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Who Knew?

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.

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD ConfidentialIt 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.

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard LevittLying 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.

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialHe 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.

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Copyright © 2018 Leonard Levitt