Welcome Nada Prouty (NadaProuty.com), and Host Marcy Wheeler (EmptyWheel.net)

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA

In her memoir, Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA, Nada Prouty cites this passage from Malcom X’s Autobiography to describe her excitement as she felt herself adopting her new nationality:

Yes, one only truly becomes an American through a kind of conversion, and that conversion arises out of a desire to join in a common hunger for the rule of law, for equality for all, and for the benefits of cultural heterogeneity.

I found it a striking choice for an American immigrant to describe what it means to be American. Malcom X had such troubles achieving this American dream. But as it turned out, Prouty has had to fight to get America’s promised rule of law and equality, too.

The book describes how she escaped the Lebanese civil war by enrolling in college in the US. To gain the ability to work her way through school, she entered into a “Green Card marriage.” A number of years, several accounting degrees, and a “real” marriage later, she joined the FBI as one of its rare recruits with native Arab fluency and the sangfroid acquired from surviving a civil war. While at the FBI—and, later, at the CIA—she investigated a range of al Qaeda and Hezbollah attacks, including the Cole bombing and 9/11.

Yet none of her efforts in the war on terror put her, an Arab-American (though not a Muslim), beyond the suspicions of Detroit-based FBI agents investigating her Lebanese-American brother-in-law. When they failed to make a tax evasion investigation against him into a terrorism charge, they turned to trumping up a case against Prouty, ultimately using her “Green Card marriage”—which she had disclosed to the FBI—to get her to plea to a charge of unauthorized computer access and immigration fraud, which DOJ then spun publicly as a terrorism charge.

This book is Prouty’s attempt to tell what really happened—partly in hopes to regain her American citizenship.

At one level, Prouty’s life story—before the FBI targeted a woman who had done so much for the Agency—reads like a classic, exceptional, immigrant success story. But so much of what the government used against her has been used on Muslims and other Arab-Americans without the means to fight back:

Secret evidence
National Security Letters
Threats of deportation (which in her case would have been lethal) and to family members
Border exception searches
Badly managed informants (in this case, Prouty’s own brother)
Trial in the public sphere

And that’s why the book—a national security expert exposing the problem with such techniques—serves an important lesson for Malcom X’s vision of America.

Prouty ends her book with this warning.

Suspicion and fear mingled with threats of punishment are not hallmarks of a healthy civil society.

[snip]

My prosecution brought into stark relief the possibility that the politicizing of the war on terror would create similar “internal enemies” [as existed in Lebanon during its civil war] here in America. Such enemies are, more often than not, patriotic Americans who happen to have what some, in their ignorance, see as “different” names and faces.

Let’s hope this lesson, coming from someone who worked so hard to defeat those who had attacked the US, will be heard.

145 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Nada Prouty, Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA”

BevW January 28th, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Nada, Welcome to the Lake.

Marcy, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

dakine01 January 28th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon Nada and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

Welcome back Marcy!

Nada, I have not had an opportunity to read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but have you or do you ever hear from your former colleagues?

Is your sister still married to your brother-in-law?

(It does seem to be a rather classic case of the US Gov’t shooting its own efforts in the foot – thinking of all the Arabic speakers kicked out of the military under DADT as other examples)

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Welcome, Nada.

One warm up question: Did you family have any reactions to your book?

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Thank you for visiting the Lake, Nada, and thank you, EW, as well.

DW

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

In addition to the story you tell about the FBI targeting you, you also describe some harassment of a Palestinian-American FBI Agent. Then there’s the case of another Arab speaker who got in trouble after he whistleblew about FBI’s weakness in Arab translation. And even Ali Soufan had difficulties.

How many native Arab speakers has the FBI been able to keep around?

eCAHNomics January 28th, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Nada, I saw a short clip of you on book-tv today. Toward the end you said you’d go back to work for the USG any time if they asked. I wondered why you feel that way after how they treated you. Though in the end you were exonerated, isn’t it the treatment and process that matters, not the end result?

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:06 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 3

I should explain for those who didn’t read the book some of your family dynamics. You described the very traditional Druze culture of your family that put everything into your brother’s welfare, to the detriment of you and your sisters. And while ultimately the family followed you the US, your brothers legal troubles here are part of what got you (and your sister) in so much trouble. So I was wondering how they reacted to your depiction of how the family difficulties motivated things like moving to the US to get an education.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:07 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 2

Thanks for having me!

