The decision of the Justice Department not to prosecute the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), its co-founder, Omar Ahmad, and other unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) case is discouraging and very troubling. The unindicted co-conspirators include the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Muslim Trust (NAMT), two large associations that provide services to the Muslim community.
246 individuals and organizations were designated as unindicted co-conspirators in the Hamas terror finance case, the United States v. Holy Land Foundation. This designation was strongly supported by the record from the trial, and withstood significant legal challenges to have the names removed from the list of co-conspirators.
In November of 2008, in a blog post I wrote on the conviction of the Holy Land Foundation and five of its founders for funneling more than $12 million to Hamas, I stated that it was “clearly the most significant victory in this effort to crack down on terror financing through charitable groups.” I also wrote about the importance in prosecuting these cases, despite the difficulty in tracing money from the streets of the United States to the hands of terrorists overseas. Of all the financial investigations I was involved with in over 30 years of federal investigative work, terrorist financing cases were the most difficult to pursue and prosecute. They were also the most important, as post-9/11 review, intelligence and analysis clearly identified Islamic charities as potential mechanisms to raise and funnel funds to terrorist organizations.
As proven and documented in the HLF prosecution, millions of dollars were exported from the United States to support the terrorist activities of Hamas. Millions of dollars in precious federal law enforcement resources were also expended to investigate and prosecute the organizers responsiblefor these activities, and the “not to be prosecuted” unindicted co-conspirators.
As much as the Holy Land Foundation prosecution sent a clear message that the United States will not tolerate the co-opting of the charitable community by terrorist organizations to support their violent agenda, the failure to further prosecute this case clearly sends the wrong message.