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June 23, 2004

Faisal Gill Update

Yesterday I referenced a Salon article noting that the DHS's director of policy, Faisal Gill, had undisclosed connections to a terrorist money-launderer currently serving hard time for his crimes.

A reader (whose name and alias I'll withhold) sent along an email defending Mr. Gill. Here's most of the email:

For confidentiality reasons, let me just say that my "friend" is a senior DHS official, and works quite closely on a daily basis with Mr. Gill. My friend is a veteran of Iraqi Freedom and a very strong supporter of our War on Terror. My friend believes that Mr. Gill is helping us greatly in that effort and is, in his words, "a great American." Mr Gill's story is impressive---an immigrant as a child with a father who was a taxi driver, went to law school, etc. Though I have never myself met Mr. Gill, I trust my friend with my life, and accordingly value his opinion.

Although Mr. Gill plainly has ties to the AMC and Grover Norquist (both of which I hold in no high regard), my friend is certain that Mr. Gill is firmly on our side in this conflict. I can offer nothing more than my iron-clad faith in my friend's valuable and well-informed opinion.

I have sent this email from my personal account in the event you need to confirm the contents. [Contact information deleted.] It is my opinion that this story, coming out of the blue and published in an outlet without any real concern for the War on Terror, is simply a vendetta against this particular political appointee or the Administration. You are of course right to be concerned about potential dangers in our terrorism-fighting infrastructure, but I do not think that Mr. Gill represents such a threat. It appears that harming his reputation may end up impeding our war efforts.

That's all second (or third) hand stuff, none of which I can vouch for or corroborate, except to say that the reader who sent this email is on America's side in the war on terror. (Either that, or he's doing a hell of job mole-ing around on a minor blog.)

I will contact this reader tomorrow and see if he can provide me with Mr. Gill's side of the story. I'm particularly interested to know what his contacts were with the terrorist money-launderer, and why he deliberately concealed them from the FBI.

Rudy Guiliani, as great and patriotic an American as they come, had dubious "connections" himself. A New York City Italian, of course he had some family members and distant acquaintances who were in the Italian mafias. But he was a dedicated enemy of the mob, and he loudly announced this fact and acted vigorously against organized crime.

Perhaps Mr. Gill is similarly a dedicated terrorist-fighter. And perhaps there is an innocent reason he concealed his terrorist connections (or, if not a perfectly innocent reason, then at least not a malicious one).

The Salon article may be, as this reader claims, a politically-motivated smear job directed less at improving national security and more at undermining Bush's standing in the polls, and smearing an honorable public servant in the process.

Although I think it's quite fair that Mr. Gill's failure to disclose should raise suspicions -- a lack of candor is always grounds for suspicion -- this failure shouldn't necessarily lead to conclusions, particularly of the sort urged by the Salon piece, and, in fairness, by myself as well in uncritically repeating it.

I don't know either way.

I doubt I can resolve anything at all, but I'll see what I can see. Even if I can't resolve anything, the letter in defense of Mr. Gill provides some perspective.

Update: Malkin links this article by Frank Gaffney, which concludes:

The bottom line is that it is past time for a rigorous review of the extent and implications of the evident Islamist influence operation in official Washington and the troubling role that Grover Norquist has appeared to play in facilitating, if not actually enabling it. If the Bush Administration can or will not conduct such an examination, Congress should undertake to do so.

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posted by Ace at 02:08 AM

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