The name Gilbert Chagoury will be familiar to many readers. He’s a friend of Bill Clinton and a major donor to the Clinton Foundation. According to Judicial Watch, which cites Clinton Foundation documents, Chagoury has appeared near the top of the Foundation’s donor list as a $1 million to $5 million contributor.
Chagoury’s name came up recently in a newly released 2009 email from Clinton Foundation official Doug Band to Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, who were then top aides to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Band told Mills and Abeden to put to put Chagoury in touch with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon. Band explained that Chagoury is a “key guy [in Lebanon] and to us.”
At $1-5 million, you bet he’s a key guy to the Clintons.
In our post about this email, we noted that Chagoury was convicted in 2000 in Switzerland for laundering money from Nigeria. He is thus another in a long line of crooks with whom the Clintons have closely associated themselves, dating back to their Arkansas days.
But Chagoury isn’t just a crook. The Los Angeles Times reports that Chagoury was denied entry into the U.S. last year because of his ties to a Lebanese organization that has allegedly given money to the terrorist group Hezbollah. (Hat Tip: Chuck Ross at the Daily Caller.)
According to the LA Times, the State Department denied Chagoury’s visitor’s visa after he applied for one at the U.S. embassy in Paris last summer. The State Department made its determination based on a 2013 FBI intelligence report which cited sources saying that Chagoury gave money to Michel Aoun, a Lebanese politician who was suspected of “facilitating fundraising for Hezbollah.”
Aoun is the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement, an Iranian backed Shiite group that the U.S. has designated a terrorist organization because of its role in the 1983 attacks on the U.S. embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut.
So the Clinton Foundation interceded with the Clinton State Department to help not just a donor but a donor who the State Department, now that Hillary Clinton doesn’t run it anymore, doesn’t think should be admitted to the U.S. because of his ties to terrorists.
But it may be worse than that. It may be that the Clinton Foundation interceded with the Clinton State Department in furtherance of the donor’s efforts to help his friend Aoun, the head of a terrorist organization.
Ross cites a CNN report that the Clinton campaign said on background that Chagoury sought contact with a U.S. official in charge of Lebanese affairs in order to discuss issues related to elections that would be held months later.
Aoun was up for re-election that year, says Ross. So when Band told Mills and Abedin to put Chagoury in touch with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon, it might have been for the purpose of helping Chagoury’s friend Aoun in an election. (From all that appears, Chagoury and Aoun are no longer friends or allies; I haven’t been able to determine what their relationship was in 2009 when Band pushed Mills and Abedin for the meeting.)
It’s not clear whether Chagoury got a meeting with the U.S. “substance person on Lebanon.” It is clear that Chagoury had access, via the Clinton Foundation and by virtue of his donations to that outfit, to Hillary Clinton’s top aides at the very least, and that Abedin followed up on Band’s request on behalf of Chagoury.
Last year, by the way, wasn’t the first time Chagoury had trouble entering the U.S. In 2010, according to Ross, his private jet was grounded at an airport in New Jersey. The Department of Homeland Security eventually apologized for the incident.
It would be interesting to know whether then-Secretary of State Clinton or her staff had anything to do with securing the apology. In any case, with Clinton long gone, it appears there was no apology for the State Department’s refusal to allow Chagoury to enter the U.S. last year.
Unfortunately, it’s likely that Hillary soon will be back, and not just at State. With her will come her husband and a seemingly endless parade of crooks and sharp operators who are ready and well-positioned to have their needs and interests attended to by the new administration without regard to the nation’s interest or, indeed, its security.