Democrats & Liberals Archives

Removing Citizenship the FBI Way

The San Francisco Chronicle reported on a story about two American citizens, one a naturalized citizen originally from Pakistan and his son, who was born in the U.S. that were refused entry back into the U.S. after a 4 year trip. They were told that they could not return to the U.S. unless they complied with the FBI’s request for interrogation and a polygraph.

The father and son, Muhammad Ismail, a 45-year-old naturalized citizen born in Pakistan, and his 18-year-old son, Jaber Ismail do not carry dual citizenship. They are the uncle and cousin of Hamid Hayat who was convicted in April of supporting terrorists by attending a Pakistani training camp.

Both, along with other relatives, had been in Pakistan for more than 4 years. Ismail’s wife and daughters were allowed through to the U.S. however, the father and son were refused entry. Initially the two were told that there was a problem with their passport. This, however, proved to be false; they were told by airline officials that they were on a no-fly list.

After being stopped in Hong Kong on layover, they were told that they could not continue to the U.S. The FBI interrogated the son; the father refused. When the FBI wanted to continue the interrogation and asked for polygraph, the son refused to answer any questions without a lawyer present. And hence the standoff began, between two American citizens and the federal government.

Federal authorities said Friday that the men, both Lodi residents, would not be allowed back into the country unless they agreed to FBI interrogations in Pakistan. An attorney representing the family said agents have asked whether the younger Ismail trained in terrorist camps in Pakistan

Those Lodi Muslims
The Ismails, from Lodi California, said that their trip to Pakistan was for the son to study the Quran and visit the place where the father grew up. Hayat, also from Lodi California, (link) was arrested and charged providing materials to terrorists by visiting ‘al Qaeda’ training camps in Pakistan and for lying to federal investigators.

During Hayat's interrogation, Hayat mentioned to investigators that the younger Ismail attended a training camp in Pakistan. The Ismails stated that the training camp that Hayat was referring to was actually the Quran study camp.


The Bigger Stick
Since 911 and the introduction of the Patriot Act, the FBI gained more and more power with regards to investigations and interrogations abroad. The FBI is now chartered with policing outside of the borders of the US and has the ability to make arrests.

Although, the number one priority in the FBI’s list of priorities is ‘Protect the United States from terrorist attack’, one of its ‘Core Values’ is ‘Rigorous obedience to the Constitution of the United States’. Then there's also, ‘Respect for the dignity of all those we protect’.

American citizens, even those born in the country, now must comply with the order from the FBI in order to enter the US. Are there guidelines surrounding how far and how wide the FBI can go with allowing US citizens the ability to move about the world? One wonders if the FBI could impose similar restrictions on traveling from state to state.

Wasn’t that what the GIs fought against in WWII?


The 2-year rule

The Ismail’s travel abroad may have been lengthy but it’s certainly not unheard of to spend years abroad and return to the U.S. without incident.

When traveling abroad for longer than 2-years, a person with a 'green card' may apply for re-entry (link) permit to allow easy entrance back into the US. However, a U.S. citizen does not need a re-entry permit. Natural or naturalized, an American citizen is an American citizen and does not require such permits to re-enter the U.S.

So what is the rationale for the government to bar American citizens from entering the U.S. The FBI and the State Department are not saying. Their position is that the Ismails must answer the questions and take a polygraph before coming back to their own country. Period.


Civil Disobedience
The simple act of depriving the Ismails of their rights, regardless of a perceived threat, is telling the Ismails and the rest of the American citizens, that the FBI decides who is a citizen and who is not.

The Ismails have not been charged with a crime and are not, according to the authorities, implicated in any terrorist plot. Their names came up during a lengthy interrogation of a terrorist suspect. All American citizens, like Karl Rove, Tom Delay and O.J. Simpson are innocent until proven guilty.
As much as they want you to believe, the FBI, the State Department, even the President doesn’t decide who is a citizen. It’s the Constitution that decides who is a citizen. And until the Constitution says anything different, displacing American citizens who refuse to answer questions from any authority is flat-out wrong.

Posted by john trevisani at August 30, 2006 1:30 PM
Comments
Comment #178314

I can understand the FBI wanting to investigate them based on what they had, but how without any probably cause can they legally “revoke” someone’s citizenship? They can’t legally as far as I know and would hope. If you or I had the exact same circumstances, which the son has, the best they could do is detain us. Your piece doesn’t say they were being detained for investigation; it says they were being refused entry until they complied. Unreal.

Posted by: Zebster at August 30, 2006 2:59 PM
Comment #178316

4 years in Pakistan…names came up during interrogation of terror suspects. I’d be a bit leary to say the least.

Posted by: Brian B at August 30, 2006 3:08 PM
Comment #178319

Zebster:


Your piece doesn’t say they were being detained for investigation; it says they were being refused entry until they complied.

That’s right; they weren’t detained. They were questioned and refused to enter the U.S. They are not charged with a crime. Basically the Feds are refusing to allow them in unless they open their mouths.

Brian:


4 years in Pakistan…names came up during interrogation of terror suspects. I’d be a bit leary to say the least.

The constitution is pretty clear about citizenship. Whatever may sound ‘leary’ to you doesn’t mean that they should be treated any differently from any other American citizen.

It’s a very, very slippery slope when we start chipping away at fundemental rights. Being an American citizen shouldn’t be defined by subjective terms like ‘leary’; put yourself in the son’s shoes. He was born here. He answered the FBI’s questions, it just wasn’t good enough for the FBI to allow them into their own country.