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:07 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 3

They did not have a positive reaction…

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 5

Not sure how many at this time, but when I was “in” the number was close to a handful

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 9

Everyone, or just your parents and brother? I sort of thought your sisters would be supportive.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:09 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 6

I worked with wonderful people in the USG that I would work with again. The “bad apples” do not represent the government that I love. I also love and believe in the mission.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:09 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 10

I know from covering counterterrorism that there are a good number of officers who have at least learned Arab or Muslim culture and language. What’s your take on their competence (you did say CIA was better–do you think CIA has enough native Arab speakers?)

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:11 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 2

Btw, that was one of the interesting aspects of the book for me. La Shish opened a branch in Ann Arbor while I lived there (and the original was close to where I worked when I worked for Ford). A big, glamorous restaurant.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:11 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 7

My parent’s reaction was directly related to how the book may impact my brother. I have forgiven my parents for what they have done but I have chosen to keep them out of my life.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Nada

You described disappointment about two missions you did.

1) When you were asked to bring suspected anthrax to the US at the same time that the Bush Administration was using the anthrax attacks to drum up war against IRaq.

2) When you realized your mission in Iraq was not going to be finding WMDs.

Can you say more about what it took to realize the fault in these missions? Were your colleagues experiencing the same frustration?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 11

Yes, both my sisters were/are supportive. I was referring to my brother and mom and dad. It is odd to me to write the words “mom” and “dad”…

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 15

Is your brother still in the states?

And somewhat related, are the FBI agents who went after you still in Detroit?

msmolly January 28th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 14

Personal aside: I loved La Shish, went there several times when I lived in the Detroit area. I wasn’t sure it was still there, so much has changed in the dozen years since I left.

Nada, I will buy this book. It looks like fascinating reading. Apparently your brother still is first in your parents’ eyes.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:16 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 16

After 9/11 I wanted to do anything to bring the bad guys to face justice, so I thought (at the time) that conducting these missions was the correct decision/way. Looking back now, I believe that I had made a mistake in transporting suspected Anthrax on a commercial get. The fault in this mission is putting politics ahead of common sense. No one should jeopardize the safety of our citizens for political reasons.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:16 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 18

Yes to both questions.

Arbusto January 28th, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Gee, Sibel Edmonds and Nada Prouty. When the FBI wants its truth, not the truth. What an organization.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:18 pm
In response to msmolly @ 19

Thank you. Yes, and always will be. It took some time to see that they (my parents) will not love me no matter what I have accomplished (because I am a female). I have two daughters and cannot imagine not loving them. I cannot explain my parent’s actions but I have forgiven them.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Another question while we’re getting started.

Your descriptions of the importance of knowing Arab culture (and you even described a particular female role you played to) really helped you in interrogations, and actually helped you get information incredibly quickly.

That of course parallels a lot of what Ali Soufan described in his own book.

I assume you worked fairly closely with him, at least on the Cole investigation.

Did anyone ever formally note that? I mean it seems so obvious, but at the same time, all the debates we’ve had about interrogation since totally ignore culture and mostly ignore language. So did anybody ever acknowledge that directly?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:19 pm
In response to Arbusto @ 22

Unfortunate that the “truth” they wanted was not the reality… but having said that, I know some great FBI agents that do believe and work to find the “truth”.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:21 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 24

Unfortunately not. In my experience, the FBI dealt with this problem by ignoring it. Management would say “an investigation is an investigation” no matter where it occurred. The facts on the ground were totally different though.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:23 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 16

You described Mike Rogers (Representative from Lansing area, now the head of the House Intelligence Committee) really attacking you, both during the DOJ’s worst attacks on you and after.

Are people still attacking you? Has that stopped?

I’m also curious how much support you got from our other elected politicians. I remember during the 2006 bombing of Lebanon how much John Dingell and John Conyers got attacked for defending the Americans in Lebanon at the time–I remember literally having to explain to people that they were effectively representing their constituents.

But that’s about the only time I remember MI’s reps loudly defending the Arab-American and Muslim community in the state against fear-based attacks. Did you get much personal support?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:23 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 2

I agree. My sister cannot ask for divorce under the current conditions otherwise she would lose her children. (she was deported to Lebanon).

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 2:23 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 12

Nada, what do you consider the “mission” to be?

I ask this from a perspective of very great concern about America’s current “mission”, both abroad and domestically.

Let me place my concerns in a further context; my ancestors, my white ancestors, came to this country before it was a country, when it was still a colony … thus, I have I have had the opportunity of watching, rather carefully, for more than fifty years, a domestic society become increasingly uncivil and repressive even as America has sought a violent hegemonic control of much of the world, as it is now doing in a part of the world where your heritage lies.

