Monday, November 10, 2014

FBI refuses to turn over classified phone intercepts

FBI refuses to turn over classified phone intercepts

Irfan Khan, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, was indicted on terrorism charges, along with his father and brother — both Muslim imams at South Florida mosques. They were accused of conspiring to provide up to $50,000 to the Pakistani Taliban terror group. Irfan Khan spent 319 days in solitary confinement, but in June 2012, federal prosecutors abruptly dropped all charges. Khan's brother was also acquitted by a federal judge, due to the lack of evidence. The elderly father, Hafiz Khan, was convicted at trial and sentenced to 25 years behind bars.

Irfan Khan is currently suing the U.S. government for malicious prosecution. He is accusing authorities of manufacturing a non-existent case against him. A Miami federal judge refused the attempt by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to get the case dismissed. It is currently set for trial in June 2015.

This is not the first time the government stands accused of overreach in its “war on terrorism.” The odds are stacked against the defendants in criminal cases, as well as plaintiffs attempting to successfully sue the government on the grounds of malicious prosecution. In this lawsuit, the FBI is refusing to turn over thousands of classified phone intercepts. The agency is claiming that it would take about two years to declassify and translate up to 40,000 calls from the Pashto and Urdu languages, before they could be released to Irfan Khan for the lawsuit. This statement is very alarming, since it shows that the FBI didn’t bother to translate thousands of telephone calls deemed to be relevant to the prosecution at issue. The calls, potentially containing exculpatory evidence, should have been declassified and turned over to Khan's lawyers in the criminal case, years earlier.