Conservative political commentator Debbie Schlussel can sometimes wildly miss the mark on her points -- occasionally dabbling in conspiracy-theory-level stuff -- but she's got one hell of a question for Republican Congressman Paul Gosar.
If Gosar knew in 2011 that Abdullatif Aldosary was a "known terrorist" -- which, above all, is false -- why did Gosar not sound any alarms about a supposed terrorist living in his district until he allegedly bombed the Social Security Administration office in Casa Grande a year later?
Gosar's staff learned of Aldosary in 2011, when Aldosary -- an Iraqi refugee -- requested help obtaining a green card. A recent letter from Gosar's office says Aldosary was denied "pursuant to the terrorism related grounds of inadmissibility."
"It appears to the Congressman that a known terrorist was allowed to travel freely in Arizona and was allegedly able to engage in terrorism more than a year after DHS had already determined he engaged in terrorism activity," Gosar's chief of staff Thomas Van Flein wrote in a letter to a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official.
As we explained here last week, that's not quite the case.
Aldosary was involved in a 1991 uprising against the regime of Saddam Hussein, which was egged on by the U.S. government under President George H.W. Bush.
"The [Immigration and Nationality Act] defines terrorist activity quite expansively such that the term can apply to persons and actions not commonly thought of as terrorists and to actions not commonly thought of as terrorism," according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services website. "Significantly, there is no exception under the law for 'freedom fighters,' so most rebel groups would be considered to be engaging in terrorist activity even if fighting against an authoritarian regime."
Just this year, the Department of Homeland Security created an exemption for Iraqis who participated in these uprisings over a one-month period.
A federal government source told New Times last week that Aldosary met this exemption, and his green-card case was re-opened. It's likely all for naught at this point, due to the bombing, but it makes it pretty clear that Aldosary wasn't a "known terrorist."
Yet, Gosar sent a letter to USCIS, demanding to know why this "known terrorist" was living in his district.
"In light of the IED planted outside the Casa Grande Social Security Office that was detonated on November 30, 2012, the Congressman raised serious concerns about how an alien who was denied permanent citizenship on the basis of 'terrorism related grounds' was not detained and being processed for deportation already one year ago?" the letter from Gosar's staff reads. "But for the grace of God, no one was injured in the bombing."
According to the date stamp, Gosar's staff knew about this "terrorism" label in the letter from USCIS on December 20, 2011, but he only appears alarmed after the bombing.
"...Republican Paul Gosar, is using Aldosary's terrorist attack-which he could have helped stop-to grandstand," Schlussel now opines.
"You'd think that upon learning that, a U.S. Congressman would raise hell and ask why an Islamic terrorist is roaming the streets of his district, why the person isn't being deported or at least detained awaiting deportation," Schlussel writes. "You'd think Congressman Gosar would have made a big deal about this. But you would be wrong. In fact, Gosar said nothing and did nothing."
She later asks, "I repeat: why didn't Gosar ask this question in November 2011, when he first became aware of it?"
Assuming Gosar actually believes Aldosary is a "known terrorist," then what did he do?
We've sent this question in e-mail form to Gosar's spokeswoman. We'll update this post if we get a response.
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