Ex-AG Mukasey Pals with Terrorists

Ex-Attorney General Michael Mukasey and other big-name politicians are demanding that an anti-government Iranian group, MEK, be removed from the U.S. terrorism list despite links to recent murders of Iranian civilian scientists. Former FBI official Coleen Rowley offers evidence of Mukasey aiding this terrorist organization.

By Coleen Rowley

Dear Department of Justice and Department of Treasury Officials:

We might have just helped you bag another material supporter of terrorism this week! And you’ll never believe who the culprit is! We were even able to tape record some of his own damning admissions! (That’s the reason for my calls last week to your duty attorneys and media offices.)

As you know, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has an ongoing investigation into several high profile former political figures, trying to discover their financial transactions with the terrorists in the Mujaheddin e Khalq aka “MEK”.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey

One of the former political officials apparently being investigated for his financial transactions and paid advocacy on behalf of MEK is former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Well, Mukasey happened to get tapped on March 15 to give an “ethical leadership” speech at the University of St. Thomas Law School and some of us went to hear what he had to say.

As an aside, the overall thrust of his speech was anything but ethical. Instead he mostly defended the Bush Administration and its lawyers for having used their talents “to push the legal limits” of what the Executive Branch could do in its “war on terror.” (Of course there are many legal scholars who think those Bush attorneys pushed over the legal limits.)

He especially defended John Yoo and Robert Delahunty (now a St. Thomas law professor) who, while working in Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel, co-wrote memos in early 2002 claiming the U.S. did not have to follow the Geneva Conventions.

Researchers have since gained evidence through multiple interviews of returned soldiers that the major factor in U.S. troops’ having committed atrocities and abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as terrible torture of detainees was their being told they no longer had to follow the Geneva Conventions.

But Mukasey didn’t seem to care much about any abuses or torture. In fact, although he refused to answer during his Senate Confirmation hearing whether waterboarding was torture, he explicitly declared that waterboarding is not torture and therefore was/is not illegal as practiced by CIA contractors.

Of course, we are well aware of Obama’s instructions for you to never look backward when it comes to the torture crimes, but here’s the part that could allow you to put the handcuffs on your old boss for his new and apparently ongoing terrorist crimes!

After Mr. Mukasey completed his initial speech, he was confronted in a rather light but savvy way by another panelist, Attorney John Lundquist, about his (Mukasey’s) paid advocacy for the Iranian terrorist group, Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK) which the U.S. State and Treasury Departments have long designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

Mukasey admitted being paid by MEK and admitted he and his friends are in a group helping the terrorist group by advocating for their removal from the FTO list. Mukasey later inexplicably added that he still supports the 2009 Holder v Humanitarian Law Project Supreme Court Decision (which held that such advice and assistance as he’s admittedly providing in coordination with a designated foreign terrorist organization falls within “material support of terrorism” even if it’s nothing but speech).

Since ignorance of the law is no defense, Mukasey’s proffered explanation that MEK did not tell him what to say, just inculpates him further, doesn’t it? He insisted that as long as MEK did not write his speech, his acceptance of the terrorist organization’s money and his meetings with MEK members to coordinate his appearances and advocacy are not enough to get him into trouble.

To be sure, Mukasey also made a comment, kind of going on the offense in which he accused the Treasury of improperly targeting him and his political friends by looking into the handsome amounts of money they have all been paid by MEK.

He claimed that the Treasury’s subpoenas looking into his and other high-level former politicians’ payments from MEK stemmed from the filing of their amicus brief arguing for MEK to be removed from the terrorist organization list.

A panelist then questioned Mukasey’s use of the Judiciary as somewhat hypocritical to second guess the Executive’s terrorist group designations since, throughout his speech, Mukasey had constantly denigrated the role of the Judiciary in handling terrorism matters, repeatedly opining that the Judiciary is not equipped to have a role in what the Executive does to combat terrorism.

Hypocrisy aside, the real smoking gun here is that Mukasey admits he was paid handsomely by the MEK to advocate for them. (I’m sorry to say we failed to ask him to provide the actual dollar figure, but…) He didn’t deny that his “expert advice and assistance” to MEK was coordinated, only that the designated terrorist group did not dictate what he said.

What’s worse is that Mukasey and his MEK-paid friends scoff at the laws and government terrorist designations they insist on applying to others. As Attorney General, Mukasey undoubtedly ordered prosecutions of many Muslims for financial transactions with FTOs involving far less money than he’s been paid.

In their January 2011 opinion piece “MEK Is Not a Terrorist Group,” Mukasey’s group discloses the perhaps bigger reason for their support of MEK than the thousands of dollars they were each paid, claiming that MEK “has provided valuable intelligence to the United States on Iranian nuclear plans.”

