Ok... So the terrorism part first:Terrorism charges brought Friday against the administrator of a loan investment program claimed that he secretly tried to send $152,000 to the Middle East to buy equipment such as night vision goggles for a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan.
Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari, 53, of Ardsley, N.Y., pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to an indictment accusing him of terrorism financing, material support of terrorism and other charges. The charges carried a potential penalty of 95 years in prison.
But would you really believe me if I told you he was a Republican?CBS News has confirmed that Alishtari is a donor to the Republican Party, as he claims on his curriculum vitae. Alishtari gave $15,500 to the National Republican Campaign Committee between 2002 and 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records. That amount includes $13,000 in 2003, a year when he claims to have been named NRCC New York State Businessman of the Year.
Alishtari also claims to be a lifetime member of the National Republican Senate Committee's Inner Circle, which the NRCC describes as "an impressive cross-section of American society – community leaders, business executives, entrepreneurs, retirees, and sports and entertainment celebrities – all of whom hold a deep interest in our nation's prosperity and security."
Since then Josh Marshall covered it and, as per usual, TPM readers have come up with some interesting takes on this story:
Late Update: Funny. TPM Reader B points out that the New York Post chose a rather different way of reporting this story. Their lede: "A Westchester businessman and purported peace activist was nabbed by the feds for allegedly plotting to funnel more than $150,000 to terrorists at training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
No mention of Republican ties. Let me know when they follow up ...
Later Update: In fairness, the Daily News ran it pretty much the same way.
Never too Late for this Story Update: Oh that's interesting. Cunning Realist found this CV purportedly posted by Mr. Alishtari. In addition to other GOP donor awards, Alishtari says that he was appointed to something called the "White House Business Advisory Committee" in 2003. And CR ends with this point, referencing Alishtari's CV: "Note the entrepreneurial business background with a focus on technology/security. Have any of those businesses ever received government contracts or funds? Any direct or indirect contact in the past with anyone from the Bush administration or Congress?"
Click on for more at TPM... Once their "group" of Blogs and readers gets a hold of a story they usually don't let go of it till it is completely exposed.
MattW at MLN has it up here as well.