It would appear that you have been on the receiving end of a bit of the madness, the suspician, and consequence, and wonder if you might not consider that many others, both in this nation and around the world are also on the “receiving end”, not of liberation or humane encouragement, but of repression and even deadly assault?

DW

eCAHNomics January 28th, 2012 at 2:24 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 12

What was your mission? You mention in response to one of ew’s Qs that it was NOT to find WMDs. Then, what was it FOR?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:24 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 13

Yes there are competent CIA officers and in general the CIA puts a big effort in teaching its officers language and culture. I cannot say how many officers are there but I think everyone would agree that the more the merrier

dakine01 January 28th, 2012 at 2:25 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 26

As an observer of FBI investigations over the years, that seems to be a reason why FBI agents often stuck out and were so obviously out of their element

Were all the FBI agents investigating you following the “standard” FBI investigation protocols? (I assume those exist)

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:26 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 29

To me, the mission was protecting American and its citizens from foreign enemies in a manner consistent with rules and regulations set forth by our founding fathers.

PeasantParty January 28th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Nada,

Thank you for being here and especially for your service to our Country. I hate that things are the way they are in the political realm.

Marcy,

Thanks so much for hosting this Book Salon.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:27 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 32

Agree. No, the FBI did not follow standard operating procedures in my investigations (by their own admission)

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:28 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 34

Thanks for bringing awareness to your audience

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:29 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 32

As I mentioned in my post, NAda’s brother was actually an FBI informant, first against her brother-in-law (the owner of La Shish that msmolly and I talked about), and then effectively against her. He was doing it to escape his own legal trouble, but then used his position to his advantage (and also to trump up things by playing to FBI agents’ cultural ignorance, IMO).

Nada did talk about the importance of managing informants (and recognizing they were not doing so with her brother).

But among the many techniques FBI uses against terrorism suspects in this country, that seems one that is increasingly prone to abuse.

eCAHNomics January 28th, 2012 at 2:29 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 33

But Iraq was not a U.S. enemy. So how was that part of a mission of protecting U.S. from something that did not exist?

PeasantParty January 28th, 2012 at 2:29 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 29

Excellent question, DW. Been missing ya.

dakine01 January 28th, 2012 at 2:30 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 35

It sure does sound like they started with a premise and built a “case” to support their belief rather than actually following those pesky little facts that did not support their premise

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:31 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 27

The attacks have stopped. I did not get any support from MI repreentatives.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:31 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 33

I assume you would, if you could, go back to work on CT.

How much of your passion for CT comes from knowing you’ve got the skill set to make a difference, and how much comes from growing up in a civil war?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:32 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 37

Yes, handling informants is a very delicate situation and I do not beleive FBI agents are well trained in this.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:33 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 41

Have you ever met or dealt with Keith Ellison? He seems to be one of the only people who will risk defending Muslims (I would have hoped Hansen Clarke would, but he hasn’t like Ellison has).

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 2:34 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 33

And do you consider that this nation is behaving in accord with those “rules and regulations”, Nada?

If the war in Irak, for example, was begun based upon lies, as indeed it was, as was the war against Vietnam, then do you perceive any violation of those “rules and regulations”?

DW

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:34 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 38

Correct, at the time I voluntered to serve in Iraq, I believed the admin was telling us the truth about the presence of WMD, of course, it was not the truth and I beleive we have destabilized the region and created a safe haven for the terrorist. So, I do not agree with the decision to attack Iraq- it was a political decision.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:36 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 42

Good question. Doing what you love makes one happy. I loved what I did and happened to be good at it. The war created a need in me to make sure justice is served and it is a big motivator for me.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:36 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 44

I have not.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:37 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 45

No, a lot of decisions these days are purely political. We should put the interest of our citizens first and unfortunately I do not see that happening all the time.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:38 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 47

Sorry, by “the war” you mean the Lebanese civil war or the war on terrorism?

Do you ever worry that the tactics we’re using now (I’m thinking primarily about things like drones and heavy use of JSOC, which both weaken the rules of nation-state fighting laws of war are based on) will just make weak governments worse (Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia), thereby creating more places like Lebanon of your youth?

eCAHNomics January 28th, 2012 at 2:38 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 43

To express my deep cynicism, it seems that FBI handles informants exceedingly well. FBI wants to entrap unfortunates who have no means of defending themselves so they get their conviction (well plea bargains, as in your case bc the FBI threatens lives to extract them) rates up. Don’t think the FBI cares about anything other than appearances and cases they can tout to the corp media.