Could that be their real motive? Could there be more money for Mukasey’s group in starting a new war whether based on a terrorist group’s lies or not? This situation should bring back memories of old scoundrel con-artist Ahmed Chalabi’s dissident group who, despite not being trusted by most CIA analysts, served the purpose nicely in conjuring up false evidence of Saddam’s WMD for Bush’s neo-con team to take us to war on Iraq.

Could it be that Mukasey and friends want to polish up the MEK to gin up false intelligence for a new war on Iran similar to how James Woolsey, Richard Perle and others polished up and promoted Ahmed Chalabi’s disinfo group? Is it not true that credible news reports link the terrorist group MEK to the recent assassinations of Iranian scientists?

Are MEK terrorists so reckless they are mistakenly even assassinating innocent Iranian electrical engineers? So not only does the MEK have a long past history of attacking civilians (and also killing U.S. troops) but they are currently assassinating scientists and students? And providing false “intelligence” to gin up a new war on Iran which, like Iraq, does not possess a nuclear bomb?

So Mukasey and his political friends are working to welcome a terrorist organization into the fold to gin up war on Iran just as Chalabi’s group helped gin up war on Iraq? Well, I can’t answer all these questions from only hearing one Mukasey speech but it seems to me there is plenty of probable cause for you to investigate. I will keep the tape recording of the culprit’s damning admissions in a secure place and try to maintain a good chain of evidence if you ever need it.

I recognize this situation undoubtedly puts current government authorities like yourselves in the extremely awkward position of looking into your former bosses, not only former AG Mukasey, but also former FBI Director Louie Freeh, former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani, Former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, former White House Counter Terrorism Advisor Fran Townsend, former UN Ambassador John Bolton, former Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean, etc.

It’s obviously quite the example of where the Patriot Act’s broadening of the “material support” definition along with the Holder v Humanitarian Law Project’s broad interpretation can lead. (I’m on record, by the way, that the Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project decision is wrong for just these reasons, that it impinges on freedom of speech, but as you well know and as good ole Janet Reno used to always say, “the law is the law!”)

And don’t forget, in years gone by, when the law was applied fairly, it was applied equally to even corrupt presidents like Nixon, and to some of their politically appointed Attorneys General if/when there was probable cause to believe they were involved in corrupt, unlawful actions.

Anyway, you know what Homeland Security’s public service message tells us, “If you see something, say something!”

Coleen Rowley, a FBI special agent for almost 24 years, was legal counsel to the FBI Field Office in Minneapolis from 1990 to 2003. She wrote a “whistleblower” memo in May 2002 and testified to the Senate Judiciary on some of the FBI’s pre 9-11 failures. She retired at the end of 2004, and now writes and speaks on ethical decision-making and balancing civil liberties with the need for effective investigation. [This story first appeared at HuffingtonPost and is reprinted with the permission of the author.]


16 comments for “Ex-AG Mukasey Pals with Terrorists

  1. Nick
    March 22, 2012 at 19:00

    Ms Rowley, Al Jazeera is a fascist, drug-trafficking, funny-money pushing bankster mouthpiece.

  2. Coleen Rowley
    March 21, 2012 at 23:54

    For those interested, watch this recent Al Jazeera “Inside Story” panel (featuring Glenn Greenwald and WINEP’s Patrick Clausen) vigorously debating these same issues relating to MEK: http://youtu.be/RR7mu5z9t9k

    • incontinent reader
      March 22, 2012 at 02:51

      Thank you for the cite. It does much to clarify the facts and issues that are being debated.

  3. incontinent reader
    March 21, 2012 at 21:44

    Mr. Alisadeq, thank you for websites, but sorry, the MEK has been involved in many confirmed terrorist acts in a sovereign country, including assassinations which were executed in conjunction with the Mossad. As measured against the State Department criteria, that organization deserves to remain on the list. Furthermore, until it is removed, the people involved in supporting that group- whether or not they are high profile politicos- are committing very serious felonies under the law. The fact that these individuals should so blatantly interfere with U.S. policy in an election year brings back memories of Nixon in 1968 and Reagan in 1980 about which Mr. Parry has written so extensively.

  4. Nick
    March 21, 2012 at 18:54

    Dear Ms Rowley,

    i wish to salute you on your bravery and insouciance (probably misspelled that) in confronting THE EVIL ONES and their minions. This is the way these maggots need to be called out. What, destroying the luces of millions is some kind of petty crime???

