The Pentagon is backing up Reza Kahlili, a former CIA operative who lectures at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy, after he recently came under attack from the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"He's one of many guest lecturers called upon by JCITA for specific subject matter knowledge," Lt. Col. James Gregory told WND today. "His experiences provide valuable insight to trainees, and he keeps his personal religious beliefs out of the classroom."
CAIR, based in Washington, D.C., earlier this week had called on the Defense Department to fire Kahlili, a frequent contributing writer to WND, in part, a press release from the group states, because he became a Christian and revealed his change of faith in a commentary in WND.
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"They actually cite my change of faith as a principal reason for targeting me," Kahlili told WND in a phone interview. "I thought once I left Iran for America I wouldn't have to worry about that kind of persecution."
Khalili uses a pseudonym and guards his anonymity because of death threats he faces from The Islamic Republic of Iran. For security, his lectures are delivered audio-only.
Read Reza Kahlili’s stunning response to the terror-tied Council on American-Islamic Relations for demanding the Defense Department drop him as a lecturer at the Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy.
Among the reasons CAIR says it wants Kahlili driven out of the Defense Department is because of his documented revelations that:
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- Iranian agents are "coordinating operations out of [U.S.] mosques and Islamic centers";
- Iran already has nuclear weapons; and
- Iranian agents have infiltrated the United States through the Muslim Brotherhood's Muslim Students Association."
"He does not lecture on or about Islam or any religious treatise, and his personal beliefs are his own," Gregory told WND.
The Pentagon response did not specifically address the demands from CAIR.
The former spy in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard also serves on the newly formed Task Force on National and Homeland Security, an advisory board authorized by Congress. He is the author of the award-winning book "A Time to Betray" and regularly appears in national and international media as an expert on Iran and counterterrorism in the Middle East. He has been featured on ABC, CBS, CNN, CBN, C-Span, BBC, Fox News, MSNBC, ZDF, Forbes, the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Washington Times and numerous other media outlets in addition to WND.
"I always believed in my heart, though endangering my life as well as of my family, that my activity on spying on the regime ruling Iran was not only in defense of democracy and freedom for Iranians, but also for the security of America and the free world," Kahlili told WND. "It truly hurts me that CAIR suggests otherwise."
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He spent an idyllic childhood in Tehran, the capital of Iran, surrounded by a close-knit upper middle-class family and two spirited boyhood friends. The Iran of his youth allowed Reza to think and act freely, and even indulge a penchant for rebellious pranks in the face of the local mullahs.
His political and personal freedoms flourished while he continued his education in America during the '70s. He returned to Iran shortly after the revolution eager to help rebuild his country, honestly believing that freedom and democracy would prevail and lead his country into a glorious future.
Even though most Iranians had enjoyed varying degrees of success under the shah, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's message resonated with a population weary of oppression and desperate for the political choice denied them under the shah. To this end, Reza joined the Revolutionary Guards, an elite force that served Khomeini.
But instead of finding a new beginning for his country, he discovered a tyrannical ayatollah bent on plunging Iran into a dark age of religious fundamentalism and causing his fellow countrymen to turn on each other. Shaken to his very core after witnessing the atrocities at Evin Prison, atrocities that hit very close to home, a shattered and disillusioned Reza embarked on a mission that would change his life forever. He returned to America and emerged as "Wally," a spy for the CIA.
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Counterintelligence, coded communications, escape tactics and evasion, dominated his new life. He risked exposure daily and after several close calls, he managed to leave Iran. His CIA activities continued in Europe for a few more years before he and his family finally moved to America.
After the 9/11 attacks, Kahlili activated a handful of sources within Iran and once again contacted the CIA. He continues as an active voice for a free Iran and works toward ending what he calls the "thugocracy" of the mullah's regime. He now lives in California.
Though valued by America's Defense and intelligence establishments, to CAIR Kahlili is an apostate, a traitor.
"This is yet another unfortunate example of our nation's military and counterterrorism personnel being trained by individuals who weaken America's security by promoting their own religious and political agendas," wrote CAIR national Executive Director Nihad Awad in a letter sent to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
The targeting of Kahlili is part of a broad pattern of attacks against consultants to government and law enforcement who recognize the threat posed by Muslim Brotherhood front groups such as CAIR and who offer first-hand experience in dealing with jihadists.
In announcing its sights were now set on Kahlili, CAIR itself pointed out other such experts it has targeted – with the Florida state police, others at the Defense Department and in other government agencies.
While CAIR bills itself as "a Muslim civil-rights organization" and its spokesmen are frequently represented as such on television news shows and in other media outlets, it is secretive about its funding sources – even to point of losing its Internal Revenue Service tax-exempt status as a non-profit organization.
