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Obama Empire Strikes Back on My PJM ‘Holdergate’ Reporting: ‘We Blame Bush!’

DOJ defends stopping terror finance prosecutions of Islamic leaders by falling back to an old chestnut; Congress is already asking questions.

by
Patrick Poole

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April 19, 2011 - 12:04 am
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The initial salvo from my exclusive PJ Media article last week revealing that Obama’s Department of Justice dropped the prosecution of some of its Muslim allies is just starting to be fired.

Last Thursday I reported on an interview I conducted with a top DOJ official who said that the pending indictments of several prominent leaders of Islamic organizations close to the Obama administration, including one of the co-founders of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Omar Ahmad, on charges of material support for the terrorist group Hamas were scuttled to avoid embarrassing the Obama administration and to avoid inflaming the Muslim community. My source cited a March 31, 2010, internal DOJ memo from Assistant Attorney General David Kris to Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler effectively dropping the prosecution of Ahmad.

When I contacted the Department of Justice National Security Division, public affairs representative Dean Boyd refused to provide me a copy of the memo and declined to comment on the matter. Boyd directed me to submit a FOIA for the information.

But now House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder inquiring about the details of our report. In the letter dated Friday, April 15, King asks for Holder’s reasons for dropping these terror finance prosecutions.

In his letter, he goes beyond my own reporting and states that the DOJ decision was made:

…over the vehement and stated objections of special agents and supervisors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, who had investigated and successfully prosecuted the Holy Land Foundation case.

But now we’re starting to get wind of the Obama administration’s response. Fearful that this could easily turn into “Holdergate,” the administration is trying to spin its way out of this potential morass by returning to an old standard: WE BLAME BUSH!!

That’s right. The excuse they are currently floating to their friends in the establishment media to explain the decision not to prosecute CAIR officials and the other Islamic leaders implicated in the Holy Land Foundation case (all of whom had been named unindicted co-conspirators) is that the Bush administration chose not to prosecute them in 2004 and they were just reaffirming what John Ashcroft had decided way back when.

In one sense, having the DOJ making that claim tacitly vindicates our reporting that Holder’s DOJ had scuttled the pending prosecutions. Our concern was that they would try to deny it altogether and stonewall. Kind of hard to do that now, eh?

There are considerable problems with Holder’s fallback position — though admittedly it will be enough of a bone for the administration’s lapdogs in the establishment media to chew on to attack my “vast right-wing” reporting.

The first obstacle with blaming Bush for this decision is that according to my high-ranking DOJ source, the decision made by Ashcroft and his Bush administration successors was not to never prosecute the CAIR officials and other Islamic leaders, but that they would not go after them now, choosing to prosecute the case systematically as they do in many other federal prosecutions.

Here’s what my source said:

It was always the plan to initially go after the [Holy Land Foundation] leaders first and then go after the rest of the accomplices in a second round of prosecutions. From a purely legal point of view, the case was solid. Jim Jacks [the U.S. attorney in Dallas who prosecuted the Holy Land Foundation executives] and his team were ready to go. There’s a mountain of evidence against all of these groups that was never introduced during the Holy Land trial and it is damning. We’ve got them on wiretaps. That’s exactly why many of these leaders and groups were named unindicted co-conspirators in the first round of prosecutions. [emphasis added]

That’s quite different from what the Obama administration is now trying to float. They’re now claiming that the Bush administration never intended to prosecute any of the co-conspirators. But there’s a considerable gap between “not now” and “not ever.” Hopefully members of Congress won’t be so quick to fall for the bait and will demand proof that this was the Bush administration’s plan all along.

But my DOJ source also later added:

We tried to do what we could during the Bush administration. After 9/11, we had to do something and [the Holy Land Foundation] was the biggest target. If the mistrial hadn’t have happened, we probably would have gone through the second round of prosecutions before the change in administrations.

If the Bush administration would have conducted the second round of prosecutions against some of the other co-conspirators during their term, except for the mistrial in the first round that delayed that plan (the second trial concluded with convictions on all 108 counts in late November 2008 – after Obama had already been elected), then it seems difficult for the Obama administration to claim almost the exact opposite: that their predecessors never intended to do so. Which is it? Someone on the House Judiciary Committee should ask Eric Holder that question when he comes before them on May 3.

Secondly, it seems a little odd that the Obama administration, which, mind you, was elected after campaigning vigorously that the Bush administration had been guilty of politicizing the Department of Justice, would fall back on the alleged decisions of that same administration.

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