    The whole of the US “judiciary” (i call them the gatekeepers of the ethnic cleansing, genocidally farcical war on drugs’ Inquisition) needs to be purged. All of those pathetic creatures calling themselves “US Attorneys” (aside from people like Garrett in New Orleans who did investigare JFK’s in-plain-sight murderers only to have 60+ witnesses murdered)who have been the material authors of the destruction of the Constitution need to be tried and punished severely. The “Justice Dept” needs a thororough housecleaning or, better yet, dismantling.

    Thank you for reminding these gov cockroaches that it’s our country as much as their oligarchical mafiosi bosses and we’ll fight for it.

    Good luck.

  5. Frances in California
    March 21, 2012 at 16:40

    Oh, goody . . . now we’re going to go be best buds with the mujahedeen, er, I mean the MEK, so we can trounce the Soviet Union, er, I mean Iran, in Afghanistan, er, I mean . . . oh, I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

  6. March 21, 2012 at 14:20

    Does the MEK belong on the terrorist list?

    Indeed, support for delisting “is widespread in Washington.” For years, Congress has called for MEK’s delisting, with a majority going on the record and calling it a legitimate opposition to the Iranian regime. This was reiterated by 228 members in October 2000 and 150 members in December 2002. Most recently, 98 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle co-sponsored House Resolution 60, which urges delisting.

    Despite a federal court ruling in 2010, the State Department has been delaying for 20 months. Why has it refused to present evidence to the court all this time? This unlawful listing is the real reason why so many senior officials have been furious and are therefore advocating on behalf of the MEK.

    I encourage readers to read about MEK:

    • Coleen Rowley
      March 21, 2012 at 23:50

      Al Jazeera’s “Inside Story” has just conducted a great panel vigorously debating these same issues relating to MEK: http://youtu.be/RR7mu5z9t9k

  7. Ethan Allen
    March 20, 2012 at 19:22

    While I concur with the suggestion that Mukasey is just another corrupt neoCONervative operative and completely support Ms. Rowley’s quest to expose those who compromise the integrity of our government, I fail to understand the need to employ revisionism to bolster an otherwise viable theory. Thus far, despite decades of quality work by far to few honest investigative journalists, there has never been the will to actually prosecute the “high crimes” foisted upon the world by U.S. oligarths and their private facilitators; rather it be Tricky Dick, LBJ, The Crawford Coward, or any of their underlings. We need to focus on the part of the Constitutional oath of office that all of these miscreants swear that binds them to defending our people against all enemies within; especially when it is self-descriptive!

    NOTE: Mr. Sereno – All Presidential appointees that come before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearings are sworn in. Go to the Senate.gov website and check the committee’s archive.

  8. March 20, 2012 at 16:34

    Let me correct my last comment. The Wikipedia reference was # 40, not # 43. The link returned — This page is a 403, forbidden page.”

  9. March 20, 2012 at 16:21

    I’m not particularly adept at searching the Web and I think some of your readers may be like me. For our sake, I hope to get an answer to a simple question that popped into my mind upon reading this riveting article. Was Mukasey under oath during his Senate Committee meeting or in his written response to questions from Senators? I went to the first link in the article, “he refused to answer,” and got this, “The URL contained a malformed video ID.” Next, I went to “Michael Mukasey” in Wikipedia and still was unable to find a specific answer to my question. Upon linking to reference 43 therein, I got an interesting response, “a 403, forbidden page.” What’s a computer challenged person to do? I proceeded with the article and want to thank Ms. Rowley for such an enlightening contribution.

    • Coleen Rowley
      March 20, 2012 at 22:48

      I’m sorry about the bad link. I was trying to link to this video of Mukasey being questioned by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: http://youtu.be/Gt8v_GAgOK4. Whitehouse said that Mukasey engaged in a “massive hedge”.

  10. incontinent reader
    March 20, 2012 at 14:27

    Thank you, Ms. Rowley (and Bob Parry) for this excellent article. Glenn Greenwald last week also wrote another that can be read in conjunction with yours, about the group supporting the MEK, including Republicans Frances Townsend of the Bush-Cheney Administration, and Rudy Giuliani who as a former federal prosecutor should know better, as well as Democrats Ed Rendell, and surprisingly, Howard Dean. The cite for that is:

    Thank you also for continuing to apply your craft to these issues. This type of reporting gives us unvarnished truth, with the facts to back it up, and is critical for any of us who want to know what is happening, so that we can make informed decisions when we go to the polls to choose our leaders.

  11. GIngerrogers
    March 20, 2012 at 14:13

    Guess who else is on this list? Michelle “crazyeyes” Bachmann! As a Minnesotan, I hope this is the beginning of her end.

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