Last Friday, lawyers for Ali Al-Timimi, a Virginia man serving a life sentence for supporting jihad against the U.S., pushed to obtain more information from the federal government on evidence pertaining to the cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki’s recruitment as a U.S. government informant a decade ago.
According to Al-Tamimi’s defense lawyer, Jonathan Turley, recently-released FBI files suggest that Al-Awlaki may have been acting as an “asset” for some government agency. In response to Turley’s request for this crucial evidence, government prosecutors insisted that they had no obligation to provide the detail of its dealings with Al-Awlaki:
“Mr. Turley has no right to know [whether the government] had an asset into Awlaki at that time. Mr. Turley has no right to know if Mr. Awlaki was an asset at that time!”
Leonie Brinkema, the presiding U.S. District Court Judge on the case, has not been inclined to grant motions filed by Muslim scholar Ali Al-Timimi seeking more details on the government’s relationship with Al-Awlaki.
Further, last Friday Brinkema suggested that part of the answer to these concerns is so highly classified that she is the only person at the court who is allowed to see it, and that even a number of other personnel with “Top Secret” clearance were not allowed to see the documents pertaining to these concerns.
In addition to publishing Boiling Frogs, where this article originally appeared, Sibel Edmonds is the founder and president of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to aiding national security whistleblowers. She has appeared on national radio and TV as a commentator on matters related to whistleblowers, national security, and excessive secrecy & classification, and has been featured on CBS 60 Minutes, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and in the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The American Conservative, and others. Her book, ‘Shooting the Messenger,’ co-authored with Professor William Weaver is forthcoming from Kansas University Press.