PeasantParty January 28th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 46

Yes, we all have assumed it was a political reason or an OIL reason as the American people have never been told why. We don’t even know the reasons we are still in Afghanistan.

I ready Marcy’s blog avidly to learn. She brings us great detail that is hard to put together without her. In the meantime, I speak to as many CIA agents as I have contact with. They all seem to be gaining a level of angst and are distraught by what is going on. Can you confirm this?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:41 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 30

This is the point. My mission was to find something that did not exsit. That is what upset me. I felt like I was sent there to satisfy someone’s political agenda. I put my life on the line for “lies”. But when I was there the mission changed. I collected intelligence that helped save the lives of our men and women in uniform. I am and will always be proud of this mission.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:42 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 40

Yes, seen it too many times. That is not what I was taught at the FBI Academy

eCAHNomics January 28th, 2012 at 2:42 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 46

Without any background at all, I was able to figure out that there were no WMD in Iraq in about 3 months. It wasn’t hard to see the case was bogus. Only 4 pieces of ‘evidence’ (AL tubes, yellowcake, Curveball, al-Libi who confessed under torture then recanted). I remain perpetually curious why so many people fell for the propaganda. Did you think POTUS wouldn’t lie, for example?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:43 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 50

I meant the Lebanese civil war. I support tactics that eliminate threats. These tactics are/should (I believe) include a wide range of our capabilities.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:45 pm

By the way, something I noticed the other day.

There was the SEAL team rescue of Jessica Buchanan from Somali pirates. A few reports mentioned the FBI’s involvement in the case–but very few, and that’s not what got celebrated.

What do you make of the urge to celebrate our paramilitary successes–the Hollywood stuff–but not even acknowledge the investigative work that goes with it?

Obviously, that’s to be expected for the CIA. But the movie on the Khobar Tower investigation is one of few I can think of that ever talks about FBI’s rule on counterterroism.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:45 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 51

This is true in my and other cases. You are right on. But the good guys/gals in the FBI do a great job- unfortunatley they are overshadowed by the bad apples.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:45 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 56

Can you elaborate?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 52

I was angry for a long time, others may have felt the same way. But when I was in Baghdad, I had to set these feeling aside and “work”. It was later when I reflected on my missions that I felt angry. I have dealt with it since.

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 2:48 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 49

In fact, with the “political” nature of the decisions being made, in our names, today, including the use of drones, does not the “leadership” of this nation place the the people of this nation, the citizens, at ever increasing risk as America is more and more often perceived as acting beyond both the rules and regulations which you mention AND international law?

It was famously said by GW Bush that, “They hate us for our freedoms”, when, actually, we are reasonably hated for the increasing amount of killing and destruction which is done in our names, yours and mine … that “we” are intent upon making the rest of the world fear us for our might rather than respecting us for our vision, deceny, and humanity.

Would you agree with this assessment of America’s “standing” in the world today?

DW

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:49 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 55

I want to believe that POTUS or any government official would not lie. I believed what they said re WMD because I was angry with 9/11 and thought this was protecting us stateside.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:50 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 62

When did you first realize FBI was botching the anthrax investigation?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 57

First off- I love our SEALS. This was a rescue operations and they nailed it. The FBI is required to open a case. I do not see where the case would go, I believe, the perpetrators are all deceased??

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:53 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 63

I was not directly involved in the investigation, but when an agent (who was involved) told me that “we were going to put so much pressure on Hatfill so he could admit his role” I became very skeptical.

Dearie January 28th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Do you mean “I wanted to believe”? One cannot watch the current Republican “debates” and not understand the level of lying that goes on….and will go on. The Dems will get their chance to do their lies. I’m sorry for how you were duped and used. But I appreciate your willingness to share with us. Thank you for your service.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Nada

I’m curious what you think of our immigration system now.

My husband was going through the green card system in Detroit after 9/11 and a lot of our friends have before and since–most, though not all, highly educated people, many of them from Europe or Japan.

I do not know a single person (my husband and I included) who got through the process without something really abnormal happening. One thing I have a hard time explaining to people is how normal it is to fall out of status, which exposes someone to deportation.

I realize what you went through (particularly with threats to deport you after having exposed your CIA ties) was by far the extreme. But at the same time, the whole system is so arbitrary and prone to abuse I think it just feeds the system of fear (whether directed at Arab/Muslim immigrants or Latinos).