Posted by: john trevisani at August 30, 2006 3:26 PM
Comment #178322

I have to say that I am quite liberal, but this seems like a high-risk situation. If there were 10 situations like this, I find it probable that one would turn out to have intentions of committing or supporting an “attack”. I would hope they would understand what the USA is facing and how difficult it is to determine who has ill-will towards our country. I would hope they would agree to questioning and then be let go. Hell, I got questioned once flying back from Amsterdam if I was carrying drugs, so questioning about terrorism after 4 yrs in Pakistan seems reasonable. I know it sucks to profile, but it is mostly islamics who want to kill US citizens. I think that needs to be understood by people of that descent/faith. One would also help that this would piss them off enough to help get rid of the “bad apples” tarnishing their religeon. For some reason, that doesn’t seem to be happening. It’s more of a shrugging the shoulders and saying, “what do you expect”.

Posted by: drdlips at August 30, 2006 3:46 PM
Comment #178325

This prooves without a doubt that there are American Citizens that just don’t understand the danger of being in a global war on terrorism.John Trevisana would be the first to crucify George Bush if these two gentlemen were to wear a bomb into a mall and kill a few hundred people.People that serve no purpose in life allways want it both ways that way they never have to suffer a lose for their somewhat juvinile beleifs.

Posted by: offthehook at August 30, 2006 3:55 PM
Comment #178327

The fact is that both the elder a younger Hayat were accused of supporting terrorism by attending terrorist training camps in Pakistan. They were also accused of lying to the FBI about attending such camps. The elder Hayats case ended in a mistrial, but it was proven that the younger Hayet had supported terrorism, and was convicted and sentenced to 39 years in prison.

All four men went to Pakistan from the same origination point in California at about the same time. They were bothers and cousins. The
only testimony regarding the activities of the Ismails was by the younger Hayat, who had already been additionally charged with obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI.

Since neither of the Ismails were in the country in April, and missed out on thier questioning and polygraphs at that time, it’s only fair that they be brought back to the country and be subject to due process as their other family members were.

If its proven that they trained as terrorists, lock ‘em up. If it’s not proven, watch them for the rest of thier lives.

Easy.

Posted by: DOC at August 30, 2006 4:03 PM
Comment #178333

We need to find ways to keep terrorist out of the country…not find ways to get them in.

Posted by: Brian B at August 30, 2006 4:50 PM
Comment #178336

I’ve got to agree with drdlips. Their connection to someone convicted of supporting terrorists makes them an automatic target for questioning and detaining them. I have no problem with that. And c’mon John, four years would not be considered a mere “trip” by most peoples reckoning — it certainly isn’t by mine. These are exactly the kind of people that should be investigated by our intelligence agencies, though it should be done LEGALLY. You know, by following the FISA laws and with proper oversight. Let’s face it, just because someone is born in America doesn’t mean they can’t be connected with terrorism, and if they have direct family connections it would be stupid not to question them and follow their activities closely.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 30, 2006 4:55 PM
Comment #178344

Adrienne - Wouldn’t you agree that being citizens of the U.S. gives them the right to be questioned, investigated, and monitored in California, rather than Hong Kong?

Posted by: DOC at August 30, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #178347

“The father and son …. are the uncle and cousin of Hamid Hayat who was convicted in April of supporting terrorists by attending a Pakistani training camp.”

*** THE BILL OF RIGHTS WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE A SUICIDE PACT ***

If they can’t understand the scrutiny their family brings them then they lack common sense.

Or we could not have them answer a few questions and the Left can continue to complain Bush isn’t doing anything defensively to battle terrorism.

“Oh my God, how stupid is this Administration when they knowingly let a terrorist’s immediate relatives come to the US and just let them waltz on in!”

It’s the Bill Maher “I’m gonna damn you if you do, damn if you don’t” theory of politics.

Posted by: Ken Strong at August 30, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #178348

DOC, yes. California, not Hong Kong.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 30, 2006 5:22 PM
Comment #178350

Adrienne,
If 4 years is the measuring stick, then those studying abroad for the 4 years would have to undergo the same welcoming treatment, no? “Hey Mom! i was accepted into Oxford.”

“Great. Enjoy the polygraph on the way back.”

There shouldn’t be anything as so simple as timeline to define one’s citizenship. If 4 years is too long the how about 3 years, or 2 years? What will be the magical number?

Posted by: john trevisani at August 30, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #178353

Ken Strong:
This administration did let the wife and daughters ‘just waltz on in’.

Why is that?

Is it because the profilers didn’t think that a woman would produce as much damage as a male terrorist? Sounds like a silly and inconsistent policy to allow the female members through to the US and keep the males behind.

Posted by: john trevisani at August 30, 2006 5:32 PM
Comment #178358

John, the way I see it, after six months I’m going to start wondering who is exactly paying for such a long and extended vacation. If it’s a kid going to college, that might be considered another thing, but “Quran study camp” in Pakistan sounds pretty damn iffy to this girl. Remember, they think Bin Laden may be hiding out there, so this should definitely raise some flags, no?

Posted by: Adrienne at August 30, 2006 5:44 PM
Comment #178359

“Is it because the profilers didn’t think that a woman would produce as much damage as a male terrorist? Sounds like a silly and inconsistent policy to allow the female members through to the US and keep the males behind.”

Posted by: john trevisani at August 30, 2006 05:32 PM

Heh, heh, heh……ahem. No comment.

Posted by: DOC at August 30, 2006 5:45 PM
Comment #178363

Adrienne,

Holy crikes - we agree! I mean - the folks in England were citizens, and yet they carried out devastating terrorist acts. Why couldn’t American citizens be capable of the same things?

And yes a 4 year “trip” as you say seems a bit disingenuous. Why couldn’t they be studying at some terrorist camp? I’ve never been on a 4 WEEK trip anywhere. Im not saying it is impossible, but it does raise the question of doubt.

Moreover, if I was in these persons circumstances, and I knew I wasn’t guilty, why not answer their questions. I agree that asking for a lawyer is reasonable. I think we all have to face the fact that after 9/11, the world got a bit more complicated…

Posted by: b0mbay at August 30, 2006 5:59 PM
Comment #178364

The question is not a matter of guilt or innocence, but whether the FBI should have the right to deny entry to the country of U.S. citizens.

