings against Israel, Shallah was allegedly responsible for killing scores of Israelis in such attacks.” (Ibid.; pp. 206-207.)

17. “Al-Arian also brought to Tampa as a guest speaker for WISE none other than Hassan Turabi, the powerful Islamic ruler of Sudan who had welcomed Osama bin Laden and helped nurture al Qaeda in the early nineties. . . .Nor were those Al-Arian’s only ties to terrorists According to American Jihad [7] by Steven Emerson, in may 1998 a WISE board member named Tarik Hamdi personally traveled to Afghanistan to deliver a satellite telephone and battery to Osama bin Laden. In addition, Newsweek reported that Al-Arian had ties to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. Among his claims to fame, the magazine said, Al-Arian had ‘made many phone calls to two New York-area Arabs who figured in the World Trade Center bombing investigation.'” (Ibid.; p. 207.)

18. “There were also Al-Arian’s own statements. In 1998, he appeared as a guest speaker before the American Muslim Council. According to conservative author Kenneth Timmerman, Al-Arian referred to Jews as ‘monkeys and pigs’ and added, ‘Jihad is our path. Victory to Islam. Death to Israel. Revolution! Revolution! Until victory! Rolling, rolling to Jerusalem!’ That speech was part of a dossier compiled on al-Arian by federal agents who have had him under surveillance for many years because of suspected ties to terrorist organizations. In a videotape in that file, al-Arian was more explicit. When he appeared at a fund-raising event, Timmerman says, he’ begged for $500 to kill a Jew.'” (Idem.)

19. “Al-Arian would be arrested in Florida in February 2003 on dozens of charges, among them conspiracy to finance terrorist attacks that killed more than one hundred people—including two Americans. The indictment alleged that ‘he directed the audit of all moneys and property of the PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] throughout the world and was the leader of the PIJ in the United States.’ The charges refer to the Islamic Jihad as ‘a criminal organization whose members and associates engaged in acts of violence including murder, extortion, money laundering, fraud, and misuse of visas, and operated worldwide including in the Middle District of Florida.’ Al-Arian was still facing prosecution in December 2003.” (Ibid.; p. 208.)

20. Note that Harken director and political ally of George Bush Sr. and George Bush Jr. Talat Othman gave a Muslim benediction at the Republican convention. Be sure to review the discussion of Othman above, and note Othman’s role in interceding with then Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill on behalf of the targets of the 3/20/2002 Operation Green Quest raids. ” . . . ‘The Al-Arian case was not a solitary lapse. . . . That outreach campaign opened relationships between the Bush campaign and some very disturbing persons in the Muslim-American community.’ Nevertheless, Norquist continued to build a coalition of Islamist groups to support Bush. On July 31, 2000, the Republican National Convention opened in Philadelphia with a prayer by a Muslim, Talat Othman, in which Othman offered a duaa, a Muslim benediction. It was the first time a Muslim had addressed any major U.S. political gathering. A third-generation American and a businessman from Chicago of Muslim-Arab descent, Othman was chairman of the Islamic Institute. He had also been the board member of Harken Energy representing the interests of Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, the Saudi investor who had helped Bush make his fortune by bailing out Harken in the late eighties. [Emphasis added] When the convention ended on August 3, after George W. Bush had formally been nominated for president, between his family’s extended personal and financial ties to the House of Saud and his campaign’s ties to Islamists, it could be said that he was truly the Arabian Candidate. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 208-209.)

21. Norquist’s Islamic Institute significantly overlapped individuals and institutions targeted in the Operation Green Quest raids of 3/20/2002. A summary account of those raids and the investigation into the SAAR foundation and the Safa trust follows: ” . . . In the early morning hours of Wednesday, March 20, 2002, 150 federal agents—many with their guns drawn—raided fourteen offices and homes in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. FBI and Customs agents loaded seven panel trucks with more than five hundred boxes of documents, computers, and financial records of more than one hundred charities, think tanks, and businesses affiliated with the Herndon, Virginia—based SAAR Foundation. Most of the interrelated businesses and charities were run out of a single office at 555 Grove Street, a brown brick and glass three-story office complex on a quiet street.”
(Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror; by Douglas Farah; Broadway Books [HC] {subsidiary of Random House}; Copyright 2004 by Douglas Farah; ISBN 0-7679-15262-3; p. 152.) [8]

22. “The SAAR Foundation, the backbone of the cluster, takes its name from Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al Rajhi, head of one of Saudi Arabia’s wealthiest families, who funneled millions of dollars through the cluster of businesses and charities. The al Rajhi name was on the Golden Chain list of early al Qaeda supporters that was found in the Benevolence files in Sarajevo.” (Ibid.; pp. 152-153.)

23. “The SAAR Foundation was incorporated in Herndon, Virginia, on July 29, 1983, and formally dissolved on December 28, 2000. However, many of the foundation’s functions were taken over by the Safa Trust, an organization registered at the same address and run by several of the same board members. Law enforcement officials dubbed the maze of the overlapping companies, with shared directors, the Safa Group. The groups often financed each other, sending the money in circles. The scores of Safa organizations are controlled by about fifteen Middle Eastern and Pakistani men who serve with each other on a host of institutional boards. Four senior leaders of the network are Iraqis who had lived in Saudi Arabia, and have been members of the Muslim Brotherhood.” (Ibid.; p. 153.)

