- The Washington Times - Monday, May 6, 2019

A former FBI translator was indicted Monday on charges he covered up extensive personal contacts with the subject of a terrorism investigation.

Abidrizak Haji Raghee Wehelie, 66, of St. Burke, Virginia, faces seven counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in federal prison.

Mr. Wehelie was arrested on Saturday, the Justice Department said. He is due in an Alexandria, Virginia, federal court Monday afternoon.

A contract employee for the FBI, Mr. Wehelie was tasked with translating phone calls made and received by an identified target of a terrorism investigation, according to court documents.

All told, Mr. Wehelie translated or summarized roughly 252 phone calls obtained through surveillance of the subject’s phone.

Although court documents reveal little about the probe, prosecutors said it centered around allegations the subject — identified only as Person A — aided and abetted another individual’s attempts to travel to Somalia and join the al-Shabaab terrorist organization.

Prosecutors say Person A made a call to Mr. Wehelie, and he concealed it by writing the call was made to “an unidentified male.” The content of the call, made in December 2012, is not known.

FBI agents interviewed Mr. Wehelie about the call in June 2016, according to court documents. Prosecutors say Mr. Wehelie minimized his contacts with Person A, insisting to the FBI he never had an actual conversation with him during a 2016 interview.

However, court documents tell a different story. Investigators say the pair were in cellphone contact as early as July 2010 and spoke roughly 10 times between November 2013 and April 2017 along “with several text messages” between the two over a span of four days.

The contacts were not just by phone, prosecutors said. On at least three occasions, investigators observed Mr. Wehelie spending time at Person A’s store and cafe, and they were sitting together on at least one occasion.

Ultimately, Mr. Wehelie admitted he was “very close” to Person A’s father and had known both since Person A was young, according to court documents.

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