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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Somalis Say Feds Snooped Illegally

ST. LOUIS (CN) - Federal investigators violated wiretap laws to get evidence against men they accuse of links to Somali terrorists, the men's attorney says in a motion to suppress. Abdi Mahi Hussein's attorney, Larry Hale, claims the government violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

"The government appears to have conducted electronic surveillance pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (hereinafter FISA), 50 U.S.C. Section 1801-1812, 1821-1829," according to the motion to suppress. "Said surveillance was unlawful in that the government failed to fully comply with the requirements of FISA, including, but not limited to the failure of the attorney general to file the certification required by 50 U.S.C. Section 1802(a)."

FISA governs electronic surveillance and other evidence-gathering techniques in investigations regarding national security.

Federal prosecutors filed a motion for extension to reply to Hale's motion, claiming it would take months to respond.

Prosecutors say their response would require contacting the attorney general and FBI officials and checking classified documents, and that only a judge will be able to review much of the legal basis used to authorize the recordings.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Terry Adelman gave prosecutors until May 25 to respond.

Prosecutors claim the surveillance shows that Mohamud Abdi Yusuf, 31, collected thousands of dollars and worked with Hussein and Duane Mohamed Diriye to send the money to Somalia using aliases and fake identification documents. The money was to be used to buy a transport vehicle for al-Shabaab, an Islamist group fighting for control of Somalia. The U.S. government declared al-Shabaab a terrorist organization in 2008.

Yusuf faces four counts of providing material support to a terrorist organization, one count of conspiracy and one count of immigration fraud.

Hussein, a Minneapolis resident, is charged with illegally funneling money.

Diriye has not been arrested and is thought to be in Kenya. He is charged with three counts of providing material support to a terrorist organization.

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