Posted by: DOC at August 30, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #178384

Bombay:
“Adrienne,
Holy crikes - we agree!”

Heh. First time for everything, I guess…
As my Gran once said: “Always keep an open mind, but not so much that your brain falls out.”
I kind of think that applies well to this particular scenario. I’m mean, four years in “Quran study camp”?

DOC:
“The question is not a matter of guilt or innocence, but whether the FBI should have the right to deny entry to the country of U.S. citizens.”

I definitely think as citizens they do have a right to re-enter the country — as long as they don’t mind being watched after four years of Quran study camp in Pakistan.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 30, 2006 7:15 PM
Comment #178387

As I understand it they were taken off the flight in Hong Kong after it was discovered that they are on the do not fly list. The FBI is doing the right thing by questioning them over there. They are probably doing so in an aAmerican Embassy which is as much American soil as California.

Posted by: tomd at August 30, 2006 7:24 PM
Comment #178392

I’m of the same opinion as Adrienne. Going to an Islamic study camp in Pakistan for 4 years is hardly the same as attending Oxford. It’s been pretty well established that many of the Islamic schools in the middle eastern Islamic nations teach anti-US sentiment. The fact that their names were brought up in relation to attending training camps is further reason to suspect them.
I’m also for allowing them due process as American citizens. Let them have a lawyer and be questioned legally.
The timing also bugs me. They left 4 years ago; not long after 9/11. Then stayed for 4 years. If they had any idea of American patriotism and security at all, they would see that this would be questioned upon their return.
If someone had gone to live in Japan right after Pearl Harbor, then returned after a few years, they would have been considered spies. I realize that the current situation is different, because we are not at war with Paksitan. We are, however, at war with radical Islamic fundamentalists; probably the same people who run these camps.
They should be investigated, questioned, and detained if it’s shown that they have ties to terrorist groups. Then they should be charged and given their day in court. At the very least, deport them if they are found to be guilty. But allow them due process as citizens. Meanwhile, monitor their activities while they are in the US.

Posted by: Cole at August 30, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #178418

I was just talking to a friend of mine who happens to be from Jordan and is now living in this Country. He told me that in Jordan if travellers were from Pakistan or Indis they were interrogated at the airport. I didnt think to ask why Pakistan and India but.. He also is in favor of profiling with dignity here. Search me, talk to me, just do it with respect and dignity is his comment. He travels fairly regular, and welcomes the search, after all he says, Im on the plane and I dont know who else is.
My point in all of this is this- We need to protect our borders and our safety in the air. Possible ties to terrorist, in Pakistan 4 years, I think there is some explaining to do.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 30, 2006 9:46 PM
Comment #178423

I do not think it matters if it was 4 hours or 4 years, it does not matter if they are related to Jack the Ripper, these are US Citizens. I spent 20 years in the Military to ensure the Constitution applied to every US Citizen equally. Where does this stop, I don’t think this is a slippery slope, this is a slide right into the pool. Could the excuse of danger be used to monitor this web site and then my name be put on a no fly list? Again these are US Citizens!!! If England wanted to bar entry I have no problem, but not their country. If we sit back and say, well in this case it is alright because they were gone for such and such time and studied such and such, what will we stop at. “Take away one freedom and pretty soon they are all gone”

Posted by: Michael M. at August 30, 2006 10:04 PM
Comment #178458

Adrienne:

I definitely think as citizens they do have a right to re-enter the country — as long as they don’t mind being watched after four years of Quran study camp in Pakistan.

i’m glad that you now see the point. They are American citizens. If the government feels that they should be watched, then let them in and trail them.

They’ve already let members of the same family, back into the country. Why isn’t anyone who supports the FBI in their current efforts upset about that?

Michael M:

If we sit back and say, well in this case it is alright because they were gone for such and such time and studied such and such, what will we stop at. “Take away one freedom and pretty soon they are all gone”

Well said!

Posted by: john trevisani at August 31, 2006 7:08 AM
Comment #178461

Cole:

It’s been pretty well established that many of the Islamic schools in the middle eastern Islamic nations teach anti-US sentiment.
i cannot speak to what i think the schools teach or don’t teach in Pakistan.

The fact that their names were brought up in relation to attending training camps is further reason to suspect them.
If you read the articles that i linked in, you’ll see that the their names came up during interrogation.
I realize that the current situation is different, because we are not at war with Paksitan. We are, however, at war with radical Islamic fundamentalists; probably the same people who run these camps.
Good point; we are not at war with Pakistan. And if, as you suggest, the al qaeda training camps exist in Pakistan, how come we aren’t marching into Pakistan, as we did in Afghanistan, to close them down. Wasn’t it President Bush who said, ‘We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.’?

But that’s another discussion.

Posted by: john trevisani at August 31, 2006 7:25 AM
Comment #178483

John,

I must agree with a number of opinions here (Adrienne, Ken Strong) from all sides of the idealogical chasm.

The constitution is not a justification for institutionalized lobotomies. Despite screams from many of us on the liberal side, profiling is not unconstitutional if there is a basis for the profile.

I have to ask some obvious questions (at least to me)
- wasn’t there ANYWHERE in the US where the son could study the Quran?
- Why did he need to leave the Western world to study the Quran? To avoid monitoring?
- Doesn’t leaving the US in 2002 to go to Pakistan, where OBL is presumed to be hiding, and remaining for four years, would not a reasonable person understand the suspicion it creates?

Should they have been questioned here? Absolutely. You can have problems with the FBI’s policies in this case. But this isn’t a drug case, for example, where an invalid search warrant gets the case dismissed. The consequences are a little graver.

Posted by: CPAdams at August 31, 2006 10:30 AM
Comment #178486

John,

I can give you one reason why the FBI demanded the polygraph, a constitutional one - Article III, Section 3 - the section on treason.

