NSA ‘scandal’ fallout: convicted terrorist conspirators wanting cases thrown out

In yet another story to come out of the NSA ‘scandal’ that hasn’t received the attention it should, the AP is reporting that the information from the ‘whistleblowers’ that has come out regarding the NSA warrantless wiretaps scandals has spurred lawyers for some terrorist conspirators to ask for convictions for their clients to be overturned:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A lawyer for an Ohio trucker who pleaded guilty to plotting to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge asked a federal judge Friday to throw out the case on the grounds that the government illegally spied on him.

Iyman Faris’ challenge is among the first to seek evidence of warrantless electronic eavesdropping by the National Security Agency, a practice that began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Government officials have reportedly credited the practice with uncovering Faris’ terrorist plot and several others.

A motion filed by Faris’ attorney David Smith in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., argues that investigators improperly obtained evidence against Faris and that his trial lawyer was ineffective.

Given the likelihood that Faris’ phone conversations or e-mails had been electronically monitored, Faris’ trial lawyer, Frederick Sinclair, should have asked for evidence of such surveillance, Smith said in the motion.

“Had he done so, the government would have been in a real bind and this would have enabled Faris to, at a minimum, negotiate a much more favorable plea bargain,” the motion said.

Messages seeking comment from Sinclair and the Justice Department were not immediately returned Friday.

Faris, 36, pleaded guilty in 2003 to conspiracy and aiding and abetting terrorism, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He has tried to withdraw his plea, saying everything in his agreement with prosecutors was false.

According to prosecutors, Faris traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, carrying out low-level missions for terrorists.

Prosecutors said he investigated, but ultimately ruled out, the possibility of using a gas cutter to burn through the Brooklyn Bridge’s suspension cables, and that he received attack instructions from top terrorist leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed for what they suggested might have been a second wave of terror attacks in New York and Washington.

At his sentencing, prosecutors acknowledged that federal agents were led to Faris by a telephone call intercepted in another investigation.


A lawyer for Ali al-Timimi, an Islamic scholar in northern Virginia serving a life sentence for exhorting followers to fight U.S. troops, has said he plans to challenge his case based on NSA involvement. So has an attorney for Adham Amin Hassoun, a Lebanese-born Palestinian living in Florida who is charged with being part of a cell dedicated to supporting violent Muslim extremists.

So let’s see, we’ve got a possible connection between the NSA warrantless wiretap leak and a surge in disposable phone sales about a week before Christmas, top intelligence officials in Washington testifying that this ‘scandal’ has hurt our ability to fight terrorism, and now this.

Just what will have to happen before the usual suspects realize how much damage the ‘whistleblowers’ who leaked this to the press have done to our ability to fight terrorism? I shudder at the thought.

Hat tip to The Jawa Report and Stop The ACLU

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