Editor’s note: reader svend has been chastising me for not covering domestic issues. I can think of no more important domestic issue than this.
The War on Terror requires constant vigilance, both abroad and at home. Often overlooked by the general public is the web of support for terrorist within the United States. An episode on a bridge in Virginia draws attention to the network inside this country, and raises questions about the intentions and motivations of terror organizations and nations not named al Qaeda. Ismael Elbarasse was detained after his wife was seen videotaping critical structures of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
According to a search warrant for the video, the tape showed cables and upper supports of the main section of the 4.3-mile bridge. The video pans the eastbound span and shows support cables and footings, zooming in on the bridge joints, the warrant indicated. [:] "The individuals were pulled over because they were videotaping the bridge," and because when someone in the vehicle spotted the officers' car, the woman put the camera down and the vehicle slowed down so the officers would pass them, said Bill Toohey, a Baltimore County police spokesman. "That was the suspicious activity, not because they were Middle Eastern-looking.”
The immediate reaction of his family was that the police scrutiny and detention of Ismael Elbarasse was motivated by racial profiling. A closer look at Mr. Elbarasse shows that he has a history of activity with Hamas since 1990. In 1998, Mr. Elbarasse was incarcerated for eight months for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury concerning the activities of Abu Marzook, a senior Hamas operative. At the time, Mr. Elbarasse’s lawyer, Stanley Cohen, a notorious defender of Islamic extremists vigorously defended his client.
Elbarasse's lawyer, Stanley Cohen, said his client is "a freedom fighter without a gun," and accused the FBI of running a "witch hunt" to discourage Muslims from sending money to areas under Palestinian control.
Attorney Houeida Saad, addressing the Al-Hewar Center in conference on Muslim’s civil rights, claimed Elbarasse was discriminated against because he was a Muslim. The politically correct charge of racial profiling and discrimination is often used by terrorists in the United States to attempt to deflect their complicity in terror activities.
In a poignant statement read to the grand jury on April 6, 1998, Mr. Elbarasse explained that his religious and personal convictions prevented him from participating in an unethical "investigation" seeking only to harass and persecute Muslims and Arabs.
Mr. Elbarasse was eventually released from custody later in 1998. Last week, Mr. Elbarasse was indicted in federal court for involvement in a racketeering conspiracy involving numerous wire transfers to Hamas terrorists, totaling in the millions of dollars.
Ismael Selim Elbarasse, a/k/a “Ismael Selim El-barasse,” from at least as early as 1990, worked as an assistant to defendant ABU MARZOOK. Elbarasse maintained a joint bank account with defendant ABU MARZOOK that was used to transfer substantial sums of money to Hamas members, including defendant SALAH.
Abu Marzook, who is the main focus of the federal indictment, is a heavy hitter within Hamas, as the indictment outlines. The network in the United States is being directed from the highest echelons of Hamas.
Defendant MOUSA MOHAMMED ABU MARZOOK, a/k/a “Abu Omar,” “Tareq,” and “Abu Rizq,” is a member of Hamas. ABU MARZOOK formerly held the position of Chief of the Hamas Political Bureau. He presently lives in Damascus, Syria, and is the Deputy Chief of the Hamas Political Bureau. The Political Bureau functioned as the highest ranking leadership body in the Hamas organization, setting policies and guidelines regarding Hamas’s activities, including directing and coordinating terrorist acts by Hamas and the Al-Qassam Brigades. From in or about 1988 until in or about February 1993, while living in the United States, ABU MARZOOK coordinated and financed the activities of Hamas within the United States and elsewhere...
The indictment and other articles linked demonstrate the vast network of Hamas within the United States. One thing that is clear is there is a real Fifth Column here in the United States. Members of the Iranian mission to the United Nations have also been expelled from the United States for photographing sensitive sites in New York City.
This raises several serious questions. What was a Hamas operative doing filming high value infrastructure targets such as the Chesapeake Bay Bridge? As Hamas’ main focus is to destroy Israel and conducts its attacks in Israel and the territories exclusively, it does not seem likely they are planning to attack America directly. If we are only at war with al Qaeda, then why are Hamas and Iran conducting surveillance in this country? Thanks to the 9-11 Commission report we already know that al Qaeda, Iran and Hezbollah cooperate, despite their ideological differences. While the cooperation may not be at the operational level, the logistical support shared between organizations is clear. If Hamas and Iran are not planning attacks on America, then what are their motivations to photograph our infrastructure? The likely answer is they are providing logistical support for al Qaeda.
The refusal of the Left to understand the web of connections between terror organizations and their state sponsors hampers our ability to properly fight this war. Focusing on al Qaeda and Afghanistan alone will not reduce the threat we face. The bridge between these organizations exists, and we ignore it at our own peril. Al Qaeda is receiving support from outside of its organization, including from Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, its numerous regional affiliates such as Abu Sayyaf, as well as support from domestic organizations such as al-Fuqra and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. This is not just a war against al Qaeda, this is a global war on the network of terrorism and their state sponsors. The enemy is among us, and it is bigger than al Qaeda.