Why Is Media Ignoring Two ‘Hezbollah in the U.S.’ Indictments?
This is the third installment of a series derived from two ongoing federal court prosecutions of individuals who allegedly worked as undercover operatives for Iranian Hezbollah’s notorious “Unit 910” foreign terrorist wing. Part I and Part II delivered revelations about U.S. assassination and target surveillance activities of Bronx-based Lebanese immigrant Ali Kourani.
This article examines what has become public so far about a seemingly related case against Samer El Debek of Dearborn, Michigan.
For all intents and purposes, the government’s case against Dearborn, Michigan resident Samer El Debek is on ice.
Little from the government or media has emerged about the El Debek charges filed more than 17 months ago. Those charges stated that, for more than a decade, the naturalized U.S. citizen clandestinely served Iran and Hezbollah as a terrorist operative, scoping out targets as far away as Panama and Thailand.
Also, nothing has yet emerged regarding any connection between El Debek’s case and the very similar case against Bronx-based Ali Kourani. Their indictments were announced the same day, in the same judicial district of New York, in June 2017.
Further, last year’s media reports of the indictments managed to omit the most fascinating details about the El Debek case. Those you can read here.
Federal prosecutors have surprisingly sought and obtained 17 monthly “interest of justice” delays (the last one in October 2018). Meanwhile, the revelatory filings are piling up in the Kourani case. Is anyone else watching?
No news on Islamic terrorism is news in the age of Trump
While a legal strategy no doubt informs the government’s decisions to put off the El Debek case while the Kourani case advances, political bias is the likely culprit behind media failures to dig on either case. Drawing attention to these “Hezbollah in the U.S.” cases, after all, might undermine a demonstrably false narrative that Islamic terror is less of a threat than “alt-right” domestic terrorism inspired by conspiratorial Donald Trump administration dog-whistling.
Not a single reporter has interviewed El Debek’s neighbors, relatives, friends, and co-workers, nor attempted the standard follow-up coverage that should attend a case of such rare import to national security as this. The one New York Times effort to weigh in on the cases, an October 11, 2018 piece by Benjamin Weiser, purposefully overlooked an incredible trove of new revelations about the Kourani case, which was by then readily available. Instead, Weiser focused on an arcane, irrelevant, and judicially debunked angle. The article asked no questions at all about the El Debek situation.
In the 17 months since the El Debek charges were announced, no reporters have even claimed an attempt to ask U.S. prosecutors or the FBI why the El Debek case remains stalled like this -- even though sound and publishable reasons would likely be provided.