How do we fix that?

DaveMoore January 28th, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I haven’t read your book–didn’t know it was out–but remember reading about you. I am an Arabic speaker. I learned it as a student in Berlin and lived with Bedouins in the West Bank. I’m an American, Vietnam Veteran, Scots-Irish Presbyterian descent, not a Muslim, etc., etc. I retired from the Library of Congress and applied to the FBI as a translator. I never heard from them, even though one would think I would be a popular choice. I am basing that the suspicions of all Arabs (and even many Jews) regarding translator work. It seems a combination of incompetence and prejudice. I recently wrote to my Congressman, Moran, and asked for an answer why I never heard back. Based on what happened to you, Edmonds, Soufan, just how do they expect to translate and monitor Arabic-speaking enemies?

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:55 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 64

No, the reports were the FBI helped to find the hostages. I just think they ought to get some credit too!

Official DOD sources said the perpetrators are deceased. Other reporting says we took 3-5 of them back to Djibouti. The pirates think there were informers working with us, so it’s not clear what status those 3-5 people are in.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 2:57 pm
In response to Dearie @ 66

Yes, I wanted to believe. I was honored to be given the opportunity to serve my country…

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 69

To elaborate on my point.

One of the problems with the FBI, IMO, is that many of the most competent CT people are working overseas. The folks in Detroit, however, are the ones that local communities interact with (I’m thinking of that story you told about trying to convince some folks in Dearborn they weren’t out of control).

But the average American–including the average Arab our South Asian American–doesn’t get to see those more competent FBI agents, or see the more credible work they do in CT.

PeasantParty January 28th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to DaveMoore @ 68

Another excellent question!

eCAHNomics January 28th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 62

Two really good books for you to read, both by Phillip Knightley.

1. The First Casualty, i.e., the first casualty of war is the truth. History of how Brits were lied into every war from Crimea forward.

2. The Second Oldest Profession. That would be yours. Most of the book is history of MI6, CIA founding, but the most important takeaway that I got from it is that the spook biz is bound to fail bc it is secret. Mistakes never need to be confronted, so no learning takes place, every failure is an excuse for bigger budgets, just to name a couple of the inherent negatives of secrecy.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:00 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 67

The immigration department is broken in so many ways. Perhaps that would be my next book… too long to write about but for starters, we should not use someone’s immigration application as a threat over some ones’s head for as long as they live. Makes no sense…

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:02 pm
In response to DaveMoore @ 68

I’ve met someone (who was raised conservative Jewish) at CIA who had worked in Ramallah who said they really resisted hiring her bc she had spent too much time with Palestinians. It was as much a distrust in her politics as in her ties to Arabs.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:02 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 69

I have a hard time believing that, it sounds to me like the FBI propaganda machine. It is the CIA that collects information overseas not the FBI. If I am wrong on this, kudos to the agents who collected the information!

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Have you any thoughts, Nada, on CIA Director Leon Panetta’s “outing” of Dr. Shikal Afridi as the man who fingered bin Laden, and, as well, the use of a fake vaccination program as the means of discovering bin Laden’s whereabouts?

DW

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:02 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 71

Spot on. I could not have said this better ;-)

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:03 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 73

Thanks will check them out!

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 74

I don’t even think it’s that–it’s also about creating a class of people outside the law. My cousin’s husband, a highly educated Pakistani, was in the F1 to H1B process at 9/11. The law firm he was just starting at was caddy corner from WTC. So he just hid in his apartment for 3 weeks until his paperwork came through. And that’s a lawyer!

When I was at INS in Detroit I just could never fathom how all the people I saw who didn’t have the advantages (starting w/English fluency, but also prejudices and money and the ability to take time from work and not having kids) my husband had made it through the process.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:07 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 77

I do not believe he outed him. From everything I know Mr. Panetta is an outstanding director. My experience with high level officials is that they would not stick their neck out if it does not benefit their political career. NOT PANETA. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall when Panetta briefed POTUS about the UBL op. He took a chance that many other would not. I have a lot of respect for this brave decision.