As American citizens, it is a capital offence to go to Pakistan to train in terrorist camps and to plot attacks on American soil.

Let’s leave the execution of the FBI policy aside for a moment (which I know is difficult since that is the central theme of your post).

Were the FBI’s reasons for interrupting the trip valid?

Posted by: CPAdams at August 31, 2006 10:41 AM
Comment #178505

Racial profiling should not be tolerated in this country or any other country for that matter. I can understand (to a point) about the man whose relatives were convicted/known terrorists. The gov’t has every right to question them. However, no matter what the circumstances, if someone is a U.S. citizen, the gov’t has no right to flat out refuse them entry into the country without probable cause.

Posted by: Cheriz at August 31, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #178506

If they are on the no fly list, couldn’t they get on a boat instead?

Posted by: SirisC at August 31, 2006 12:04 PM
Comment #178514

I wrote:
“I definitely think as citizens they do have a right to re-enter the country �— as long as they don’t mind being watched after four years of Quran study camp in Pakistan.”

John:
“I’m glad that you now see the point.”

:^) I understood your point John, and as I’ve already made clear in my answer to DOC, I didn’t think it was right to detain them in Hong Kong.

“They are American citizens.”

Yes, they are American citizens, whose family member was convicted of supporting terrorism. Let me be clear here: for me this isn’t about profiling someones race, or religion. I honestly don’t give a rats ass whether they were born in America, or what their race or background is. Anyone in this country with direct connections to funding, supporting or perpetrating terrorism should automatically be questioned or monitored until all suspicion has been removed. That is increased when we discover that someone is coming back into our country who has just spent the last FOUR YEARS in a Quran study camp in Pakistan, when all indications tell us that Bin Laden has been hiding out in that country.
Yet, as I said earlier, if anyones activities are to be monitored, it should be done through strict adherence to the FISA laws and with proper oversight. I strongly disapprove of Bush’s violation-ridden lawlessness when it comes to spying and monitoring activities regarding the NSA program.

“If the government feels that they should be watched, then let them in and trail them.”

Yes, I agree. But I don’t think there is any IF about it in this case.

“They’ve already let members of the same family, back into the country. Why isn’t anyone who supports the FBI in their current efforts upset about that?”

I don’t think the women should have been allowed to freely re-enter the country without questioning either. And these women should be monitored too, in my opinion.
Perhaps you think I’m being to hard line about this John, but I lost friend on 9/11, and I really don’t want us to lose more of our people by not thinking clearly about obvious questionability when it comes to our security.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 31, 2006 12:20 PM
Comment #178517

CPAdams:
It’s really not a case where you think that someone should study their Quran.

But for the sake of argument, let’s assume, as many on this forum already are assuming, that the boy DID train in a Pakistani al qaeda terrorist camp. And let’s further assume that the FBI had more evidence corroborating this. The FBI would arrest him. Period. They wouldn’t let him roam around in Hong Kong; they’d take him in custody and begin the legal process of accusing him of treason and terrorism against the state.

Don’t you think that’s, at the very least, plausible?

But since that DIDN’T happen. And they already questioned the boy once. What is the basis, the LEGAL basis, for refusing an American citizen entry back into the country?

Posted by: john trevisani at August 31, 2006 12:27 PM
Comment #178538

I don’t think so many disparate people have agreed to a common point before. However: despite any suspicions we might have concerning these peoples motives or potential actions;

a) These people are American Citizens
b) They have not been convicted of anything illegal
c) They can not be arrested by the US outside of the US (remember the rendition fiascos?)
d) No one has shown a compelling legal argument that American Citizens can be refused entry into the US.
So why won’t the FBI let them enter the US and be detained upon entry? Is the evidence against them garnered from the NSA surveillence program and they don’t want to risk having the evidence dismissed? Or any other of the myriad possibilities of them having the rights of citizens once they enter the US?

In the end, I think the problem is that most people are sick of the abuses by BushCo and entrenchment is accelerating. As an aside, I’m actually kind of impressed that the FBI is in China in the first place.

Adrienne,
I understand about what was lost on 9-11. However, once power is given to a beaurocracy, it is never freely returned. To repost from Judge Taylor’s decision:

As Justice Warren wrote in U.S. v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258 (1967):
Implicit in the term National defense is the notion of defending those values and ideas which set this Nation apart… . It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of … those liberties … which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile..

Posted by: Dave1 at August 31, 2006 1:34 PM
Comment #178540

The latest news is that the Ismails are back in Pakistan.

Posted by: DOC at August 31, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #178544

john,

I understand your point. The FBI obviously lacked the evidence to arrest and try the son.

Having jurisdiction restricted to within the US and given our lack of access to the region where OBL is presumed to still be, the reasons the FBI lacked evidence are apparent.

There are numerous abuses of power by the Bushies. I am as offended by them more than most. But this is different. If this were a criminal case, there would be probable cause to get a search warrant.

The problem is that the only place to search the Ismaels was the inside of their minds.

This is not a case worth drawing a line in the sand. As liberal as I am, I have plenty of questions about what the Ismaels were up to. The FBI didn’t want to detain them, they wanted to question them on their terms.

Rather than be subject to polygraphs, they’ve decided to return to Pakistan.

What did the FBI have? Oh, simply that a cousin of the son was convicted of training in a terrorist camp in Pakisatan and admitted that the son trained in one too. Coming as no surprise, the father denied the son was in a terrorist training camp.

John, this case is not akin to the NSA scanning phone numbers looking for guilt by area code.

This is not poor slobs from Afghanistan who are locked up in Gitmo because warlords wanted to trade personal enemies for lucrative bounties.

These are the kind of people that we want the FBI going after.

Posted by: CPAdams at August 31, 2006 2:10 PM
Comment #178545

Dave, I wholeheartedly agreed with Judge Taylor’s decision.

