OCTOBER 16, 2013
A respected veteran federal prosecutor got fired for reporting government misconduct involving a terrorism fundraising operation run by 9/11 hijacker Mohamaed Atta, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court against the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Eric Holder.
The complaint, filed this month in United States District Court for the District of Columbia, is downright chilling. It outlines an alarming retaliation plot at the upper levels of the DOJ to oust an esteemed prosecutor who had received numerous awards for outstanding performance. Scarier even is that the feds failed to act on evidence that linked domestic fundraising to the 9/11 terrorists because it was uncovered by the Assistant U.S. Attorney under fire for exposing government wrongdoing.
The ousted prosecutor, identified only as John Doe in the complaint, led an investigation dubbed Money Exchange that uncovered evidence that Atta was raising cash for terrorist missions in the U.S. before 2000. Rather than focus on his solid investigative work, his bosses at the DOJ retaliated against him for refusing to sign off on an illegal search and seizure in the terrorism fundraising case. His superiors, George W. Bush appointees, approved the illegal search anyways and the prosecutor blew the whistle on the wrongdoing.
“John Doe made additional disclosures regarding his supervisors’ misconduct from 2005 through 2008 which are protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act,” the complaint says. “These additional protected disclosures included reports of misconduct by his superiors in disciplinary proceedings, in political hirings, and in mishandling of a terrorist investigation.”
Besides forcing the whistleblower out, the DOJ hierarchy continued punishing him by snubbing his topnotch investigative work on the terrorism financing case, which spanned several years. In fact, he came under fire for distributing a memo on the Money Exchange investigation to the DOJ counterterrorism division as part of an agency directive to promptly make disclosures of national security information to all law enforcement components.
Incredibly, authorities never followed through with the valuable evidence that the former federal prosecutor and his team provided, according to the lawsuit. “On May 23, 2008, John Doe urged the Acting United States Attorney to act upon the Money Exchange Memorandum because bank records underlying the terrorist funding would be destroyed after 7 years,” the complaint says.
“On May 27, 2008, the United State Attorney ordered John Doe to retrieve the May 5 Money Exchange Memorandum from all recipients. The Acting United States Attorney then criticized John Doe for “going outside the chain of command.” The Acting United States Attorney ordered John Doe to turn over the Money Exchange case materials to another AUSA. That AUSA never followed up on the Money Exchange Memorandum.”
If the allegations in the complaint are true, heads should roll at the DOJ for allowing a personal vendetta to interfere with a terrorism investigation. While the complaint doesn’t mention names, you can deduct that the Assistant U.S. Attorney suing the DOJ was pretty high up at the agency and probably has a boatload of evidence that authorities prefer to keep from going public.
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