Even more disturbing is what a review of criminal court documents, past IRS 990 tax records and Federal Election Commission documents reveal.
CAIR, unlike almost any other organization in the public eye, has been associated with a disturbing number of convicted terrorists or felons in terrorism probes, as well as suspected terrorists and active targets of terrorism investigations.
"Their offices have been a turnstile for terrorists and their supporters," said one FBI veteran familiar with recent and ongoing cases involving CAIR officials.
Indeed, at least 14 CAIR officials and employees have either been investigated, charged, indicted or convicted in terror-related cases. The list is long and includes:
- Muthanna al-Hanooti: The CAIR director's home was raided by FBI agents in connection with an active terrorism investigation. Agents also searched the offices of his advocacy group, Focus on Advocacy and Advancement of International Relations, which al-Hanooti operates out of Dearborn, Mich., and Washington, D.C. FAAIR claims to be a consulting firm raising awareness of Sunni grievances in Iraq, but investigators suspect it’s a front supporting the Sunni-led insurgency.Al-Hanooti, who emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq, formerly helped run a suspected Hamas terror front called LIFE for Relief and Development. Its Michigan offices also were raided. In 2004, LIFE’s Baghdad office was raided by U.S. troops, who seized files and computers.Al-Hanooti is related to Shiek Mohammed al-Hanooti, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He has been known for leading prayers at a Washington-area mosque that aided some of the 9/11 hijackers.The FBI alleges al-Hanooti, an ethnic-Palestinian who also emigrated from Iraq, raised money for Hamas. In fact, "Al-Hanooti collected over $6 million for support of Hamas," according to a 2001 FBI report, and was present with CAIR and Holy Land officials at a secret Hamas fundraising summit held last decade at a Philadelphia hotel.Prosecutors have added his name to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case.Al-Hanooti denies supporting Hamas, although he's praised Palestinian suicide bombers as "martyrs" who are "alive in the eyes of Allah."His younger brother, Hamid al-Hanooti, was found dead in Iraq after reportedly being held by local security forces as a suspected terrorist.
- Laura Jaghlit: A civil-rights coordinator for CAIR, her Washington-area home was raided by federal agents after 9/11 as part of an investigation into terrorist financing, money laundering and tax fraud. Her husband, Mohammed Jaghlit, a key leader in the Saudi-backed SAAR network, has also been a target of the probe.A decade ago, Jaghlit sent two letters accompanying donations – one for $10,000, the other for $5,000 – from the SAAR Foundation to Sami al-Arian, now a convicted terrorist. In each letter, according to a federal affidavit, "Jaghlit instructed al-Arian not to disclose the contribution publicly or to the media."Investigators suspect the funds were intended for Palestinian terrorists via a U.S. front called WISE, which at the time employed an official who personally delivered a satellite phone battery to Osama bin Laden. The same official also worked for Jaghlit's group.In addition, Jaghlit donated a total of $37,200 to the Holy Land Foundation, which prosecutors found to be a Hamas front. Jaghlit subsequently was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.
- Abdurahman Alamoudi: Another CAIR director, he is serving 23 years in federal prison for plotting terrorism. Alamoudi, who was caught on tape complaining bin Laden hadn't killed enough Americans in the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, was one of al-Qaida's top fund-raisers in America, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
- Nihad Awad: Wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case put CAIR's executive director at a Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and activists that was secretly recorded by the FBI. Participants allegedly hatched a plot to disguise payments to Hamas terrorists as charitable giving.During the meeting, according to FBI transcripts, Awad was recorded discussing the propaganda effort. He mentions Ghassan Dahduli, whom he worked with at the time at the Islamic Association for Palestine, another Hamas front. Both were IAP officers.Dahduli's name also was listed in the address book of bin Laden's personal secretary, Wadi al-Hage, who is serving a life sentence in prison for his role in the U.S. embassy bombings. Dahduli, an ethnic-Palestinian like Awad, was deported to Jordan after 9/11 for refusing to cooperate in the terror investigation.Awad's and Dahduli's phone numbers are listed in a Muslim Brotherhood document seized by federal investigators revealing "important phone numbers" for the "Palestine Section" of the Brotherhood in America. The court exhibit shows Hamas fugitive Mousa Abu Marzook listed on the same page with Awad.
- Omar Ahmad: U.S. prosecutors also named CAIR's founder and chairman emeritus as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case. Ahmad too was placed at the Philly meeting, FBI special agent Lara Burns testified at the trial. Prosecutors also designated him as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's "Palestine Committee" in America. Ahmad, like his CAIR partner Awad, is ethnic-Palestinian.(Though both Ahmad and Awad were senior leaders of IAP, the Hamas front, neither of their biographical sketches posted on CAIR's website mentions their IAP past.)
