Two Texas politicians made public details of an investigation into a terrorism suspect while it was still in progress, potentially jeopardizing the inquiry, three sources familiar with the matter said on Friday.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick released details on Thursday night contained in documents that were still under court seal, the sources said. Spokesmen for Abbott and Patrick declined to comment on Friday.
The suspect, Omar Faraj Saeed al-Hardan, 24, appeared in court on Friday accused of providing material support to Islamic State overseas. He entered the United States as an Iraqi refugee in November 2009 and lived in Houston, according to a court document.
Abbott and Patrick are both Republicans and their party strongly opposes Democratic President Barack Obama’s plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country, arguing that they pose a security risk to the United States. The Obama administration has rejected that assertion.
In his statement on Thursday, Abbott urged Obama to halt the resettlement program so that all refugees could be properly vetted to ensure they “do not compromise the safety of Americans and Texans.”
Abbott’s spokesman, Sam Taylor, said he had released the statement in response to media inquiries.
The sources said the politicians’ comments forced federal authorities to wrap up their inquiries and rush out public statements and court papers on the case earlier than planned.
The Department of Justice released a statement about two hours after Abbott’s statement was released. The clerk of the District Court in the Southern District of Texas said Hardan’s indictment was only formally unsealed on Friday morning.
Hardan was in custody at the time of Abbott’s statement, but interviews of potential witnesses were still being conducted, the sources said.
The U.S. Justice Department also unveiled federal charges against another Iraqi refugee on Thursday, accusing Sacramento resident Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab of traveling overseas to fight alongside terrorist organizations and lying to U.S. authorities about it.
Hardan, granted legal permanent residency status in the United States in 2011, did not enter a plea when he appeared in court on Friday. He is charged with aiding Islamic State by offering his services and material support,
“He was prepared to take whatever action on his own behalf to assist the organization,” Kenneth Magidson, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas, said after the hearing.
More than 75 U.S. residents allegedly radicalized by Muslim militants have been arrested since 2014.
Wearing glasses and a gray plaid shirt, Hardan told the judge that he made it through 11th grade at a school in Jordan. He said he was married and had one child.
He also faces two charges about providing false information to U.S. officials concerning his ties to Islamic State and being provided weapons training, it said.
(Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Dallas and Kristen Hays in Houston, editing by Andrew Hay, James Dalgleish and Ross Colvin)
FBI has ‘no intelligence’ Antifa was involved in Sunday’s violence at DC protests: report
Attorney General Bill Barr and President Donald Trump have tried to blame Antifa -- or anti-fascists -- for violence in the protests against police injustice. But the public data has backed up their case, and even their on intel disputes the argument.
"he FBI’s Washington Field Office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that occurred on May 31, according to an internal FBI situation report obtained exclusively by The Nation. That same day, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would designate Antifa a terrorist organization, even though the government has no existing authority to declare a domestic group a terrorist organization," Ken Klippenstein reported for the magazine.
NYC protesters defy curfew — with a profane message for Mayor Bill de Blasio
Protesters in New York City continued to march after 8 p.m. on Tuesday -- in open defiance of a curfew order from Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Jan Ransom, who covers courts and jails for The New York Times, posted video of protesters chanting, "f*ck your curfew."
Wonder what protesters think about @NYCMayor’s 8 pm curfew?
Just listen. pic.twitter.com/8H38XNGfQt
— Jan Ransom (@Jan_Ransom) June 2, 2020
DC police demand people standing in line to vote go home — even though they’re exempt from curfew: report
Although Washington, D.C. is under curfew due to the George Floyd protests, the DC Board of Elections and Mayor Muriel Bowser have made clear that anyone waiting to vote in the district's primary elections are exempt from the curfew.
But according to the reports of at least one voter, some police in the district are still telling people waiting in line to vote to disperse and return to their homes.
THIS MOMENT IN WASHINGTON, DC:• A citywide curfew in effect• It's election day• Voters are exempt from the curfew• This line to vote is stretches all 4 sides of the block• Peaceful protests underway only blocks away@NBCLX @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/5uru5Yow1E