One of my favourite blogs here in New York is written by Leonard Levitt; called NYPD Confidential, Leonard keeps a beady eye on the cops in this city, cops of all variety (one of the first things that shocks you about this country is the multiplicity of police forces, for parks, for hospitals, for schools and even, would you believe, one for the FBI).
This piece concerns a recent horrific crash of a stretch limo in upstate New York which killed twenty people. These limos, a symbol in many ways of American excess, are Frankenstein creatures, put together from bits and pieces of other vehicles and, as you might guess, not the safest modes of transport devised by man.
Anyway this piece concerns more the owner of company which leased the limo than the limo. Turns out he was an FBI spy and entrapper, who lured naive Muslim men into extravagant plots with promises of lots of money in the wake of 9/11. It was an FBI sting devised at a time when the toppling of the twin towers had drawn criticism of the FBI and CIA for failing to detect the plot; the purpose was to pretend the FBI really was on top of Mulsim devilry.
The point of the story is the identity of the man in charge of the FBI at the time, a figure now being lauded by liberals as their saviour from the terrors of Trumpism. Who is he? I won’t spoil the story, so you’ll have to read it all the way through to find out.
One Police Plaza
October 15, 2018
You can’t escape your past. That includes law enforcement agencies. Last week the past caught up to the NYPD and the FBI.
It turns out that Shahed Hussain, the owner of the Albany-area limousine involved in a horrendous crash in which 20 died, was a longtime FBI informant.
When the country, and New York City in particular, were still reeling from 9/11, the FBI and the NYPD wanted the public to feel assured law enforcement was successfully fighting terrorism.
Around 2008, the FBI paid Hussain $100,000 to con four jobless, poorly educated black men at an upstate Newburgh mosque into participating in a scheme to fire Stinger missiles at military planes and bomb two synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Hussain flashed money around and promised the men new cars and $250,000. The FBI supplied the attack plans as well as the fake bomb and fake Stinger.
Lying in wait, on May 20, 2009, the NYPD and the FBI arrested the four outside one of the Riverdale synagogues. (See NYPD Confidential, May 25, 2009.) Hundreds of cops and agents were in on the arrests. The NYPD even provided a tank-like armored personnel carrier.
At a City Hall news conference, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg — with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Assistant FBI Director Joseph Demarest standing nearby — praised the arrests.
Then-Gov. David Paterson said the arrests illustrated the constant terrorist threat that New York City faced and announced grants of $25,000 to each synagogue to improve security, paid for by the Department of Homeland Security.
The Newburgh Four, as they came to be known, were sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Since then, Kelly has been discredited for his over-the-top Muslim spying. A year after the Newburgh arrests, Demarest was transferred to Washington after he was accused of using his influence as a senior manager to get a female FBI agent promoted.
Appeals courts rejected claims that the Newburgh Four were “entrapped.”
Hussain, who had faced deportation for masterminding a scheme to sell phony driver’s licenses before the FBI got hold of him, purchased a hotel north of Albany. Hotel guests sued him for taking reservations for cabins that had not yet been built.
He also started his limousine service. It turned that out the limousine in the crash had failed to pass state inspections and that the driver was unlicensed.
Hussain’s lawyer said last week he was in Pakistan, dealing with health issues. It is unclear what treatment Pakistan offered that could not be found in the USA.
Oh, and one more thing. Want to know who headed the FBI when the bureau signed up Hussain? Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Donald Trump presidential campaign.