The whole world is waiting for the Michael Jackson verdict, but there is a trial going on in Tampa that might turn out to have more world-historical significance. An Al-Arian Update from the Tampa Tribune, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
TAMPA – A retired FBI agent testified Monday that he gave up on efforts to turn Sami Al- Arian into an “asset” in 1992 after determining the University of South Florida professor wasn’t being truthful.
Manny Perez and a fellow agent first interviewed Al-Arian as the first Gulf War approached in 1991. FBI headquarters requested it, Perez said.
Al-Arian said he opposed violence as a solution to problems in the Middle East, Perez said.
“We asked if he was a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and he told us he was not,” Perez said….
Perez, who retired in 2000, testified that he met with Al- Arian four more times in person, including once at Al-Arian’s attorney’s office, and had one telephone conversation in 1992. The professor ended the call by asking if he was under investigation and, upon hearing he was not, requesting not to be contacted anymore.
He said FBI headquarters requested the contact at least twice and that he was told to ask about Bashir Nafi, a man who came to visit Al-Arian and worked with his think tank, the World and Islam Studies Enterprise. The indictment identifies Nafi as an Islamic Jihad founder and a fellow board member.
Al-Arian told him Nafi was not a part of the Islamic Jihad, Perez said.
How would he know?
Defense attorney William Moffitt asked Perez whether he thought Al-Arian could be used as an asset, a person who provides information to the FBI. That was part of the plan, Perez said, but “by the third interview I was convinced … that Mr. Al-Arian was an active member of the [Palestinian Islamic Jihad],” Perez said under cross examination.