- - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Recently, lawyer Faisal Gill, a former Bush appointee and former Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates, spoke before an audience at the Newseum on the subject of “Privacy V.S. Security: A Conversation.” Mr. Gill was elevated to the position of subject matter expert on the discussion of NSA surveillance and legal privacy concerns based on his own experience, having been surveilled electronically at the request of the FBI, and in a manner entirely legal according to current law, as Mr. Gill himself admitted.

Mr. Gill professed himself shocked to discover that the FBI was monitoring his communications, and posited that it was due to his religion (Mr. Gill is a Muslim born in Karachi, Pakistan). Mr. Gill limited his discussion of the controversy regarding his tenure at the Department of Homeland Security to describing it as the effect of “a Salon article” regarding Mr. Gill’s association as a “spokesman” with the American Muslim Council and the Islamic Institute, and having met convicted al Qaeda financier Adurrahman Alamoudi a few times and that Alamoudi was arrested for attempting to assassinate the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Gill did not bother to mention that Alamoudi was in fact the founder of the American Muslim Council, and a financial supporter of the Islamic Institute and an open supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah. Nor did Mr. Gill note that Alamoudi was identified as being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing trial. The Islamic Institute was established by Republican activist Grover Norquist (for an exhaustive statement of facts on Alamoudi and Mr. Norquist’s MB associations see CSP Press’ “Agent of Influence: Grover Norquist and the Assault on the Right), with whom Mr. Gill was also associated.

As the author of that Salon.com article, Mary Jacoby noted at the time:

“The ties among Alamoudi, the Muslim Brotherhood and Gill help explain why officials are concerned about whether Gill was adequately vetted. These relationships are difficult to understand without immersion in the indictments, court transcripts and case exhibits; the concerned officials said they fear that busy political operatives in the administration simply do not grasp the national-security issues at stake. “There’s an overall denial in the administration that the agenda being pushed by Norquist might be a problem,” one official said. “It’s so absurd that a Grover Norquist person could even be close to something like this. That’s really what’s so insidious.”

The revelation that Mr. Gill was surveilled at the request of the FBI ought to have been vindication of the questions raised regarding his background and troubling associations. Indeed of the seven individual Muslim leaders mentioned by Glenn Greenwald in the piece exposing Mr. Gill’s surveillance, two (Anwar Alwaki and Samir Khan) were al Qaeda terrorists killed by hellfire missiles, and four out of remaining five were individuals, like Mr. Gill, with known or suspected ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. (The fifth is known to have ties to Iranian government front organizations.)

Indeed of the other three individuals, Asim Ghafoor worked closely together with Mr. Gill, and the two were partners together at Mr. Gill’s law firm. Mr. Ghafoor was also the spokesman for a foundation (Global Relief Foundation) designated for financing al Qaeda. Global Relief Foundation was also one of the charities CAIR (headed by Nihad Awad, also among those surveilled, according to Mr. Greenwald) directed donations to following 9/11.

Indeed, far from showing that the U.S. government engaged in surveilling Muslim who have absolutely nothing in common except their faith as Mr. Gill alleges, the reality is that the individuals have everything in common, most especially a series of overlapping associations and connections which has the Muslim Brotherhood as the pivot point. Yet it’s precisely the surveillance re-evaluation which is now being used as an excuse to rehabilitate Mr. Gill’s image as a noble victim of government surveillance overreach.

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