New Jersey and Terrorism: Perfect Together
Part 2: The Good Doctor Who Wasn’t So Good
By Allan P. Duncan September 4, 2004
Courtesy of OpEdNews.com
THE GROUNDBREAKING RESEARCH CURRENTLY FEEDING THE CHERTOFF EXPOSE STORIES
In Part 1 of this series I introduced you to three men from Jersey City who attempted to set up a weapons deal which included among other things, hundreds of Stinger Missiles and components for nuclear weapons. The weapons deal was part of a two and a half year investigation called Operation Diamondback which culminated with the arrests of two of the Jersey City men in June of 2001.
Diaa Moshen was sentenced to 30 months in prison and Mohamed Malik was freed and had his case sealed and purged of all references to Pakistan . Both men are now free and continue to walk the streets of New Jersey.
The third man, Raja Ghulam Abbas, an alleged Pakistani ISI Agent, fled the country and the last I heard was living in Pakistan .
During a meeting at Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Grill on July 22, 1999, Abbas pointed towards the World Trade Center and stated “those towers are coming down.” Despite the fact that the meeting was recorded and was being watched by members of the FBI’s Terrorism Task Force, the threat was apparently not taken seriously. (4)
Randy Glass, the former con-man who posed as a weapons dealer during Operation Diamondback, was so upset about the references to the Towers coming down, that after the investigation ended he notified his elected representatives in Florida and reported the threats. According to an article in the Palm Beach Post, titled Intelligence Panel Hears from Glass, by John Pacenti published on October 17, 2002 :
“In August 2001, just before Glass started to serve a seven-month sentence for a $6 million jewelry scam, he said he reached out to Sen. Bob Graham and U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler. He said he told staffers for both lawmakers that a Pakistani operative working for the Taliban known as R.G. Abbas made three references to imminent plans to attack the World Trade Center during the probe, which ended in June 2001.
At one meeting at New York’s Tribeca Grill caught on tape, Abbas pointed to the World Trade Center and said, “Those towers are coming down,” Glass said.” (8)
Further on in the article Pacenti reports:
“Graham acknowledged at news conference in Boca Raton last month that Glass had contact with his office before Sept. 11, 2001, about an attack on the World Trade Center. “I was concerned about that and a dozen other pieces of information which emanated from the summer of 2001,” the senator said.” (8)
WPTV, an NBC affiliate in Florida did a news report where Senator Graham is confronted about the Glass info and a video of the story can be viewed online by checking out The Randy Glass Video in the Resources section at the end of this article.
In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned the fact that General Mahmoud Ahmad, the head of the Pakistani ISI, had been sacked from his position after it was determined that he had authorized a wire transfer of $100,000 to Mohammed Atta shortly before 9-11. (6)
On the morning of 9-11, General Ahmad was at a breakfast meeting in Washington D.C. with Senator Bob Graham and Congressman Porter Goss, the Chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. (9) One would think that as soon as Senator Graham heard about the attack on the World Trade Center , he would have remembered the information Randy Glass had shared with him about the threats.
Ironic, isn’t it, that Graham was sitting with the head of the Pakistani ISI at the exact same time the attacks took place when he had already been warned of a threat that had come directly from the lips of an alleged Pakistani ISI Agent? No wonder Senator Graham acted dumb when confronted with the pre 9-11 Glass warning in the WPTV news story.
I’ve also never heard a response from either Senator Bob Graham or Congressman Porter Goss about what their thoughts were when it was revealed that the guy they had breakfast with on 9-11 had actually authorized the transfer of money to Mohammed Atta?
Porter Goss has now been nominated by President Bush to head the CIA. Many people have been lobbying to have Goss questioned about his meeting with General Ahmad on 9-11 but I’m betting that nobody has the guts to even bring it up during his confirmation hearings and it seems to be a foregone conclusion that he will breeze though the hearings with no problem.
I also alluded in Part 1, to frustrations voiced by intelligence professionals over the lack of attention Operation Diamondback received from higher ups in Law Enforcement. ATF Special Agent Dick Stoltz had this to say about Operation Diamondback:
“Stoltz says he’s surprised that all the evidence and intelligence the case generated wasn’t pursued more aggressively at the highest levels of law enforcement in Washington.
“Quite frankly, I was always wondering when maybe the case would be taken away from ATF,” says Stoltz.