- Nabil Sadoun: A current CAIR board member, Sadoun has served on the board of the United Association for Studies and Research, which investigators believe to be a key Hamas front in America. In fact, Sadoun co-founded UASR with Hamas leader Marzook. The Justice Department added UASR to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case.
- Mohamed Nimer: CAIR's current research director also served as a board director for UASR, the strategic arm for Hamas in the U.S. (CAIR neglects to mention Nimer's and Sadoun's roles in UASR in their bios.)
- Rafeeq Jaber: A founding director of CAIR, Jaber was the long-time president of the Islamic Association for Palestine. In 2002, a federal judge found that "the Islamic Association for Palestine has acted in support of Hamas." In his capacity as IAP chief, Jaber praised Hezbollah attacks on Israel. He also served on the board of a radical mosque in the Chicago area.
- Rabith Hadid: The CAIR fund-raiser was a founder of the Global Relief Foundation, which after 9/11 was blacklisted by Treasury for financing al-Qaida and other terror groups. Its assets were frozen in December 2001. Hadid was arrested on terror-related charges and deported to Lebanon in 2003.
- Siraj Wahhaj: A member of CAIR's board of advisers, Wahhaj was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The radical Brooklyn imam was close to convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and defended him during his trial.
- Randall "Ismail" Royer: The former CAIR communications specialist and civil-rights coordinator is serving 20 years in prison in connection with the Virginia Jihad Network, which he led while employed by CAIR at its Washington headquarters. The group trained to kill U.S. soldiers overseas, cased the FBI headquarters, and cheered the space shuttle Columbia tragedy. Al-Qaida operative Ahmed Abu Ali, convicted of plotting to assassinate President Bush, was among those who trained with Royer's Northern Virginia cell.
- •Bassam Khafagi: Another CAIR official, Khafagi was arrested in 2003 while serving as CAIR's director of community affairs. He pleaded guilty to charges of bank and visa fraud stemming from a federal counterterror probe of his leadership role in the Islamic Assembly of North America, which has supported al-Qaida and advocated suicide attacks on America. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison and deported to his native Egypt.
- Ghassan Elashi: One of CAIR's founding directors, he was convicted in 2004 of illegally shipping high-tech goods to terror state Syria, and is serving 80 months in prison. He's also charged with providing material support to Hamas in the Holy Land Foundation trial. He was chairman of the charity, which provided seed capital to CAIR. Elashi is related to Hamas leader Marzook.
- Hamza Yusuf: The FBI investigated the CAIR board member after 9/11, because just two days before the attacks, he made an ominous prediction to a Muslim audience."This country is facing a terrible fate and the reason for that is because this country stands condemned," Yusuf warned. "It stands condemned like Europe stood condemned because of what it did. And lest people forget, Europe suffered two world wars after conquering the Muslim lands."
"Groups like CAIR have a proven record of senior officials being indicted and either imprisoned or deported from the United States," said U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., co-founder of the House Anti-Terrorism/Jihad Caucus.
CAIR itself was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an alleged scheme to funnel $12 million to the terrorist group Hamas. In the Holy Land Foundation case, federal prosecutors also listed CAIR as a member of the U.S. branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a worldwide jihadist movement that gave rise to Hamas, al-Qaida and other terrorist groups.
"There was a lot of evidence presented at the recent Holy Land Foundation trial which exposed CAIR and others as front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States," Myrick said.
CAIR, which receives financial backing from Saudi and Emirati royalty, denies charges that it has a secret agenda to Islamize America. But a Muslim Brotherhood document declassified in the Holy Land case reveals that CAIR's parent was among Muslim organizations enlisted in a secret plot to destroy the American system from within and eventually take over the country.
Written early last decade in Arabic, the manifesto lays bare the subversive role of CAIR's forerunner, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and other Muslim groups in America to carry out a "grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by the hands of the believers, so that it is eliminated and Allah's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
CAIR's founder Ahmad, while claiming to be a moderate and patriotic American, once told a group of Muslims in Northern California that they are in America to help assert Islam's rule over the country.
"Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant," a local reporter quoted him as saying, adding, "The Quran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."
Ahmad insists he was misquoted. However, an FBI wiretap transcript quotes Ahmad agreeing with terrorist suspects gathered at the secret Philly meeting to "camouflage" their true intentions.
He compared it to the head fake in basketball. "This is like one who plays basketball: He makes a player believe that he is doing this, while he does something else," Ahmad said. "I agree with you. Like they say, politics is a completion of war."