DOC, got a link to that story?

Posted by: Adrienne at August 31, 2006 2:11 PM
Comment #178552

CPAdams:

These are the kind of people that we want the FBI going after.

While i agree with the simple concept of investigating a lead. Forget about the source; it’s a lead that is worth following up on.

i think it went something like this:


  • the FBI extracts the son’s name from Hayat during interrogation
  • The son’s name and the father’s name are put on a No-fly list
  • The family surfaces from Pakistan after 4 years
  • Their names pop up on the no-fly list and FBI crew greets them for questioning
  • The son answers their first round of questions
  • When the FBI returns for the 2nd round and a poloygraph, the son refuses to answer without an attorney present
  • the FBI allows the rest of the family to continue back to America
  • the FBI refuse entry

Now if the FBI decided to let them go home and grabbed a seat next to them for the entire trip home. And when they arrived in American soil, decided to detain them for further questioning. i wouldn’t have a problem with it.

But simply not allowing them back in the country from Hong Kong or Pakistan doesn’t protect anything.

Posted by: john trevisani at August 31, 2006 2:52 PM
Comment #178556

Nevermind DOC, I found an article from the SF Chronicle that mentions their return to Pakistan:
2 Lodi residents refused entry back into U.S.

Something strange in that article too. It said the Hayat cousin who plead guilty and was convicted for going to a terrorist training camp was employed as a “cherry packer” and his father an “ice cream truck driver.” Now I’m afraid this raises a flag for me, because those aren’t very highly skilled jobs, which implies that they weren’t that wealthy a family, and yet the cousin and his father were caught trying to take 28,000 dollars into Pakistan to help fund that terrorist training camp? And how to explain how the Ismail father and son in question who have refused to be questioned by the FBI in order to gain re-entry, as well as their entire family could have afforded to spend almost five years in Pakistan, yet still have a home to return to? I had been assuming the entire family was fairly wealthy, but now I’m not so sure. In my opinion, something seems very fishy here.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 31, 2006 3:09 PM
Comment #178559

Ahem… “You have the RIGHT to remain SILENT”.

Period. You can’t keep them out of the country on the basis of them exercising that right.

Posted by: Jarin at August 31, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #178562

“Ahem… “You have the RIGHT to remain SILENT”.
Period. You can’t keep them out of the country on the basis of them exercising that right.”

Absolutely. And that points up the fact that if these two have been involved in something related to terrorism, it would have made better sense to bring them back to the US for questioning. So that seems equally fishy.

As the article I just posted said:

Hayat himself had just returned from a two-year trip to Pakistan. His flight, too, had been diverted because Hayat was on the no-fly list as a result of conversations he had with an informant who had infiltrated the mosque in Lodi that Hayat attended.

I wonder if they’re trying to keep these two out of this country because the information they have on them was illegally obtained and so can’t be used in court? If it was gathered through the totally lawless methods of Bush’s NSA program that might be why they haven’t allowed them to come back under ordinary circumstances.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 31, 2006 3:57 PM
Comment #178567

Adrienne - So if there were some shenannegans going on in obtaining information on these two, and what they have is inadmissable, what the FBI is doing is coercing these people to incriminate themselves by not letting them into thier “Home” country. More shenannegans, if you ask me.

Technically they can’t be detained for more than 72 hours unless they are implicated in a crime, which I don’t beleive they are. What strikes me as complete lunacy, is that you have an 18 year old who may “not” be an extremist, who given the current FBI behavior, may very well become one.

Posted by: DOC at August 31, 2006 4:24 PM
Comment #178571

Laws and Bush? He is the law, gods annointed, like King James and the guy that came after him who got his head chopped off. Ask Katherine Harris, she knows. She even helped god a little bit in her own small way.

At least the FBI knows that Pakistan is a source for terrorism, they must be the rogue element in our government.

Banishment, for not cooperating, seems unfair, but maybe it goes along with the guest worker concept of creating a group of people who will always be regarded as second class citizens.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 31, 2006 4:40 PM
Comment #178575

“Technically they can’t be detained for more than 72 hours unless they are implicated in a crime, which I don’t beleive they are.”

Actually DOC, I think the FBI does have something on these people. I mean, the cousin who plead guilty did directly implicate the eighteen year old who isn’t being allowed back in. And from what I’ve read so far, it’s a family without a lot of money, yet they’re still somehow able to do stuff like send 28,000 bucks to a terrorist training camp, and take a four (almost five) year long junket to Pakistan and still have a life in America to return to? Just doesn’t add up. Sounds to me like these people might be a go-between for something larger. Yet, at the same time, the fact that the FBI won’t allow them back in the way they should, suggests there is something not quite kosher about the way they’ve been gathering info on this clan, otherwise, it seems like they should have been charged and arrested upon their return to this country.
Basically, the whole thing sounds pretty screwed-up all from top to bottom to me.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 31, 2006 4:52 PM
Comment #178581

Adrienne - (LOL) Okay! Then we need to add that to the constitution. A naturalized or native born citizen may enjoy all rights and protections under the constitution unless the FBI fucks up.

I would bet it is the same circumstance that lead to the mistrial in the case of the older Hayat. Probably extreme coersion without the benefit of a lawyer.

Posted by: DOC at August 31, 2006 5:20 PM
Comment #178583

DOC:
“Then we need to add that to the constitution. A naturalized or native born citizen may enjoy all rights and protections under the constitution unless the FBI fucks up.”

No way! We need to demand that the FBI and the CIA and the DOJ follow the laws already in place — so that we don’t have to allow people who are involved with terrorism, whether naturalized or native born, go free because these clowns couldn’t be bothered to get a warrant, and thus, can’t present whatever intelligence they’ve gathered on them in court.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 31, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #178584

Adrienne - I love agreeing with you.