24. Note the role of Yaqub Mirza in the genesis of the organizations associated with SAAR and Safa Trust. “In the United States, the men used Saudi money to launch some of the nation’s leading Muslim organizations. In 1983, with money from the al Rajhi family, the SAAR Foundation was born. The director was Yaqub Mirza, a Pakistani native with a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas. Other groups were formed shortly afterward. Five of the top Safa executives live in spacious homes on adjoining lots in Safa Court in Herndon, a twenty-two-acre parcel of land bought by one of the SAAR-affiliated firms in 1987.” (Idem.)

25. “In time, the Safa network owned or invested in scores of businesses worldwide: dairy farms in Zimbabwe; schools in Ivory Coast; a huge poultry business in the state of Georgia; an Islamic mutual fund in Washington state; an investment company in Malaysia; shell companies in Panama; and commercial apple orchards in Chile. By the late 1980’s, the SAAR Foundation had become one of the Washington, D.C., region’s biggest landlords. ‘The funds came very easily,’ said a businessman who dealt with SAAR. ‘If they wanted a few million dollars, they called the al Rajhis, who would send it along.’ At the same time, the leaders of the SAAR Foundation incorporated and sat on the boards of charities and nonprofit organizations. Many were branches of Saudi charities that operate worldwide. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 153-154.)

26. The program notes the significant overlaps between the SAAR network and the Al Taqwa network. ” . . . Operation Green Quest was launched in October 2001 as part of the Customs Service initiative to track bin Laden’s financial empire. In a small, windowless conference room Green Quest agents charted the Byzantine relationships among the more than one hundred Safa network entities, a spiderweb of overlapping names and organizations. Green Quest investigators also charted the relationship among the Safa network entities and the Muslim Brotherhood through the Al Taqwa Management empire of Yousef Nada. U.S. officials said they had tracked about $20 million from Safa entities flowing through Nada’s Bank al Taqwa, but said the total could be much higher.” (Ibid.; pp. 154-155.)

27. “The ties between Nada and Safa leaders were many and long-standing, as were their ties to other Brotherhood leaders. Two members of the Safa Group helped set up Bank al Taqwa in the Bahamas and several Safa leaders loaned Nada money. In 1976, two other men who later became prominent in the Safa Group founded Nada International, a Brotherhood bank in Liechtenstein. For a time, Sulaiman Abdul al Rajhi, the SAAR Foundation founder, worked for Nada at that bank. Nada International was designated a terrorist financier by the Treasury Department after 9/11. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 155.)

28. Do not Fail to take note of the role in the SAAR/Safa Trust milieu of Cherif Sedky, the above-mentioned lawyer for Khalid bin Mahfouz. The milieu targeted by the 3/20/2002 Green Quest raids is the BCCI/Harken milieu. It should not be surprising, therefore, to see the FBI, under Mueller, covering up Operation Green Quest. ” . . . SAAR lawyers said the $1.8 billion was reported because of a clerical error, despite the fact that the ten-digit number, $1,783,545,883, was repeated at least seven times on the form. Cherif Sedky, the foundation’s treasurer, said that he ‘did not recall’ that amount of money flowing through the company. . . . There is another thread in the Safa network that has drawn scrutiny from federal investigators, For the last five years of its existence, the treasurer of the SAAR Foundation, the group’s central entity, was Cherif Sedky, an American lawyer representing the al Rajhi family. Sedky is also the representative and business partner of Khalid bin Mahfouz, one of the wealthiest men in the world and longtime banker to the Saudi royal family. . . .” (Ibid.; p. 156.)

29. The Operation Green Quest raids were triggered by a raid on the aforementioned Sami al-Arian, the supporter of Bush and associate of Grover Norquist. ” . . . The Safa Group might have escaped scrutiny in 2001, if not for a raid that occurred seven years earlier, leading to another thread of investigation. In 1995, the FBI raided the home and offices of Sami al-Arian, a Kuwaiti-Palestinian computer science professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. The feds suspected al-Arian, a slight, bearded, and balding man, was secretly funneling money to terrorists. They believed he was a senior member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group that unleashes suicide bombers against Israelis.” (Ibid.; p. 158.)

30. “Al-Arian was a vocal activist on Palestinian causes, and he frequently spoke at Islamic conferences. At one 1991 conference, al-Arian, dressed in the flowing robes of an imam, was videotaped shouting in Arabic ‘Let us Damn America, let us damn Israel. Let us damn their allies until death.’ In the early 1990s, al-Arian set up organizations to raise money for orphans and widows and the study of Islam. He used the organizations to sponsor Muslim conferences, including one that featured Omar Abdul Rahman, the blind Sheik who instigated the 1993 World Trade Center attack.” (Idem.)

