The U.S. Secret Service acknowledged Wednesday it is investigating a Kent State faculty member who has been tied to a jihadist news service and who has called President George W. Bush a ”cocaine cowboy.”
David Lee, resident agent in charge of the Akron office of the Secret Service, said Julio Pino was ”an individual who came to our attention who needed to be interviewed.”
He said someone from his agency went to Pino’s home on Morris Road in Kent in the ”ongoing” investigation. He declined to comment further.
The Secret Service is a federal law-enforcement agency that protects and investigates threats to national leaders, including the president.
A clerk in the office of the U.S. District Court in Akron said late Wednesday afternoon that there was no record of a search warrant for Pino’s home.
Search warrants can be sealed by the court, in which case the clerk’s office would not have access to it or any record of whether it exists, the clerk said.
Pino did not return a call to his home.
He is a native of Cuba and Muslim with controversial views. In 2007, KSU President Lester Lefton received about 100 e-mails and calls lobbying for Pino’s ouster after news of his views was publicized.
On Wednesday, KSU spokesman Tom Neumann said the university did not know anything about an investigation of Pino and that the Secret Service had not searched Pino’s office.
In March 2007, a KSU official said that Pino, 48, had acknowledged providing news stories to a jihadist Web site but had stopped.
The Web site provided ”battle dispatches, training materials and jihad videos to our brothers worldwide,” according to its home page. The site since has been taken down.
The site included a letter from ”Lover of Angels” that was identical to a letter Pino wrote in 2006 to the KSU student newspaper the Daily Kent Stater.
”The ill will done to Muslim nations must be requited,” the letter read. ”The Muslim child does not cry alone; the Muslim woman does not cry alone; and the Muslim man is already at your gates.”
In another letter to the student newspaper that year, Pino called Bush a ”cocaine cowboy . . . who has added an extra 100,000 corpses to the pile of brown-colored corpses.”
He told the Beacon Journal in March 2007 he ”absolutely” does not support jihad, a Muslim word for the struggle in the name of Allah. He declined to comment when asked if he was ”Lover of Angels.”
In November 2007, the university demoted the head of Pino’s history department for authorizing a six-week, mid-semester leave for Pino to the United Arab Emirates. Pino sought to learn Arabic to pursue his research specialty, African Muslim slaves in Brazil who wrote in Arabic.
The university said the department chair did not follow KSU procedure and called Pino abruptly back from his trip.
Pino joined KSU in 1992. He has tenure, or virtual lifetime employment.
Ohioans: Your tax dollars at work.