DaveMoore January 28th, 2012 at 3:07 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 75

I can agree, but Bedouins are not Palestinians. I was also working as an archaeologist for the Israel National Museum. I asked for that position to improve my Arabic. I also, stupidly it would seem, thought my combat service in Vietnam would negate these feelings. Furthermore, I have an Anthropology degree and wrote a thesis on counterinsurgency and tribal warfare. Not being flip, but maybe they are just jealous?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:07 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 75

Wow. Surprises me!

blackbeary January 28th, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Nada, I would hope you could use your commitment and experience to correct what many see as the misdirection of the intelligence and covert services.
There are real criminals damaging our country who are not investigated or held responsible.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:10 pm
In response to blackbeary @ 84

I believe in time the “criminals” would be brought to justice.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Did you see/hear about the money laundering case brought against a bunch of Lebanese used car brokers (not all Muslim, I believe) in conjunction with a money laundering ring that worked through Benin?

I’m wondering bc 1) it seems highly likely that a lot of the brokers would have no way of knowing that ultimately Hezbollah was involved in getting money from Benin to Lebanon and 2) these guys all just lost their businesses.

I understand the need to track down terrorist financing. But this one seemed like a case where a attenuated alleged tie to Hezbollah put a tens of businesses out of business here in the states.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:12 pm
In response to DaveMoore @ 82

LOL!

Our government really really really needs to fix our translation problem. And really really really needs to get people who understand the cultures they’re dealing with people at all areas of our terrorism fight.

But no one seems really interested in making that happen. I think it’s a hard case to make politically, partly bc so many elected politicians are pretty parochial themselves.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:13 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 86

I have not heard of it. I will say this: if FBI Detroit is involved, then I have a hard time believing anything that was “sent” to the media… in fact I Have a hard time with anything they filed in a court of law!

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:15 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 87

10-4!

DaveMoore January 28th, 2012 at 3:15 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 86

Emptywheel–Hezbollah also has/had a car import business run out of Paraguay. Their cars are brought in through the South (Louisiana and Alabama). Title washing is very easy in Virginia, where I live. Regarding money, the FBI was really late to find out about the hawala (the root is to move) banking system. I used it myself buying collector stamps from the ME.

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 3:17 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 85

Nada, do you think that torture has any place in American interogation procedures, and further, do you imagine that those who authorized and practiced torture should be brought to any kind of justice?

If so, then how do you consider that such a thing might come to pass?

DW

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:18 pm
In response to DaveMoore @ 90

Unfortunately, when shady FBI cases are so highly publicized, it takes away from the real investigations. I am familiar with the cases in general and wish a good effort is being made to get the bad guys!

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:19 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 88

I did a count, btw, of the number of “white” terrorists and “Arab” terrorists announced by Detroit’s FBI office since they started doing surveys of Dearborn in 2009.

Leaving aside Imam Luqman (whose collaborators were convicted of petty fraud), there were actually MORE “white” terrorists (this includes the Hutarees). That’s a stat that shocks people when I tell them it, partly bc this state is still significantly segregated and the domestic terrorism stuff gets nowhere near the same press.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:20 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 91

No, torture does not reflect on our American values. I hope the folks who authorized torture get a fair trial!

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:20 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 93

Please do tell…

blackbeary January 28th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

If it’s not too much to ask: How are the Pentagon and Langley getting along?

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:21 pm
In response to DaveMoore @ 90

This is export–brokering of used cars. It’s a very very normal part of the car business. ANd while the finance gets dodgy–bc you’re getting not that much for a very heavy thing that needs to be transported to a country willing to buy what here would count as a junker) it is considered a legitimate part of the business within the auto industry. I’m sure it’s easily exploited, but I’m also not sure that means everyone involved would know everyone else in the money chain.

Unlike, say, Chase, which was moving money knowingly for Iran and Hezbollah.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:23 pm
In response to blackbeary @ 96

In the normal way they do :-)

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 3:23 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 94

Frankly, Nada, those who authorized torture are very unlikely to face ANY kind of trial.

John Yoo is quite safe.

And Bush and Cheney are above reproach.

As Obama made clear, torture is regarded as a “policy difference” and will NOT be criminalized.

DW

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:25 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 99

Yes DW. I am aware of what you said. I was referring to a fair trial with GOD. They have to live with themselves.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Nada

Getting back to your story.

You described the FBI’s efforts to avoid judicial oversight in your case. That is, they’d make their most egregious accusations (like that your sister had ties to terrorism) outside the purview of a judge.

Can you say more about that? I think it’s a really important point that likely goes on very often, but unlike many aspects of your case (the list I put the post), it’s not really well known.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:28 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 101

Like you said, the accusation were made in the media and they avoided any oversight from a judge- I believe these are tactics used to put pressure on Judges when time comes for sentencing. Thank God, my judge saw through this and called them out on it.