;)

Posted by: DOC at August 31, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #178594

Adrienne,

one other interesting point from the article you linked to - the Ismaels refused to be interrogated by the FBI in PAKISTAN as condition for their re-entry to the US.

No surprise there. Pakistan is one of the CIA’s favored torture resorts(“5 whips rating by Interrogator’s Monthly!”).

The more I learn of this story the more bizarre it is. There must be evidentiary problems or they would have admitted the Ismaels and arrested them on the spot.

Don’t have an answer. Sorry they are not in custody - the background in the article is worse for the Ismaels than the FBI.

Posted by: CPAdams at August 31, 2006 6:25 PM
Comment #178596

DOC:
“Adrienne - I love agreeing with you.
;)”

Flatterer. ;^)

Posted by: Adrienne at August 31, 2006 6:27 PM
Comment #178598

CP,
It is a bizarre story — none of it makes sense from either end. If the Ismail’s are innocent, you’d think they would answer the questions, take the polygraph, get home, and then take the case to court for being treated so unfairly. And if the FBI actually had something to pin on them, why not bring them back, and just arrest and charge them?
Until I hear differently, I’m going to assume they’re BOTH guilty. The Ismail’s, and the FBI.

Posted by: Adrienne at August 31, 2006 6:37 PM
Comment #178615

Adrienne:

You’re probably right, they probably are guilty. However, one odd little thing nobody seems to have mentioned yet… polygraphs are notoriously unreliable, to the point of often not being admissible in court. Why on earth would the FBI make their reentry into the US contingent upon questioning under polygraph? That adds a further wrinkle to the whole thing.

Posted by: Jarin at August 31, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #178633

>>>If 4 years is the measuring stick, then those studying abroad for the 4 years would have to undergo the same welcoming treatment, no? “Hey Mom! i was accepted into Oxford.”

“Great. Enjoy the polygraph on the way back.”

There shouldn’t be anything as so simple as timeline to define one’s citizenship. If 4 years is too long the how about 3 years, or 2 years? What will be the magical number?


Adrienne, use a little common sense with the Oxford example. If my mommy or daddy sat with me the 4 years I was at Oxford, I not only would be the butt of many campus jokes, but have no need of an education because mommy/daddy would always take care of me. How many parents and siblings do you know follow their kids to institutes of higher education? Whether it be here or abroad?

I think many who call themselves “liberals” are simply losing sight of the fact that there are people who would hurt you if they could get to you. I would seriously question a government that does not consider this 4-year odyssey a bit strange if only for the reasons the father/son specified. Without the cooperation of the father/son, there is no way to clear their path back to the U.S. and their adopted home. Given the close ties to a convicted wannabe terrorist, a jaundiced eye is appropriate.

Keep in mind, that the cry of “racial profiling” is often a fog pulled down to disguise bad intentions and pure evil at work. Ted Bundy told all his victims to “trust me”. Bush/Cheney scare tactics don’t throw much of a scare into me, but there have to be some parameters. 52% of illegal aliens are criminals either from their home country or within the U.S; another 15-20% are living off the generous welfare system.

Therefore, we can reason 100% of the illegals are NOT just looking to achieve the American dream. Many are seeking to cash in on the American dream without working for it. So where do you draw the line?

I dislike Bush and most of what he stands for, but there has to be some rational thought from the American people. Beware that the one you befriend does not prove to be a viper. Being a liberal does not mean dismissing all common sense and reacting with only a bleeding heart.

Posted by: KDSCOTT at August 31, 2006 8:00 PM
Comment #178671

Jarin:
“Why on earth would the FBI make their reentry into the US contingent upon questioning under polygraph? That adds a further wrinkle to the whole thing.”

I thought that was extremely weird too, Jarin. But then I started thinking about how they’ve had an informant on the inside of that mosque there in Lodi. Maybe the FBI has some vague ideas about a whole network of people who are connected to Hayat (the admittedly guilty cousin), and they planned to rattle off some names with the Ismail’s just to see what would happen on the polygraph? The results might never need to be considered conclusive in court, yet could possibly be very useful in giving clues that point investigators in the correct direction, you know?

The other thing that occurred to me is that if they’re monitoring people here in California who they believe are connected to the Ismail’s, what they’re doing (keeping the father and son out of the country, and having this become a national story) might actually cause those connected to them to make sudden or unexpected moves?
:^D You’ll have to forgive me for throwing out all these random speculations — I’ve always loved trying to pick apart a mystery, and this one is definitely bizarre enough to be fun. Even the fact that they’re from such a thoroughly non-descript town like Lodi seems really odd.

KDSCOTT:
“Adrienne, use a little common sense with the Oxford example.”

Yeah, when John said that I thought about pointing out that most people don’t have their whole family follow them to another country when they go off to school — but just went with saying I think it’s strange for any family to take any vacation lasting longer than six months — and in that case, only if it’s obvious that they’re the super-wealthy type.

“Being a liberal does not mean dismissing all common sense and reacting with only a bleeding heart.”

Oh, thanks for injecting this insulting stereotype as a final flourish. I’m sure you meant well, right? :^/

Posted by: Adrienne at August 31, 2006 9:58 PM
Comment #178674
Polygraphs were unreliable. It’s been about 50 years or so they have been considered unreliable. Has the technology not changed?

From what I’ve found, no it has not. While the detectors of physical signs have gotten more sensitive, all of the information ultimately needs to be “interpreted” by a human operator who is basically guessing at the meanings of a person’s reactions while they are being questioned. It is inherently subjective, and that is the element which usually keeps it from being considered reliable enough for a court of law unless both parties agree to its admission.

