Court documents filed last month by the Department of Justice in a federal civil rights lawsuit shows that Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Robert Grant of the FBI Chicago field office had warned the Illinois State Police: newly appointed Muslim chaplain Kifah Mustapha would never pass an FBI background check.
Mustapha’s long association with terrorist group Hamas occurred at virtually the same time that Mustapha was admitted into the FBI Citizens’ Academy sponsored by SAC Grant’s Chicago office. The Academy program required a background check and included a guided tour of the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and the FBI Academy at Quantico.
In each conversation, SAC Grant stated that Mustapha would not pass an FBI background check if he applied for an FBI chaplain position and then proceeded to explain the bases for his opinion.
The DOJ motion is in response to the lawsuit filed by Mustapha after his state police appointment as Muslim chaplain was revoked. Mustapha had initially been accepted as state police chaplain, but after a news story aired reporting Mustapha’s terrorist connections and terror support, the state police conducted another background check. During this check was apparently when the conversations with SAC Grant took place, which resulted in the state police revoking Mustapha’s appointment. Mustapha then sued, claiming ethnic and religious discrimination, with his case being supported by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has also been identified by the FBI as a terrorist front for Hamas.
The FBI, which is not a party to the lawsuit, is seeking to protect the information they shared with the state police on Mustapha, claiming it would reveal sources and collection methods.
There’s not much mystery as to why SAC Grant would tell the Illinois State Police that Kifah Mustapha couldn’t pass an FBI background check. Mustapha is a known Hamas operative, including his prior employment with the Holy Land Foundation, which was listed as a specially designated terrorist group by the U.S. government in December 2001, and whose executives were convicted of terrorism support for Hamas in 2008 and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Mustapha was personally named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator (#31) in the case, and employment records submitted during the trial showed that he received more than $154,000 for his work with the Holy Land Foundation between 1996 and 2000.
Also during the trial, FBI Special Agent Lara Burns testified that Mustapha sang in a band sponsored by the Holy Land Foundation that regularly featured songs dedicated to killing Jews and glorifying Hamas.
In a deposition he gave in a civil trial concerned with the murder of a Chicago teenager killed by Hamas while waiting for a bus in Israel, Mustapha admitted that he was the registered agent for the Holy Land Foundation in Illinois, and also to his involvement with other Hamas front groups, including the Islamic Association for Palestine. He was later hired as an imam by the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, which the Chicago Tribune noted in 2004 has long been a hotbed of Hamas support.
What makes the statements by SAC Grant so puzzling is that at virtually the same time that he was telling the state police that Mustapha couldn’t pass an FBI background check, Mustapha apparently passed an FBI background check when he was admitted to the FBI Citizens’ Academy under the sponsorship of Grant’s office.
The Citizens’ Academy webpage on the FBI’s own website states:
Because of the classified investigative techniques discussed, nominees must also undergo a background check and get an interim security clearance.
In at least some of the FBI programs, each nominee must meet the approval of the special agent in charge. This glaring contradiction has been noted by Mustapha’s attorneys in his lawsuit against the state police, who have issued a subpoena to the FBI requesting all materials involving the FBI background check conducted for Mustapha’s admittance to the FBI Citizens’ Academy.
So how exactly did Kifah Mustapha with his extensive terror ties get cleared to participate in the six-week FBI program? That’s precisely the question I asked when I first broke the story last September about Mustapha being given a guided tour of the top-secret NCTC and the FBI Academy. After my initial story was published, one Homeland Security official contacted me informing me not only that “the plugs had to be pulled” in order for Mustapha to be admitted to the FBI program, but that “the NCTC has Kifah Mustapha on the highest watch list we have.”