PeasantParty January 28th, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Nada,

If you can, I’d like for you to speak about your feelings on the Anthrax investigation re: Ivins. Also, if there is anyway you can help the Occupy Wall Street folks as there seems to be a major over reach on speech.

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 3:29 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 100

And the rest of us have to live (and die) with the consequences.

Until they appear in that higher court, the outwardly moving ripples will still have consequences for the living, especially the innocent.

The Rule of Law, here on earth, happens to be one of the victims, as I am certain you must realize.

DW

DaveMoore January 28th, 2012 at 3:31 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 97

I only found out by accident. A Pakistani (and ex felon) neighbor was parking used junkers out of Alabama on our condo property. Turned out he was an informer for ICE (I think) which protected his illegal business. I paid a heavy price getting him out, since all my neighbors were rightly scared of him. The police clued me in. It was like Whitey Bulger in Boston.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:31 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 104

Yes. Life is not fair. I do know that when I put my head down to sleep, I have a clear conscious, I don’t know if “they” do!

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Nada

To the extent you can say, where do you go from here? What is the status of your citizenship? If you get that back, do you think you’d have any chance of getting clearance again?

Also, were you successful in shielding your husband’s career from the troubles what happened to you caused?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:32 pm
In response to DaveMoore @ 105

Why am I not surprised?

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:32 pm
In response to DaveMoore @ 105

Man there’s a whole lot of crime committed in this country by informants!

DaveMoore January 28th, 2012 at 3:33 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 106

The sleep of a saint is equal to the slumber of a murderer.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:35 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 107

I am in the process of getting my citizenship back now, ie entangled in the bureaucracy! but one day, I will be a citizen AGAIN. I am enjoying the time with my daughters now and am in talks about a movie following the book. We will see! Yes, the plea deal shielded my husband’s career

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:36 pm
In response to DaveMoore @ 110

Nice. Today is my birthday and I am really enjoying talking to you Dave ;-)

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 3:37 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 106

“They” are mostly sociopaths, Nada, as are the “too-big-to-fail” banksters, their sleep is undisturbed, as empathy doth not impinge.

Life may be “unfair” and if “they” have “their” way ’twill be also nasty, brutish, and quite short …

Perhaps such a thing is worth standing against?

The founding fathers whom you mention, at least in part, thought so.

DW

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:38 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 111

Well, good luck on that front.

How old are your daughters now? And how did they recover from all this?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:38 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 109

Yes, we need an informant oversight committee…

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 3:40 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 111

Nada, your citizenship will make this a better and stronger society, as your life will add further meaning and substance to what this nation needs to become.

Thank you for sharing your story and your wisdom with us.

DW

DaveMoore January 28th, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Nada–Just a personal note on what happened to you. My maternal grandmother was of German descent and spoke German in the home in California. Until the day she died she was bothered having her patriotism questioned by neighbors during WWI. Her father said no more German in the home, plus they always told the lie that they were Dutch. They were afraid of being killed or burned out. The newspapers printed stories of Pancho Villa being funded by Germany to invade California and all the German-Americans would join in. My point is: expect to be mad about this until the day you die. My grandmother sure was.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:41 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 113

DW It is a pleasure blogging with you. I believe that “such a thing” is definlety worth standing against. I have faced the monster and looked him in the face. I will do so again if need be!

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 114

Evangelina is 7 and Elizabeth is 3. They are strong gals and have survived this episode!

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
In response to DWBartoo @ 116

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me!

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:43 pm
In response to DaveMoore @ 117

Thanks for sharing Dave. Questioning my patriotism felt like I was stabbed in the heart. I have forgiven, but will not forget.

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 120

The pleasure is mine, Nada.

;~DW

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:44 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 115

You think that would help? It seems that part of the problem–as suggested above–is in the motivations here. I know a number of examples where series of informants are thrown at one suspect over a number of years, until finally the suspect does something incriminating. It seems like the emphasis on terrorism prosecutions is so high that the FBI will trade off more dangerous crimes for a terror informant (and since the stakes are so high for the informant, they go to some lengths to help out).

And now they’re giving informants a cut of the fines imposed if the suspect is convicted.

That all seems like it requires far more than just an oversight committee. The incentives need to be changed.

juliania January 28th, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Nada, you have expressed a willingness to return to the defense of United States citizens against their enemies, which is a worthy intention to say the least. In light of what has happened in the past for you out of such experiences, the positives and the negatives, are you still willing to put your faith in the government priorities which are currently being put forward ? I guess what I am asking is, do you think the emphasis on might over diplomacy is correct? (You seemed to advocate a broad definition of means in answer to an earlier question by DW.)

