hat tip-Janet L.
By Paul Sperry
FrontPageMagazine.com | 6/20/2008
If the Taliban catches an American spy, they slit the informer’s throat. If we catch a pro-Taliban spy, he gets a slap on the wrist after getting a letter from a Muslim pressure group urging leniency. Who says we’re winning this war?
Last month, Taliban fighters claimed to have killed a “female U.S. spy” for helping American forces in Afghanistan. Once all the evidence against the alleged spy was gathered, they slit her throat with a knife.
Compare that with the kid glove treatment of Sgt. Muhammad Weiss Rasool, a Muslim cop in the nation’s capital who tipped off the target of an FBI terrorism investigation into a pro-Taliban mosque.
Despite his arrest, confession and recent conviction in federal court, Rasool, an Afghan immigrant, will do no jail time and will continue to collect a paycheck from taxpayers pending the results of an internal-affairs probe by the Fairfax County Police Department outside Washington.
Rasool took an oath to protect this country several years ago when he joined the FCPD, which is the largest force in Virginia and a key partner with the FBI in investigating major terror cases in the Washington area, including the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
But Rasool put his religion ahead of his adopted country when he alerted a fellow member of his mosque that he was under federal surveillance. At his Muslim brother’s request, he searched a police database and confirmed that FBI agents were tailing him.
When agents went to arrest the target early one morning, they found him and his family already dressed and destroying evidence. They knew they had a mole and worked back through the system to find Rasool.
That’s when agents discovered the police sergeant had breached their database at least 15 times to look up names of other contacts, including relatives, to see if they showed up on the terrorist watch list. (As part of post-9/11 data-sharing, local police now have access to classified federal case files on terrorists maintained within the NCIC, or National Crime Information Center system.)
Rasool’s actions “damaged the integrity of the NCIC system and jeopardized at least one federal investigation,” U.S. prosecutors said in court papers filed last month. “The defendant’s actions could have placed federal agents in danger.”
Rasool, 31, at first claimed he didn’t know the terrorist target. He confessed only after hearing a recording of his message for the suspect, who was a cleric in his local Taliban-sympathizing mosque. Rasool finally pleaded guilty to illegally searching a federal database.
Despite his subsequent conviction, however, Fairfax County has left him on the force, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. The leniency afforded Rasool is unprecedented, given how he copped to the crime – and not just any crime, but one that betrayed his fellow officers and country.
It also contrasts starkly with the recent handling of other Arab and Muslim government employees caught breaching classified databases.
The city of Rochester, N.Y., for example, summarily fired a Muslim 911 operator, Nadire Zenelaj, well before she was formally charged last month with illegally searching the names of hundreds of friends in the terrorist watch list. And as part of a federal plea deal, Lebanese national Nada Prouty resigned from the U.S. government after confessing she accessed a restricted FBI database to see if relatives were being investigated for terrorist activities.
Unlike these alleged spies, however, Rasool has a powerful patron in Washington — the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which lobbied on his behalf during his prosecution.
“I have always found Sgt. Rasool eager to promote a substantive relationship between the Fairfax County Police Department and the local Muslim community,” wrote CAIR Governmental Affairs Coordinator Corey Saylor in a letter to the federal judge, who ended up denying prosecutors the jail time they requested for Rasool. (He got off lightly with a fine and two years probation.)
Indeed, Rasool acted as CAIR’s representative on the police force, and even worked with the group to kill a successful counterterror-training program within the department.
Rasool and other Muslim officers tied to CAIR claimed the course taught by the respected Higgins Center for Counter Terrorism Research portrayed Islam in a bad light. CAIR phoned Fairfax County Police Chief David Rohrer to complain, and the chief canceled the training in 2006.
That same year, Rohrer spoke at CAIR’s annual fundraising dinner in Washington, crediting the group with “helping police departments to better understand the Muslim community.”
But the chief was being used — by the Islamist enemy. It turns out his aggrieved sergeant at the time was under federal investigation for aiding and abetting terrorists. And so was CAIR — the group from whom Rohrer was accepting phone calls and on whom he was conferring legitimacy. In fact, U.S. prosecutors at the time were adding CAIR to a list of co-conspirators in a terror scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers and their families.
Yet CAIR and Rasool teamed up to persuade the politically correct Rohrer to nix the anti-terror training, which included counterintelligence measures to help police guard against the very infiltration from terror supporters and facilitators that has taken place on Rohrer’s watch.
Sadly, the chief appears more concerned about protecting the force from charges of “Islamophobia” than Islamist penetration.
Rasool, still on paid leave, says he hopes to be permanently reinstated. If so, it would mark a humiliating defeat in our battle against the growing Islamist 5th column in America. Rasool has a dangerous religious conflict, and should never wear the uniform again.
Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.” Email: [email protected].