Terror suspect's request for information denied

  • Article by: DAN BROWNING , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 18, 2008 - 12:06 AM

A judge ruled that allowing Mohamed Warsame to review the classified materials would harm national security.

U.S. District Judge John Tunheim issued an order Thursday denying terrorism suspect Mohamed Warsame's request to review information related to the government's clandestine surveillance of his activities in 2003.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained permission from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to tap Warsame's phone and to conduct a search of his Minneapolis apartment. The FBI investigated Warsame from July until Dec. 8, 2003, when agents took him to Camp Ripley for two days of interviews.

The government says Warsame admitted to receiving military training from Al-Qaida, attending terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and meeting Osama Bin Laden. He faces two counts in federal court of providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization and three counts of making false statements.

Prosecutors notified Warsame that they intend to offer evidence at his trial that was gleaned from the secret wiretap and search. He asked to inspect the application that the FBI filed to obtain the warrant, and sought to suppress the evidence obtained.

He argued that the Patriot Act amendment to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) violated his constitutional right to due process under law. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales filed an affidavit stating that disclosure of the materials Warsame was seeking would harm national security.

Tunheim privately reviewed the secret, classified materials and concluded that they support Gonzales' sworn statement that they contain information related to counterintelligence investigations, including the means by which they are conducted, which if disclosed might cause "exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States."

"The court is receptive to Warsame's concerns about the one-sided nature of the FISA process," he said. But after a thorough review, he found that the warrant applications were "straightforward and uncontroversial" and need not be disclosed.

Warsame's attorneys, Assistant Federal Public Defender Andrea George of Minneapolis and David C. Thomas of Chicago, could not be reached for comment.

Dan Browning • 612-673-4493

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