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 3:48 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 123

Changing the “incentives” will require changing values and re-establishing fundamental principle, EW, as well as considering the larger purpose of the nation itself.

DW

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:48 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 121

Well, I hope you’re able to work for the country again.

But I also hope you help to educate others about the problems with witch hunts in our own country. You had the wherewithall to make it through this–and I think a lot of that comes from knowing the system and knowing you were smarter than the folks targeting you. I really feel like, particularly as whatever threat there is increasingly comes from home grown terrorists, the potential for the targeting of honest Americans is getting worse, not better.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:49 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 123

In addition to what you mentioned, I see “entrapment” issues and telegraphing our investigative approaches to the real terrorists. Entrapping a subject- who is not a “real” terrorist- to get terrorism statistics and advertising that via the media nationwide is a clear message to the “real” terrorist: watch out for FBI informants.

PeasantParty January 28th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Nada,

This probably another stupid question, but I don’t know so I must ask.

Can regular citizens call upon our FBI to investigate politicians that we feel are rogue or working against our Constitution?

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
In response to juliania @ 124

Diplomacy is of course of high importance, but having dealt with certain cases, I do not believe diplomacy would have worked. When I said we need a wide range range of options depending on our capabilities, I meant dealing with issues on a case by case bases.

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 127

LOL, well, if they haven’t already figured that out, they’re not that big of a threat. Plus now we’ve got local communities suspicious of informants too.

BevW January 28th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon discussion,

Nada, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book, career, and fight for your citizenship.

Marcy, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Nada’s website (NadaProuty) and book

Marcy’s website (EmptyWheel)

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow: Bruce Bartlett – The Benefit and The Burden: Tax Reform-Why We Need It and What It Will Take; Hosted by James K. Galbraith

If you want to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

DaveMoore January 28th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 128

If I may chime in, remember Abscam? Part of the agreement was they would not. And how ironic, it was not “Arab Scam” but Abdull Enterprises. The FBI used an Italian-American agent to pose as an Arab buying influence. He just grunted when “speaking” Arabic. Hey, it worked. Fifty grand cash bought you a congressman.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:55 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 126

Thanks! I think my case was an education for a number of people. I cannot tell you how many calls I got from FBI/CIA folks who told me they were duped by the media re my case. Yes, targeting the innocent does not appear to be getting “better”- someone in USG described it as collateral damage!

emptywheel January 28th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Nada

Thanks for the wide-ranging discussion. Best of luck to you! Once you’ve straightened out our CT efforts, do come back and let us know!

Teddy Partridge January 28th, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Thank you so much for writing this book, and for your service to America. I really look forward to reading it and hope that your experience helps to change many of our American institutions that are far off the correct path. Best of luck to you going forward.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:56 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 128

Yes, you can file a complaint with any FBI office if you believe corruption is taking place.

PeasantParty January 28th, 2012 at 3:57 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 133

Yeah, well Karl Rove thinks everybody is fair game.

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Thank you. Hope you enjoy reading it!

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:57 pm
In response to emptywheel @ 134

Thank you for having me. Nada

Nada Prouty January 28th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 137

LOL

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
In response to Nada Prouty @ 129

Do you imagine that were we to change certain behaviors on our part, that we might diffuse resentment and a propensity toward violence, such that certain “cases” might not even arise to begin with?

I ask that considering, Nada, that in my sixty-five years, this nation has opted for “control”, from the Korean war, to the “removal” of Mossadegh and so on … to threatening war against Iran …

DW

PeasantParty January 28th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Nada, again thank you so much for this wonderful Salon and your service. I hope that we all will gain from reading your book.

Marcy, thanks again for your hosting.

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Good evening, Nada, and thank you for joining us.

DW

DWBartoo January 28th, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Thank you, Marcy, and as always, thank you, Bev.

DW

SanderO January 28th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

We’ve know since Philip Agee that the CIA and the intel operations were criminal enterprizes… why would anyone in their right mind enter these agencies?

And then, Like Ray McGovern, Sibel Edmonds, Collen Rowley and Ms Prouty they get out and tell us … Oh my… these agencies are loose canons but I served my country honorably… I didn’t see the BS and the lies… Wake up…

Yeah right…

And the torture and killing goes on… with the support of the intel services.

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