One of the first fruits of the PATRIOT Act was the indictment of University of South Florida Professor of Terrorism Sami al Arian. In addition to holding down his academic post, al Arian moonlighted as the North American head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. For ten years the government monitored his communications with his terrorist friends in Gaza, but was prohibited from sharing the intercepted communications with federal prosecutors. When the PATRIOT Act brought “the wall” down, the government brought a multi-count indictment against al Arian and several confederates based in large part on the communications.
It’s hard for me to understand how a jury could have acquitted al Arian on eight counts of the indictment yesterday and deadlocked on the remaining nine that were submitted against al Arian. At Frontpage, Joe Kaufman is equally mystified, but worth reading: “Acquitting a terrorist.” After putting in its case over five-and-a-half months, al Arian rested his defense without calling a single witness. Perhaps the bigger surprise is the government’s previous successes in difficult terrorism cases such as the one involving the blind sheikh. The outcome of the al Arian case nevertheless represents a serious miscarriage of justice.