So Stoltz thought that he was on to something so big that ultimately FBI, perhaps CIA might take over? “Oh, FBI at the minimum,” says Stoltz.” (2)
Other federal officials had this to say:
“Some federal officials were frustrated that the FBI, while allowing a Florida agent to work on the probe, did not declare the case a counterterrorism matter. That would have given ATF officials better access to FBI information and U.S. intelligence from around the world, and would have drawn bureaucratic backing from people all the way to the White House, officials said.” (7)
In the same Washington Post article, Dick Stoltz added this:
“Had more attention been paid to this inside the government, the case agents in the trenches would have had more information on who these Pakistani people on U.S. soil were,” said Stoltz, who is now retired. “It would have steered us in other directions, and possibly justified continuing the investigation. . . . We couldn’t understand why this wasn’t treated as a national security matter.” (7)
So why was Operation Diamondback handled as a criminal matter and not as a counterterrorism case? I believe I may have discovered the answer which will be revealed in the following section.
The Strange Story of Dr. Magdy Elamir The August 2, 2002 edition of Dateline NBC, brought to light the story of another North Jersey character named Dr. Magdy Elamir.
“Last fall, “Dateline” obtained information about Magdy Elamir. He’s a prominent doctor, a neurologist with a practice in Jersey City . Born and educated in Egypt , he moved to this country about 20 years ago and since then has built a fortune. He lives in a mansion, is generous to local charities and is an active supporter of both political parties.
Should counterterrorism investigators take an interest in Dr. Elamir? Well, “Dateline” obtained a document last fall Ã³ foreign intelligence report, that makes a startling allegation about the doctor Ã³ that he has had financial ties with Osama bin Laden for years. The report was given to a senior member of Congress, Ben Gilman, back in 1998, when he was Chairman of the House International Relations Committee.
“We have a former FBI person on our staff and I asked him to look it over,” says Congressman Gilman. “He thought it was credible enough to turn it over to the intelligence people. And we turned it over to the FBI practically immediately.”
This was in 1998.
The report alleges that an H.M.O. owned by Dr. Elamir in New Jersey was “funded by ben [sic] Laden” and that in turn Dr. Elamir was skimming money from the H.M.O. to fund “terrorist activities.”
Has the FBI answered those questions? Not to Congressman Gilman’s satisfaction. But what “Dateline” found intriguing is that less than a year after the congressman says the FBI received the report, Dr. Elamir’s HMO was taken over by the state of New Jersey , which opened a fraud investigation. Why? Because, according to sources close to the investigation, more than $15 million is unaccounted for. Where did the money go? “Dateline” has reviewed documents that show at least some of it went into hard-to-trace offshore bank accounts. Does that mean any of the missing money went, as the intelligence report suggests, to fund terrorist activities? We don’t know.” (2)
This story really caught my attention since allegations were made that Dr. Elamir had financial ties to Osama Bin Laden for years and that Bin Laden had funded an HMO that Elamir was operating in New Jersey . The intelligence report that Dateline refers to also infers that Dr. Elamir may have skimmed money from the HMO to fund “terrorist activities”.
I decided to look deeper into this story and found the following information about Dr. Elamir:
“Magdy El Sayed El Amir, a native of Egypt, received his medical degree from the University of Cairo in 1977. After moving to the US with his family, he completed his neurology and psychiatry residency before opening a storefront neurology practice in Jersey City , NJ , in 1982. The practice catered to the area’s poor, many of whom were fee-for-service Medicaid beneficiaries.
Elamir (in this country, he’d begun eliding the two parts of his last name) did a brisk business. Before long, his medical practice became the nucleus for other health-related enterprises, including several MRI centers, a limousine and ambulance company, and a physician billing and management service. He also acquired real estate in Hudson County , where he practiced, and in several adjoining counties.”
I also found out that in addition to the HMO fraud case referred to in the Dateline story, that Dr. Elamir had a history of involvement in other fraud cases.
“In 1996 and 1997, Maryland Casualty Insurance Co., National Consumer Insurance Co., and Allstate New Jersey Insurance Co. cited Elamir and numerous other defendants in lawsuits alleging that they performed unnecessary medical procedures on “victims” of staged auto accidents. As a result, Allstate stopped paying for MRIs at Elamir’s unlicensed centers, and his cash flow dropped, Elamir’s attorneys have said.
“Elamir ran afoul of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1997 after applying for a license to perform radioactive imaging in another of his offices. The NRC found that he had listed a Long Island doctor as his office’s radiation safety officer and the sole authorized user of the material without the doctor’s knowledge, NRC disciplinary records show. The physician was not licensed in New Jersey , according to the state Board of Medical Examiners.
As a result, the NRC has prohibited Elamir from any involvement with nuclear medicine until 2002.”
