“Scoop” Independent News
(June 17, NYC). A surprise development occurred at today’s hearing in the case of Susan Lindauer versus the United States. A long time associate of the accused, associate professor of computer science at Toronto’s York University, Parke Godfrey, Ph.D., testified that Susan Lindauer predicted an attack on the United States in the southern part of Manhattan. According to his testimony, she said that the attack would be very similar to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Godfrey said that Lindauer made the prediction on several occasions, one as late as August 2001.
The testimony occurred in a hearing on Lindauer’s competence to stand trial held before U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska, Southern District of New York, in lower Manhattan. On March 11, 2004, Lindauer was arrested for acting as an “unregistered agent” for the nation of Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion. Prosecutors have delayed the trial for over four years claiming Lindauer was delusional for asserting that she was a U.S. intelligence asset over a period of nine years, including the period covered by the indictment.
This was Lindauer’s first real opportunity to argue her competence to stand trial and deny the delusions claimed by court psychiatrists. Lindauer asserts that she had been a U.S. intelligence asset since working on the Lockerbie case and subsequent antiterrorism efforts.
Appearing for the defense, Dr. Godfrey testified under oath that Lindauer told him of her specific concerns about an attack on the United States. She told him that a “massive” attack would occur in the southern part of Manhattan, involving airplanes and possibly a nuclear weapon. The witness said that she mentioned this in the year 2000, which coincided with the Lockerbie trial. And then in 2001, Lindauer also mentioned the anticipated attack in the spring, 2001 and then August 2001. Godfrey said, at that time, Lindauer thought an attack was “imminent” and that it would complete what was started in the 1993 bombing (the original World Trade Center bombing).
After the hearing, Lindauer elaborated that this extreme threat scenario was done in concert with the man she says was one of her CIA handlers, Dr. Richard Fuisz, who has been associated with U.S. intelligence.
Federal prosecutor Edward O’Callaghan tried to diminish the prediction by asking Godfrey if Lindauer presented this as a “prophesy.” Godfrey denied hearing that word mentioned in their conversations. He stated that Lindauer used the term “premonition.” The prosecution did not challenge Godfrey’s testimony that Lindauer made the predictions in the time period given by the witness. After the hearing, Lindauer said that she’d called the Department of Justice Office of Counterterrorism in August of 2001 reporting her fears about an attack.
The Issue of Competency to Stand Trial
After initially evaluating Lindauer, court appointed psychiatrists in New York argued that her clams of innocence and her willingness to produce witnesses to verify those claims were signs of delusional thinking. However, a Maryland based psychiatrist and two psychotherapists with whom Lindauer visited on a regular basis failed to support the notion of delusions or a debilitating mental illness. Lindauer has told federal authorities continuously that she was a U.S. intelligence asset and she offered to prove that in open court.
Prosecutors typically disparage appeals by defendants to delay or avoid trial based on psychological stress or suffering. This case is an exception. The United States Government is the party delaying the trial based on their claims of Lindauer’s inability to assist in her own defense.
Today’s testimony was limited to what is known as “lay” witnesses. Lindauer’s expert witness, a distinguished psychiatrist and academic, will testify at a July 7, 2008 hearing that she’s competent to stand trial.
Lindauer triggered today’s hearing by refusing to attend court mandated counseling, a court requirement during her periods of release from 11 months of federal detention. In a recent interview in “Scoop,” Lindauer said: “Since August, 2007, I have refused to go back [to court mandated counseling]. I told the Court the game is over. Go to trial or drop the charges, which are ridiculous anyway. They don’t have a case, and they know it.”
More Testimony by Dr. Godfrey and Kelly O’Meara
Dr. Godfrey’s testimony contained some other elements of note. Lindauer’s defense attorney, Brian Shaughnessy of Washington, DC, asked about Lindauer’s personality and behavior. He said that she was “mercurial,” subject to periods of joy and sadness in response to the events that she experienced. He also testified that he’d never seen her as having any mental impediments.
Kelly O’Meara was also called to the stand in Lindauer’s behalf. O’Meara served as a senior congressional staffer for over two decades. She did investigative work for members of Congress on the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 1996 TWA Flight 800 crash on Long Island Sound in 1996. She’s a former investigative reporter for Insight Magazine and the Washington Times and author of Psyched Out: How Psychiatry Sells Mental Illness and Pushes Pills that Kill, a recent book on the dangers of psychiatric medication.
When examined by the prosecution, O’Meara said that she had no reason to believe that Lindauer had a mental disorder. Prosecutor O’Callaghan then asked if she believed that she was qualified to make that judgment. O’Meara responded affirmatively saying that she could read the official diagnostic manual for mental disorders like anybody else and compare behavior with the list of symptoms provided.
Under questioning by defense attorney Shaughnessy, the witness described an after-work group that met every Thursday over a number of years at Capitol Hill’s Hunan Restaurant. This group included Lindauer, ‘O’Meara, and lobbyists and staffers who enjoyed talking politics and having a refreshment at the end of the day. O’Meara focused on her long term close friendship with Paul Hoven, who is described by Lindauer as an intelligence operative and one of her handlers.
The O’Meara-Hoven relationship included regular meetings over several years and frequent phone calls. O’Meara mentioned that Hoven enjoyed going to dinner at her sister’s home and that she had accompanied Hoven to a shooting visit at the country home of a legendary intelligence figure.
O’Meara was asked if Hoven indicated any relationship with Lindauer. She responded that “I heard about Susan all the time from Paul.” She also described him speaking with her frequently at the Thursday night group at the Capitol Hill restaurant.
O’Meara said that after Lindauer was sent to Carswell federal prison facility, O’Meara got a “strange call” form Hoven during which he said, “Susan’s crazy.” O’Meara said that she’d never heard Hoven make those remarks before Lindauer was sent to the federal prison facility began.
Lindauer’s relationship with Hoven is a key part of her defense, with the Thursday night group as one of their frequent points of contact.
On cross examination, prosecutor O’Callaghan asked O’Meara if she would be surprised if Hoven had reported only a very few meetings with her throughout his entire life.
Visibly angry, O’Meara responded by saying, “I would be insulted.”
Defense counsel Shaughnessy produced two witnesses, one a computer science professor and the other a reporter and congressional staffer. Together they provided the framework for Lindauer’s claim that she was a U.S. intelligence asset and “lay” testimony that she did not impress either witness as having any type of mental or emotional problem.
The prosecution presented no lay witnesses.
After the hearing was over, Lindauer spoke to the press. She said, “I’ve been left out to dry” by those in the government who employed her services as an intelligence asset. She described efforts that she made to develop a major contact in Iraq to help with U.S. antiterrorism efforts.
Lindauer’s next competency hearing is scheduled for July 7, 2008 before Judge Preska.
Previous”Scoop” coverage of the Susan Lindauer case:
American Cassandra: Susan Lindauer’s Story by Michael Collins 17 October 2007
Bush Political Prisoner Gets her Day in Court by Michael Collins June 11, 2008
An Exclusive Interview with Bush Political Prisoner Susan Lindauer by Michael Collins