Posted by: Jarin at August 31, 2006 10:23 PM
Comment #178715

The thing that gets me is that they are both refusing to take a polygraph, why is that? I am as liberal as they come, but, in this case I actually agree with the FBI. As a much younger man I was asked by the police dept. to take a polygraph after a neighbors house was robbed and agreed to do so, and that ended any suspicion that I had been involved. On my last trip to the airport I was one of those people pulled aside and questioned and that was only a trip across a few states. Personally I think that our foreign policies are the root cause of terrorism, but, as an American whose family has served in this countries military since the revolutionary war I can definitely see these two as suspicious, also I don’t think the women should have been allowed in the U.S. freely. I mean if they can afford 4 years of vacation, surely they can take the time to answer questions and take a polygraph if they really want to come back to the country they call home.

Posted by: jim at September 1, 2006 8:26 AM
Comment #178718

Jim:
i appreciate you sharing your stories. But the simple fact is that you had the choice of subjecting yourself to the polygraph. How would you have felt if you didn’t have the choice. How would you have felt if the police said that you had to take a polygraph test or you couldn’t leave your house?

It’s your right as an American citizen to remain silent. You, in an effort to ‘move on’, subjected to the polygraph; that was your choice. But if you didn’t take the test, do you think it was within the rights of the police to force you to take the test in order for them you comply? The answer, of course, is no. The police can ask all they want, but you don’t have to comply. The police would have to get a warrant (for judicial oversight) to have a polygraph taken and your lawyer, whether court-appointed or private representation would have been present. That was not the case in the Ismail case.

Posted by: john trevisani at September 1, 2006 8:53 AM
Comment #178725

Taking all the information given in this thread i can only conclude that this is a case of obtaining information not evidence. we need to remember to differentiate the two words.

the women were allowed to enter because as far as the fbi was concerned they had no information. the men have any information being sought. the women would not have been allowed to be a part of whsatever school being attended if schools was why they went to pakistan.

also, if polygraph is being asked for then that in itself would imply that information and not evidence is being sought by the mere fact that anything found by it would not be admissable in a court of law in the U.S.

now, one more possibility exists too. they may be being interrogated for some crime in another country. this may be a long shot possibility but it still exists. thus the laws of that country are or may be applicable to them not ours. and the polygraph is just a means for the fbi to determine, in their minds, innocense or guilt so as to determine whether or not they deserve U.S protection from the laws of another country. this would be especially true if that country was considered as an ally in the war against terrorism.

as far as i’m concerned there are to many ifs and possibilities to come to any good conclusion in regards to this case. and jumping to conclusions is never a logical means to judge a situation.

Posted by: The Griper at September 1, 2006 9:39 AM
Comment #178730

Griper - Once again, the “Case” is not to determine guilt or innocence. The case is the denial of rights by the government due to nothing more than heresay and suspicion.

If your “other possibility” were true, these men would already be in the United States in protective custody, not free in Pakistan.

If a polygraph is not admissable in a U.S. court case, it would also not be admissable as evidence in international extradition procedings.

There is no indication that there is any judicial support calling for these interrogations, and thus it seems by all appearances as a rogue police action.

The fact that these men remain in Pakistan indicates that with full endorsement by thier chain of command (to include the president) the FBI has usurped due process, and completely negated the ideal of “Innocent until proven guilty”

Posted by: DOC at September 1, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #178751

Hey you guys, here are some more pieces to add to this puzzle:

From UPI article:
Analysis: From Lodi, Calif. to Pakistan

Ismail, who had already been questioned once by FBI agents at the embassy, had accepted advice from relatives not to undergo the polygraph.
The Ismails are the uncle and cousin of Hamid Hayat, an agricultural laborer from Lodi. Hayat was convicted earlier this year of supporting terrorism by attending a military-style training camp in Pakistan run by Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida. Attendance at such camps, run by a shifting constellation of groups committed to jihad in Kashmir and Afghanistan, and now virtually indistinguishable from al-Qaida itself, is a major red flag for Western counter-terrorism investigators. British authorities, for instance, believe that two of the four suicide bombers who blew themselves up on trains and buses in London on July 7, 2005, had met with al-Qaida militants and received bomb-making training at camps in Pakistan very like the one Hayat said he attended. In a videotaped interview with the FBI in June last year, Hayat told agents that the younger Ismail was one of several young Lodi residents of Pakistani origin who had attended such camps.
Hayat`s lawyer, Wazhma Mojaddidi, told UPI that her client was telling investigators what they wanted to hear. ‘He named a whole bunch of people,’ she said, some of whom were in photographs he had been shown by agents prior to the recorded interview. She said the FBI had either interviewed, or sought to interview, the other people her client named. All of them are at liberty, although the FBI says their investigation is continuing. Ismail ‘was the only one who was outside of the United States,’ she said.

And from this article courtesy recordnet.com (serves the Sacramento and Central Valley, including Lodi):
Two Lodi men stuck in Pakistan

Twenty year old son and brother to the Ismail’s stuck in Pakistan:

Usama Ismail, 20, said an FBI agent involved in last year’s Lodi terrorism investigation called from Pakistan asking him to persuade his brother to talk. “I said, ‘You guys screwed my uncle over, and now you want to screw my brother over?’” Ismail said. “They’re treating them like foreigners or something. What’s the point of being a citizen?”

From the Ismail’s lawyer:

“It’s stunning. It’s outrageous that the government is conditioning these folks’ right to return to the United States upon giving up their right to remain silent,” said Julia Harumi Mass, an attorney for the ACLU in San Francisco. “If the government had any real evidence against them, these people could be charged with a crime instead of being held hostage in a foreign land.” Mass said Drew Parenti, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Sacramento office, confirmed that he was behind the request to prevent the Ismails from returning unless they agreed to questioning. Mass said Parenti would not say what gave him that authority. Parenti’s office referred questions Monday to FBI spokeswoman Karen Ernst, who declined to comment, because the matter is under investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento referred questions to the Department of Homeland Security, which did not return a call Monday. Mass said the Department of Homeland Security told her it was investigating the ACLU’s complaint.
The Ismails are close relatives as well as neighbors of the Hayats. Hamid Hayat, 23, was convicted April 25 of supporting terrorists by attending a paramilitary training camp in Pakistan in 2003 and 2004. His father, originally charged with lying about his firsthand knowledge of terrorist camps, pleaded guilty to a count of lying about the amount of money he was taking to Pakistan in 2003. Umer Hayat, 48, was freed Friday, sentenced to time served. During his interview with FBI agents, Hamid Hayat said several of his Lodi cousins had trained at jihadist training camps in Pakistan, including Jaber Ismail. Usama Ismail, also named in that confession, said those statements are false.