31. “Al-Arian also sponsored the U.S. visa of Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, who joined al-Arian on the university faculty from 1992 to 1994. But Shallah suddenly disappeared in October 1995, immediately following the assassination of PIJ leader Fat’hi Ibrahim Shikaki. Shallah resurfaced a few days later at Shikaki’s funeral in Damascus, where the slain leader’s body was taken with full military honors. Shallah, standing by the casket, had been named Shikaki’s successor. Al-Arian said he was ‘shocked’ at Shallah’s ties to PIJ. But the FBI finally swooped in.” (Ibid.; pp. 158-159.)

32. “The raid on al-Arian led to the Safa Group. The FBI found letters documenting Safa entities’ financial support of al-Arian to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars a year. In a September 7, 1993, letter, Safa Group leaders told one al-Arian-led group: ‘We consider you a part of us and an extension of us and we as a part of you,’ adding that their financial donation of tens of thousands of dollars was ‘for you as a group, regardless of the party or façade you use the donation for.'” (Ibid.; p. 159.)

33. “But the al-Arian and Safa Group investigations languished. In the 2000 elections al-Arian supported George W. Bush, urging Muslims to vote Republican as the best hope of ending discrimination against Arab-Americans. Al-Arian and his family were photographed with a beaming Bush and his wife, Laura, during a Florida campaign stop. Al-Arian liked to boast that he had delivered ‘considerably more’ than the 537 votes that gave Bush his victory in Florida and allowed him to capture the White House. On June 20, 2001, al-Arian was invited to the White House as part of a large delegation of Muslims to be briefed by presidential adviser Karl Rove.” (Idem.)

34. Bush associate Talat Othman, a director of Norquist’s Islamic Institute, went to bat on behalf of the targets of the Operation Green Quest raids of 2002. “In 2002, during the presidency of George W. Bush, Othman again won access to the White House and met with Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill to discuss U.S. government raids on Muslim charities that were allegedly funding terror.”
(House of Bush/House of Saud; p. 125.) [4]

35. Is it a “coincidence” that federal employees in Tampa “accidentally” destroyed key paperwork in the al-Arian case?! ” . . . In December 2003, clerks at a federal courthouse in Tampa accidentally destroyed search warrants in the Al-Arian case. The documents contained affidavits from federal agents that supported 1995 searches of Al-Arian’s home and offices and were among thousands of documents shredded sometime between 1998 and 2002. As this book went to press, there were serious questions as to whether the destruction of the documents might affect his prosecution.” (Ibid.; p. 208.)

36. Reviewing information presented in FTR#462 [9], the program highlights the FBI’s attempts at monopolizing the Operation Green Quest investigation. Other agencies allege that the bureau is actively subverting their efforts at pursuing the case. ” . . . But as the Green Quest team made headlines, its investigations triggered a bitter dispute within the government. Internally, FBI officials have derided Green Quest agents as a bunch of ‘cowboys’ whose actions have undermined more important, long-range FBI investigations into terrorist financing. Green Quest sources, in turn, accuse the FBI of jealousy. Now that the Customs-led Green Quest operation has been folded into the new Homeland Security Department, Newsweek has learned, t

he FBI and its parent agency, the Justice Department, have demanded that the White House instead give the FBI total control over Green Quest.”
(“Whose War on Terror?”; Newsweek; 12/10/2003; p. 1.) [10]

37. “One senior law-enforcement official called the lack of coordination between the FBI and Green Quest ‘an intolerable situation’ and noted that the bureau–not Homeland Security—has been formally designated by President Bush as the ‘lead agency’ for terrorism investigations. ‘You can’t have two lead agencies’ conducting terror cases, the official said.” (Idem.)

38. “The FBI-Justice move, pushed by DOJ criminal Division chief Michael Chertoff and Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, has enraged Homeland Security officials, however. They accuse the bureau of sabotaging Green Quest investigations—by failing to turn over critical information to their agents—and trying to obscure a decadelong record of lethargy in which FBI offices failed to aggressively pursue terror-finance cases.” (Idem.)

39. “‘They [The FBI] won’t share anything with us,’ said a Homeland Security official. ‘Then they go to the White House and they accuse us of not sharing . . . If they can’t take it over, they want to kill it.’ . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 1-2.)

40. Note that Yaqub Mirza, who set up the organizations targeted in the investigations into SAAR and Safa Trust, is alleged to have influence high inside the FBI. Mirza has not been charged by the Operation Green Quest investigators. ” . . . 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) [11]

41. “Perhaps the FBI’s biggest blunder was in ignoring the enormous alleged terrorist financial network of companies and nonprofit organizations mostly in Herndon, Virginia, named by investigators as the ‘SAAR Network.’ The FBI had been aware that the SAAR Network was funneling money to al-Arian. The FBI chose to ignore the case for unknown reasons, though some have speculated it was due to the SAAR Network’s close association to wealthy Saudis who funded the network.” (Idem.)

42. “It was not until Operation Green Quest, a joint task force headed by U.S. Customs which sought to disrupt terrorist financing, picked up the scent of the SAAR Network that a raid occurred. In March, 2002, Green Quest, in a victory for Americans everywhere, raided the SAAR Network in 15 locations in the largest terrorist financial bust in U.S. history. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 2-3.)

43. ” . . . 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.)