For ten years, Yousef, the eldest son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, was a spy for the Shin Bet (Israeli version of the FBI). In March, he became a bestselling author with the release of his autobiography, Son of Hamas.
By the Shin Bet’s own admission, Mosab was the most valuable agent it ever had or ever hoped to have. He exposed countless cells, operations, and plots and was a key player in filling Israeli prisons with bomb-makers and terrorists.
“So many people owe him their life and don’t even know it,” said Gonen Ben-Yitzhak, Mosab’s Shin Bet handler. “People who did a lot less were awarded the Israel Security Prize.”
When Mosab left the Shin Bet several years ago, he came to the U.S. and appealed to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for political asylum. That’s when things got really screwy.
They turned him down.
And now they’re even trying to deport him. In terrorist-speak, that is a death sentence. If some Muslim zealot doesn’t cut his throat for collaborating with Israel, Mosab will be killed because he renounced Islam and became a Christian.
And why did DHS deny him asylum?
In her May pre-hearing statement, Homeland Security attorney Kerri Calcador cited a portion of a Son of Hamas manuscript draft, provided as evidence by Mosab and his attorney, in which “a member of Shin Bet shows the respondent a list of suspects implicated in a March 2001 suicide bombing and asks the respondent whether he knows the individuals. The respondent indicates that he does know five of the people on the list and states that he previously drove them to safe houses.”
“At bare minimum,” Ms. Calcador concludes, “evidence of the respondent’s transport of Hamas members to safe houses … indicates that the respondent provided material support to a [Tier 1] terrorist organization.” And that makes him a security threat to the United States.
Out of 251 pages in which a slew of edgy undercover missions are described in detail, all DHS could come up with as evidence of terrorist activities is that he gave five guys a ride home from prison. And the attorney didn’t even notice that the ride and lots more all took place while he was serving Israeli intelligence and fighting terrorism. Using this kind of logic, I guess James Bond, Ethan Hunt, and Jason Bourne are terrorists too
“My view is that the decision to deny him political refugee status was incredibly idiotic,” former CIA director James Woolsey told reporters at a recent Capitol Hill dinner to honor Mosab, Gonen, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Representatives Doug Lamborn (R-CO) and Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Iranian-American pro-democracy activist Amil Imani. “It’s hard to think of a worse immigration decision in history. It’s fundamentally nuts.”
The Israeli Knesset seems to agree.
Before flying to Washington, Mosab received a commendation letter from the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, acknowledging his extraordinary service to the state of Israel.
Nevertheless, on Wednesday morning, at a DHS detention facility on the Mexican border, a judge will decide the future of Mosab Hassan Yousef.
Personally, I side with Woolsey.
Before we started writing Son of Hamas, Mosab and I sat in my home, and I listened for more than 20 hours as he shared his entire story for the first time. I was frequently overwhelmed by his intensity and refreshed by his wonderful political incorrectness. Of course, living through a couple of intifadas, three imprisonments, torture, military incursions, and the minute-by-minute pressure of being a double agent will do that to a guy.
After living together for a week and collaborating every day for the next four months, I sent the final manuscript to Tyndale House, fully convinced that Mosab Hassan Yousef is indeed a security threat — but to radical Islam, not to America. He is fully committed to exposing its deceptions and seductions, even if it costs him his life. He has already lost his family, his country, and everything else he holds dear.