Another indication that the new Iraq could be just as unfriendly to the US as the old Iraq? “American Contact? A U.S. citizen accused of ties to Osama bin Laden now works for the new Iraqi government,” from Newsweek, with thanks to Sr. Soph:
Aug. 10, 2005 – A former Washington-area man accused in court papers of being the “American contact” for an Osama bin Laden “front organization” is now believed to be working for the new Iraqi government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, two U.S. law-enforcement officials and a longtime associate of the man tell NEWSWEEK.
Tariq A. Hamdi, who allegedly delivered a satellite-telephone battery to bin Laden in Afghanistan in 1998, has left the United States and has told associates he is currently employed in the Iraqi Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, said the government officials, who asked not to be identified because of pending legal charges against Hamdi.
Hamdi’s precise status with the Iraqi foreign ministry could not be immediately determined. But one of the U.S. law-enforcement officials said that federal prosecutors were concerned enough about Hamdi’s current status that they undertook a legal review with the State Department to determine if it would prevent them from charging him with federal crimes because of diplomatic immunity. But the prosecutors determined that his diplomatic status was “irrelevant” because the crimes they were considering charging him with took place before the current Iraqi government even existed, the official said.
Hamdi, an Iraqi-born American citizen who formerly lived in the Washington suburb of Herndon, Va., and worked for an Islamic think tank, has long been under scrutiny by federal law-enforcement agents in connection with a broader, three-year long probe into a web of Islamic charities with suspected terror links. According to court papers just unsealed in recent weeks, Hamdi had been secretly indicted by a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., last May on charges of immigration and mortgage-loan fraud. Among other charges, Hamdi is accused of inflating his income to receive two mortgage loans in 1994 and 1997, according to a copy of the indictment, which was unsealed on July 22.