In 2001 Dr. Elamir was involved in another accident fraud case in New Jersey : “A Clifton lawyer and three doctors were arrested in Wednesday’s roundup of 192 defendants charged as part of an auto insurance fraud ring, making them the first professionals to be arrested under New Jersey’s anti-runner statute.
“Hudson County prosecutors said the ring staged accidents in Hudson, Bergen, Passaic and Essex counties to try to collect $5 million in phony claims, a few of which were paid by carriers cooperating in the 19-month-long sting operation.”
Further on in the article:
“The other doctor charged under the statute is neurologist Magdy Elamir of Saddle River . He is accused of paying Poller in exchange for his sending patients to Elamir’s clinics for unnecessary and expensive MRIs.
“Neurologist Elamir, who operates clinics in several cities, is no stranger to authorities. In June 2000, he was sued by the state for allegedly draining $16.7 million from the assets of a Newark-based HMO he and his associates ran. The now-defunct HMO, American Preferred Provider Plan, served 44,000 poor, mostly Medicaid patients.
“State Banking and Insurance Commissioner Karen Suter said at the time that the assets were diverted to Elamir, his relatives and associates, and other enterprises he controlled, including HMOs in Michigan and Washington , D.C.
“Bill Hine, a spokesman for Suter, says the suit against Elamir is in discovery. The state is liquidating the Washington HMO and has taken over the Michigan operation and sold the assets, he adds.
“Elamir’s clinics also came up in the discipline case against former Newark solo practitioner Patrick Pajerowski, disbarred by the state Supreme Court in 1998 for using a runner. In that ethics case, two accident victims were visited by the runner — Pajerowski’s office manager — who referred them to a Jersey City clinic operated by Elamir, even though they told him they were not injured. No criminal charges were filed.”
If that wasn’t enough, I also found that in 1999, Dr. Elamir was running a number of unlicensed MRI centers:
“A Saddle River man accused by the state of siphoning more than $ 9 million from his financially ailing health maintenance organization also owns five unlicensed MRI centers that are not subject to health and safety standards, state officials say.
“Dr. Magdy Elamir, owner of the American Preferred Provider Plan (APPP), which was taken over by the state last month, owns magnetic resonance imaging centers in Paterson , Passaic , Jersey City , Irvington , and Newark .”
So here we have a prominent neurologist who is alleged to have funneled money to Osama Bin Laden through his fraudulent HMO, and we also discover that he has been involved in at least two accident fraud schemes, operated unlicensed MRI centers and had a license revoked by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC license revocation is especially troubling since unauthorized and unlicensed personnel at Dr. Elamir’s clinics were handling nuclear materials.
In a document I found titled Nuclear Regulatory Commission Issuances, dated July 1- December 31, 1998, Volume 48 pages 1-415, on page 7 is listed:
Magdy Elamir , MD
( Newark , New Jersey )
Docket 1A 97-070
Memorandum and Order, LBP 98-25, October 8, 1998 ÖÖ226
This document is in the form of a PDF file and when I scrolled down to page 226, I found five pages of information concerning the suspension of Byproducts Material License # 29-30282-01. (14)
In an NRC News article published by the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on April 4, 1997 , it states:
“An NRC inspection in January found that the individuals acting as the authorized user of radioactive materials at Newark Medical Associates and as its radiation safety officer were not listed on the license, as NRC requires. A subsequent investigation by the NRC’s Office of Investigations determined that the application for the license listed an individual as the sole authorized user and radiation safety officer without that individual’s consent or knowledge. Investigators further found that the individual has never been associated with Newark Medical Associates.” (15)
To make matters worse, Dr. Elamir’s own brother, Mohamed El Amir, was implicated in Operation Diamondback:
“Dateline” has found another reason why federal investigators might want to pay close attention to Dr. Elamir and his family. It’s something we learned when we interviewed Randy Glass, the con-man turned undercover operative who helped the government break up an illegal weapons ring allegedly tied to terrorist groups. It turns out that one of the people recorded trying to arrange an arms deal with Randy Glass was Dr. Elamir’s own brother, Mohamed, an engineer, also a U.S. citizen now living in Egypt. And just listen to what he was interested in.
“There was a warehouse full of weapons in Italy that they needed shipped,” says Glass.It was the spring of 1999. Mohamed Elamir explains that he wants false papers that would identify a shipment of weapons Ã³ as vegetables.
Randy Glass: ” But you’re talking about, they’re saying they wanna ship vegetables, right? Is what they want Ã³ is what they want on the paperwork, correct?”
Mohamed El Amir: “Yep.”
Then Randy Glass cuts to the chase.
Randy Glass: “Listen. My phone line is secure. And so I’m just gonna talk very open with you, OK?”