So, despite the fact that what is happening to them seems utterly wrong and unconstitutional, I’m still left with the impression that the Ismail’s are guilty in some way. And I’m still wondering whether the FBI did something illegal with NSA spying, or if they have a right to do what their doing because the Patriot Act now allows them do things to American citizens that none of us have never seen or heard of before now.

Posted by: Adrienne at September 1, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #178766

Adrienne - Awesome addition, Thanks.

What bothers me is that there is not a audible outcry from the American public regarding the rights of the Ismails, guilty or not. It seems to have garnered too little media attention for such an important issue, why is that? I think that beyond guilt, many Americans should know that this is happening, and should be demanding answers from the executive branch that oversees the FBI.

As Adrienne aptly questioned, Is there something in the Patriot Act, that reverses “Innocent until proven guilty” and usurps “Due process”?

Posted by: DOC at September 1, 2006 12:59 PM
Comment #178771

DOC,

As i said there are too many ifs and possibilities to come to a good conclusion and not enough facts.

fact: there is a no fly list and the two men were on that list. that was confirmed.

fact: the women and boy was not on that list so they were allowed to come in.

fact: the fbi wants some answers to questions from them.

fact: the fbi want them to take a polygraph test.

everything else in that story may or may not be related to the issue.

Everything else are questions needing answers. and as of now we do not have the answers yet.

Question: were they justifiably placed on that list in accordance to the rules?

Question: what is allowed when caught?

Question: who does that list target and on what basis can one be placed on that list?

Question: is having that list even legal or constitutional?

these are but some of the questions needing answers to and none of us are qualified to answer them. at least i know i’m not qualified, are you?

we can speculate and even offer our own opinion on the matter but no more. so, as i said any conclusions would only be jumping to a conclusion as of now.

we must remember one more thing also. this discussion is based on a story in the news as reported by a journalist. and stories such as these can not, may not or will not report all the relevant information needed to come to a fair and just conclusion.

not only that, there is the issue of sensatualizing a story in order to get it printed for the purpose of creating a controversy. and i think it is common knowlege that the news media has done that and does do it. whether or not it has occured here, i cannot say nor will i speculate on it.

now, i am one that is always suspicious of government actions but i have also learned to be skeptical of the news media too. both have shown me that they are more concerned about their own needs than they are concerned about what we, the people, need from them.

so, as i said as far as i’m concerned, there is not enough information given us yet about this issue.

Posted by: The Griper at September 1, 2006 1:29 PM
Comment #178779

Griper - I’m completely comfortable disagreeing with you regarding what facts need to be in place to satisfy “my single question”.

True, a complete conclusion will not come until this is entirely played out, and then I would venture to guess that my single question will be completely obliterated by governmental and media spin.

If by your suggestion we as American citizens need to speculate as to whether or not we have the inalienable right to return to our own country, regardless of criminal status, then many serious questions need to be addressed.

Posted by: DOC at September 1, 2006 1:58 PM
Comment #178794

DOC:

What bothers me is that there is not a audible outcry from the American public regarding the rights of the Ismails, guilty or not. It seems to have garnered too little media attention for such an important issue, why is that?

This morning on the train ride in, i heard the tail-end of an interview from BBC radio with the Jabar Ismail the kid named by Hayat and who is being asked to take the polygraph in order to enter the US.

Again, i only heard the tail-end of it, but he was saying that Hayat was ‘crazy’ and that he was studying the Quran. He was reiterating how much he missed his family and such. The interviewer countered with “How come you don’t just answer their questions?” And he said he did answer them, they just didn’t believe him and wanted him to take a polygraph without lawyers present. I wish i could post a link to the transcript but as of now i’m unable to find it.


What strikes me about this interview is the fact that someone from BBC radio was easily able to track this kid down and get him for an interview. It was broadcast on BBC radio, heard in the states on NPR.

Posted by: john trevisani at September 1, 2006 2:34 PM
Comment #178821

A little more insight.

Hamid Hayat

It seems that Hamid Hayat was convicted on the weakest of evidence, and that most of his confession was fed to him by the FBI.

Draw your own conclusions

Posted by: DOC at September 1, 2006 4:57 PM
Comment #178829

DOC:
“Draw your own conclusions”

Remember how I said I would assume the Ismail’s were guilty until I heard differently? Well, your article was the “differently” I needed to hear. Now I think the Hayat’s guilt is in very serious question, and the Ismail’s as well.
But the FBI? Still definitely guilty — now perhaps even more so.

Excellent link — thanks so much, DOC!

Posted by: Adrienne at September 1, 2006 5:43 PM
Comment #178883

This thread must not die!

Posted by: DOC at September 1, 2006 11:38 PM
Comment #178887

DOC,

“If by your suggestion we as American citizens need to speculate as to whether or not we have the inalienable right to return to our own country, regardless of criminal status, then many serious questions need to be addressed.”

Question
when did returning to our country become an “inalienable right”

in fact if this no fly policy is legal and constitutional then a person has no right to return if their name is on that no fly list. if this policy is legal and constitutional then by that policy a person cannot even leave the country of origin of that flight. and it also applies to persons seeking to leave this country too. a pakistani whose name was on that list would not be allowed to return to pakistan from here.

Posted by: The Griper at September 2, 2006 12:24 AM
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