Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dearborn Hosts Premiere of 'Sister Act 3'

Well, some of us got it and some of us don't. And Talal Chahine, that old lady killer, most clearly has got it.

How else to explain how yet one more female accomplice of Chahine, La Shish restaurateur and Hezbollah financier, gets to face federal charges, while Chahine gets to do his wudu five times a day in the congenial environs of Bint Jbeil, Lebanon?

This time, the defendant is Nada Nadim Prouty, the elder sister of Elfat El Aouar and Rula Al-Aouar, both of whom preceded their big sister into federal custody. If I were in charge of the investigation, I’d find out how many El Aouar sisters are left, and go right on down the line.

First was Elfat El Aouar, who was married to Chahine. She was indicted along with him in May 2006 but, unfortunately for her, was not smart enough to be charged in absentia the way her wily husband was. and is now doing 18 months for tax evasion.

Then there is Rula Al-Aouar, 36, a Detroit-area physician, charged this past September with citizenship fraud. More specifically, she paid a dishwasher to marry her in order to obtain US citizenship by fraud.

She also worked for Chahine's restaurant. Along with tax evasion and Hezbollah money-laundering, Chahine used his La Shish restaurant to arrange lots of fraudulent marriages between immigrants and La Shish employees who were US citizens.

He even worked out a scheme to pay (now former) ICE official, Roy Bailey, to accept bribes in exchange for helping with these kinds of marriage frauds, or releasing illegal immigrants facing deportation. Chahine and Bailey also conspired to use Bailey’s ICE position to then extort money from some of La Shish’s former employees with precarious immigration problems they don’t want reported. Chahine was charged along with Bailey for that in October, but, as the DOJ’s press release notes, “CHAHINE has failed to return to the United States and is believed to be living as a fugitive in the country of Lebanon.”

And now there is big sister Nada Nadim Prouty, who overstayed her student visa, and in 1990 paid some out-of-work guy to marry her so she could become a citizen. Then, after a few years of internship as waitress and hostess at La Shish, then managed to get hired consecutively by both the FBI and the CIA.

As is now being reported all over, (even in the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press!!), Ms. Prouty used her positions as an FBI special agent, and then as CIA operations officer, to access classified information to see if she or other family members, including Chahine, were being investigated for terrorist activities. To aid in her search, she concentrated on an investigation file targeting Hezbollah. She also took classified FBI documents home. As the Free Press headline states it quite literally: "Fake U.S. citizen got FBI secrets from files".

All of which has now led to her agreement to plead guilty to federal charges of “conspiring to fraudulently obtain U.S. citizenship; illegally accessing the FBI computer system, and naturalization fraud.” For this she faces six-12 months in prison, loss of citizenship, and deportation. Her plea deal also stipulates that the government will allow her little sister, Rula Al-Aouar, to be referred to a pre-trial diversion program so she can avoid her own charges for naturalization fraud.

David Ashenfelter at the Free Press gives a decent chronology of this in his article today. In it, he describes how Ms. Prouty, while still at the FBI, and before she joined the CIA, was using her position there to assist her brother-in-law, Chahine, as he continued to provide material assistance to Hezbollah. As things unfolded once Ms. Prouty joined the FBI in 1999, as Ashenfelter recounts:

In August 2000, Chahine married Prouty's sister.

The next month, Prouty accessed an FBI computer system without authorization to find out whether she, El Aouar or Chahine was being investigated.

In 2002, Prouty's sister and Chahine attended a fund-raiser in Lebanon that featured speeches by Chahine and Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, the spiritual leader of Hizballah, which the U.S. State Department says is a terrorist organization.

In June 2003, a few weeks before joining the CIA as an operations officer, Prouty again accessed the FBI computer system to learn about a Detroit-based national security investigation involving Hizballah.

In other words, she was spying. But she is notably not being charged with spying, nor anything remotely so grave.

I hope that the lenient charges (the heaviest charge she faces is for naturalization fraud), and the favor to her younger sister, are being exchanged for something of substantial value in return from Ms. Prouty--something that could finally get authorities to lower the boom on Hezbollah in Dearborn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right On Brother!! Why not Spying - opps maybe it isn't PC
Keep up the great work!