Mohamed El Amir: “Yep.”
Randy Glass: “OK. They want to ship things like tanks, correct?”
Mohamed El Amir: “Uh-huh.”
Glass: “OK. How… OK. In orÃ³ ”
Mohamed El Amir: “No, no, no, no. Just ammunition, not tanks.”
Randy Glass: “So they just wanna do basically, small arms and ammunition, right?”
Mohamed El Amir: “Yes.”
Did Mohamed give Glass any indication as to who was going to get these arms?
“Never got a chance to ask him,” says Glass.
Glass says federal agents told him to drop the matter.
So, what happened to the case? “Nothing,” says Glass.
There was no follow-up. “No,” says Glass.
Was this a missed opportunity? “Hundred percent,” says Glass.
And Randy Glass doesn’t know the half of it, because that same intelligence report that talks about Dr. Elamir also names his brother Mohamed as having ties to Osama bin Laden.” (2)
So at this point we now have information that Dr. Magdy Elamir along with his brother Mohamed El Amir have ties to Osama Bin Laden and yet neither one of them is arrested. Randy Glass says in fact that “federal agents told him to drop the matter.”
All of this information made me wonder what a person has to do in New Jersey to lose his or her medical license? I also wondered why Dr. Elamir had never been arrested for his connections to Osama Bin Laden? The only logical reason I could figure that Dr. Magdy Elamir was still practicing medicine was that he must have had one fine well connected lawyer.
I then took a closer look at the articles and court documents I had collected on Dr. Magdy Elamir and they revealed who his lawyer was.
“Elamir did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment. But his attorney, Michael Chertoff, said several of the five MRI centers may be exempt from licensing requirements, a position questioned by state health officials.” (13)
The same article states that Dr. Elamir’s lawyer, Michael Chertoff, also represented him in the fraudulent HMO case:
“Chertoff, who has represented Elamir at court hearings on the state takeover of APPP, said he did not know why the MRI centers did not provide financial help for the troubled HMO, as envisioned in the agreement.
“Elamir has been accused by the state of diverting state Medicaid funds to other businesses he owns. In a civil proceeding, the state alleges that American Preferred Provider illegally”loaned”more than $ 4 million to two start-up HMOs in Michigan and Washington , D.C. , also owned by Elamir, and that APPP paid Elamir and various other businesses he owned more than $ 5 million out of Medicaid funds.”
I didn’t know who Michael Chertoff was when I ran across his name as the attorney who defended Dr. Elamir in his fraudulent HMO and MRI cases, so I did some research. I was completely blown away by what I discovered about Michael Chertoff.
As it turns out, Michael Chertoff was appointed Assistant Attorney General, under John Ashcroft, in early 2001 and was placed in charge of the Criminal Division. (16) Since Operation Diamondback was an active case when he took office, and culminated in arrests in June of 2001, the case would have fallen under his pervue since it was handled as a criminal case and not as a counterterrorism case. This means that one of his former clients, Dr. Magdy Elamir, along with his brother Mohamed El Amir, were now involved in a case under his supervision.
When the attacks on 9-11 occurred, Michael Chertoff was placed in charge of the investigation. On Oct. 25, 2001 , CBS reported that the Feds had launched Operation Green Quest in an attempt to stop the financing of terrorism. Here’s what Dr. Magdy Elamir’s former attorney had to say on the subject:
“The lifeblood of terrorism is money, and if we cut the money we cut the blood supply,” said assistant attorney general Michael Chertoff, the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division. (17)
The next day, on October 26, 2001 , Michael Chertoff testified before Congress and had this to say:
“As an integral part of this national effort, the Department of Justice and the FBI have established an interagency Financial Review Group to coordinate the investigation of the financial aspects surrounding the terrorist events of September 11th and beyond. All members of this Committee recognize the importance of understanding the financial components of terrorist and criminal organizations. These financial links will be critical to the larger criminal investigation, while also providing a trail to the sources of funding for these heinous crimes. The importance of “following the money,” in this instance, as well as in the investigation of all criminal enterprises, cannot be overstated.
“The members of this Committee are also well aware that money laundering constitutes a threat to the safety of our communities, to the integrity of our financial institutions and to our national security.”
On March 25, 2002 , CNN reported:
“Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff is the Dick Cheney of the Justice Department. Brainy, intense and well connected, the former federal prosecutor can usually be found at Attorney General John Ashcroft’s elbow as the department’s top counterterrorism tactician. And last week Chertoff vanished to an undisclosed location.
