Thursday, February 26, 2004

Scary Advisors 101 - the Ongoing Story: This White House Chooses to Fight Terrorism With Those Supporting Terrorist Acts Against the U.S.

Much has been made of the heavy influence on Mr. Bush from people like Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, and Richard Perle (whose new book "An End to Evil" would be better titled "Evil For Fun & Profit"). Now it has become clear that just being scary isn't enough for two of these close Bush advisors, Karl (with a "K") Rove and Grover Norquist. These guys are not just influential, they are downright dangerous.

Rove & Norquist, who have the ear of the president (and the brain?) are, incredibly, so intent with pushing their agenda of world pre-emptive expansion, that they have no idea of the possible consequences, nor the resulting idiocy of their actions. Here is just a small piece of some good investigative journalism..

The rise of Khaled Saffuri to political prominence within the U.S. Muslim community has all the ingredients of a Horatio Alger success story. Brought up as a stateless exile in Kuwait, Saffuri came to America as a student in 1982, went to college in San Diego, and soon gravitated into the world of Muslim activism.

In 1998, along with Republican activist Grover Norquist, Saffuri established the Islamic Institute in Washington with the stated purpose of promoting free-market ideals in the Muslim world and of bringing American Muslims into the Republican Party.

Recognition of his role came with a thunderclap during the 2000 presidential campaign, when Karl Rove named him the Bush campaign's point man for Muslim outreach. With George W. Bush in the White House, Khaled Saffuri had arrived.

By all accounts, Saffuri put his new prominence to use, promoting the friends who had helped him achieve his newfound status and advocating for the issues about which they cared. One by one, he introduced them to President Bush and his entourage. With Saffuri frequently smiling in the background, they proudly posed for campaign photographs and, later, attended White House events.

Now, however, some of the very people Saffuri introduced to Bush and Rove are in federal prison on terrorism-related charges. Others have been expelled from the country. Still other former colleagues and donors have become subjects of a massive federal probe into U.S. funding of terrorist organizations that is code-named Operation Greenquest.

Norquist, the conservative fund-raiser and antipork president of Americans for Tax Reform, insists that any attempt to tie Saffuri to terrorist supporters is "guilt by association." Those who make such accusations, Norquist tells reporters, are "racists and bigots."

But Saffuri's ties to radical Islamists and apologists for terror are neither superficial nor coincidental. An Insight investigation has uncovered a consistent pattern of fund-raising and influence operations in which Saffuri played a prominent role side by side with Abdurahman Alamoudi, a well-known Muslim activist who was Saffuri's employer at the American Muslim Council (AMC). Alamoudi was arrested last September on charges of illegally taking cash payments from the government of Libya in exchange for lobbying the Bush administration to lift sanctions against the Qaddafi regime.

Alamoudi also was one of the leaders of a vast network of Hamas supporters operating across the United States under the guise of American Muslim activist groups.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Alamoudi attended a leadership conference in Beirut in January 2001 along with top leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda. These and other Alamoudi actions and statements were cited by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Brett Gentrup in a September 2003 affidavit in support of Alamoudi's arrest.

Another key Saffuri ally, Sami Amin al-Arian, was arrested on Feb. 20, 2003, by federal agents in Tampa, Fla., because of his alleged ties to Palestinian terrorists. Like Saffuri, al-Arian is a Palestinian who came to this country from Kuwait. He was the subject of a long-standing criminal investigation because of the leadership role he allegedly played in Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group that has claimed responsibility for the murder of hundreds of Israelis and more than a dozen Americans, and that raises money for terror in the United States.

The federal indictment against al-Arian alleges that he used his position as a professor at the University of South Florida to gain visas for terrorists to enter the United States. It also alleges that he transferred cash into overseas accounts that were used for the planning or support of terrorist operations that killed Americans.

Of the 40 donors to (Saffuri's) PAC, the documents show, nearly half have been arrested or are under investigation for terrorist ties.

When asked by Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson if he thought radical Muslim groups such as the friends and associates of Khaled Saffuri were exercising "undue influence" at the White House, Karl Rove simply shrugged and replied, "No."

As evidence of Saffuri's ties to three prominent terrorist suspects deepens, say alarmed conservatives, those blanket denials may look to be increasingly hollow.

As has often been noted before on this blog, the people that the president has chosen to advise him - and how that advice has been handled - speak volumes about about his misunderstanding of leadership. In this case, as in so many others with Mr. Bush, the uncontrolled zeal of those who would convince him to act is, ironically, NOT making this country any safer from terrorism.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link