PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – A woman who lived at the meeting place for the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, which the Bush administration accused of association with Osama bin Laden, says the Department of Justice endangered her and her family by giving copies of her computer hard drives to Russian spies with known ties to the Iranian government.
The hard drives contained records of personal, political and religious communication between the plaintiff, a U.S. citizen born in Iran, and relatives still living in Iran, according to the federal complaint.
Laleh Naz Zahedi claims the I.R.S. seized her personal computers in 2004 as evidence in a tax probe of the al-Haramain Foundation.
But instead of returning the computers within 6 months, as specified by the search warrant, Zahedi claims the Department of Justice handed the hard drives to Russia’s Federal’naya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti, which she says regularly communicates with the Iranian government.
A federal judge dropped all charges against Ashland, Ore.-based al-Haramain, but the United Nations Security Council Committee issued a worldwide ban against the charity.
In March, an Oregon federal judge found that the Bush administration should have sought warrants before wiretapping the group.
Zahedi, who emigrated from Iran in 1994 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2000, says she lived in the al-Haramain Foundation’s “meeting place” and communicated with relatives in Iran using several personal computers that were later used by the foundation.
In 2004, an Oregon Federal Court issued a search warrant allowing I.R.S. agent Colleen Anderson to search Zahedi’s home for foundation tax forms and information relating to foundation director and Saudi national Soliman Al-Buthi’s failure to file a tax form for his traveler’s checks.
The warrant allowed agents to seize Zahedi’s computers and search all the computers’ files, but the I.R.S. could seize only information related to the tax probe, and had to return the computers within 60 days, according to Zahedi’s complaint.
Anderson told a federal judge during a 2009 hearing in Oregon that the Department of Justice handed over copies of the hard drives to Russian intelligence officials.
Zahedi says “it was publicly known” at the time that Russia and Iran “routinely share intelligence information.”
Zahedi claims the government has endangered her, her family, and “possibly third parties.”
Zahedi seeks declaratory judgment that the government violated the Privacy and Freedom of Information Acts. She wants records of everything the government did with her personal information, an order that the government expunge all records of her personal information, and damages.
Zahedi sued the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Colleen Anderson and FBI agent David Carroll.
She is represented by Thomas Nelson of Welches, Ore.
Nelson is the attorney who filed the warrantless wiretap lawsuit on behalf of the al-Haramain Foundation in 2006.