“With no deputies along and no publicity, Chertoff was on a stealthy swing through France, Belgium and the Netherlands . His mission: sell Western European governments on a new Bush Administration plan to post U.S. Justice Department prosecutors overseas in unprecedented numbers. “The sinews that hold a terrorist network together are money, communications and transportation,” Chertoff told TIME before his trip. To help sever those sinews, Chertoff wants to have American prosecutors stationed in key capitals, where they can work behind the scenes with their counterparts to overcome the legal and cultural obstacles to shipping evidence to the U.S. for use in court.”
Perhaps Chertoff could have saved some time and effort and looked in his own backyard for evidence of terrorist financing. To date, Dr. Magdy Elamir and his brother have not been arrested and are still free.
I have a theory that Elamir was not arrested, because if his case did come to court, then Chertoff’s role as his lawyer in the HMO case might have been exposed. Since Elamir’s HMO was supposedly a front for Bin Laden and millions of dollars were allegedly skimmed from the HMO to fund terrorism, Chertoff himself might be implicated in some way since he had to have had access to the HMO’s books and Elamir’s finances when he defended him.
I also have a theory that this may be why Operation Diamondback remained a criminal case and not a counterterrorism case. As head of the Criminal Division in the Department of Justice, the case would have been under the control of Michael Chertoff himself. Was this the real reason why the case came to a screeching halt with only a few arrests? Was this the reason why Randy Glass was told to drop the matter by federal agents when the case started focusing on Dr. Elamir’s brother Mohamed El Amir? Was this the reason why so many federal agents were frustrated because they felt the case hadn’t received the attention of higher ups in federal law enforcement? Maybe it had?
On April 22, 2003 President Bush nominated Michael Chertoff to be the Federal Circuit Judge for the Third Circuit. Judge Chertoff now presides over federal cases in New Jersey , Pennsylvania , Delaware and the Virgin Islands .
PREVIOUS AND FOLLOWING INSTALLMENTS
Part 1: New Jersey and Terrorism: Perfect Together
Part 3: Another Mohamed El Amir, AKA Mohamed Atta
(1) Las Vegas Sun, Indictment Against Mosque Leaders Unsealed, by Kirstan Conley, Associated Press, August 10, 2004
(2) Dateline NBC, On the trail of arms merchants, August 2, 2002
(3) Dateline NBC, Stinger missile sting operation, March 18, 2003
(4) Palm Beach Post, Con Man Turned Patriot Tells All, by John Pacenti, Cox News Service, August 2, 2002
(5) Time Magazine, Al-Qaeda Moneyman Caught, by Elaine Shannon, May 1, 2003
(6) Times of India , India helped FBI trace ISI-terrorist links, by Manoj Joshi, October 9, 2001 (7) The Washington Post, U.S. Reopens Arms Case In Probe for Taliban Role, by John Mintz, August 2, 2002
(8) The Palm Beach Post, Intelligence Panel Hears from Glass, by John Pacenti, October 17, 2002
(9) The Washington Post, A Cloak But No Dagger, By Richard Leiby, Saturday, May 18, 2002
(10) Medical Economics Archive, Why was this doctor allowed to start a health plan?, By Wayne J. Guglielmo, Senior Editor, Oct. 25, 1999
(11) The Record ( Bergen County , NJ ), Immigrant?s HMO Dreams End In Financial Nightmare, By Lindy Washburn, January 24, 1999
(12) New Jersey Law Journal, Lawyer, Three Doctors Arrested for Using Runners Charges are product of 19-month undercover sting of suspected auto insurance fraud ring, By Tim O?Brien, July 23, 200
(13) The Record ( Bergen County , NJ ), State Eyes New Probe of HMO Operator; His Five MRI Centers Don?t Have Licenses, January 4, 1999
(14) Nuclear Regulatory Commission Issuances, July 1- December 31, 1998 , Volume 48 pages 1-415.
(15) NRC NEWS, U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION, OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION I, NRC STAFF BARS PRESIDENT OF NEW JERSEY MEDICAL FIRM, CONSULTANT , August 4, 1997
(16) Senate Confirmations 2001
(17) CBS News, Feds Launch ‘Operation Green Quest’, Oct. 25, 2001
(18) Prepared Testimony of the Honorable Michael Chertoff Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division United States Department of Justice, 10:00 a.m. , Wednesday, September 26, 2001
(19) CNN, Ashcroft’s man on a mission, By Elaine Shannon, May 25, 2002
The Randy Glass Timeline, created by Paul Thompson
The Randy Glass Video, A fascinating video relating to an important unheeded warning of the 9/11 attacks was shown on WPTV, an NBC TV station in Florida on October 7, 2002.
Sander Hicks Interviews Randy Glass on INN TV