Former DOD Contract Translator Arrested for Alleged Ties to ISIS

The ongoing threat of Jihad.


A former Department of Defense (DOD) contract interpreter, Mohammad Rafi Mohammadi has been arrested for allegedly having lied about his connection to ISIS in his application for a security clearance in conjunction with his employment by the DOD.

The arrest of this defendant is of great significance however, while information about this case has been published in several news reports but, incredibly, has not been reported by the Justice Department or any other federal agency.

Mohammadi is being prosecuted by the federal government and is alleged to have worked to assist ISIS, the group behind the bombing in Afghanistan that killed 13 American soldiers and grievously wounded many others.

Additionally, the news reports neglected to provide important insight into just how the alleged actions of the defendant may have done significant harm to U.S. national security or ask what should be obvious questions about the way that Mohammadi is being charged.

I will address these issues shortly, but first, let’s begin by reviewing information about this case that Rolling Stone’s article about the arrest provided in its October 18, 2022 report under the title:

CAUGHT

Feds Charge Pentagon Contractor With Lying About Ties to ISIS

Mohammad Rafi Mohammadi worked for the U.S. in Afghanistan. He was also allegedly helping the terrorist group behind a bombing that killed 13 American troops.

The Rolling Stone article began with this excerpt:

FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SAY a translator hired by the U.S. to work in Afghanistan lied about his contacts with recruiters for the terrorist group behind a notorious bombing that killed 13 American troops in August 2021.

In a federal criminal complaint filed in Kansas on Monday, the government says Mohammad Rafi Mohammadi communicated with, funded, and, in one case, sought to secure the release of recruiters for ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K) both before and after he worked for the U.S. as a linguist in Afghanistan.

Mohammadi allegedly denied “ever associat[ing] with anyone involved in activities to further terrorism” while filling out a security clearnace form for his linguist work in 2019. But FBI agents investigating him in the wake of the 2021 U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan say a trail of Facebook messages, social media posts, and the testimony of an informer contradict that account.

Experts say that, while lying on security clearance forms is illegal and subject to criminal penalties, prosecutions tend to be rare and reserved only for extreme cases. The case comes as thousands of interpreters, soldiers, and employees who fought ISIS-K and the Taliban beside the U.S.-led coalition are still struggling to find refuge inside the U.S. after Taliban rule.

This next excerpt is utterly impossible to understand:

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication. Rolling Stone was unable to reach Mohamaddi or an attorney representing him.

The Rolling Stone article also reported on Mohammadi’s alleged support of two recruiters for ISIS-K in this excerpt:

The Defense Department deployed Mohammadi to Afghanistan as a contract linguist in October 2019. Unbeknownst to the Pentagon, Mohammadi allegedly had a history of support for an ISIS-K recruiter prior to his travel to Afghanistan.

Investigators say he had been in contact with “Individual 1,” a man arrested by Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) for “recruiting militants for ISIS-K and deploying them to a specific province within Afghanistan” in February 2019.

Prosecutors didn’t name the alleged recruiter, but the description of him as the subject of a publicly announced arrest by NDS aligns with Abu Obaidullah Mutawakil, a jihadist preacher arrested in Kabul in February 2019. Mutawakil’s arrest was the only publicly announced arrest of an ISIS-K recruiter that month.

Mohammadi’s relationship with the individual appears to date at least to early January 2018, when the Kansas man Facebook messaged a friend in an attempt to get the recruiter’s phone number. Months later, Mohammadi allegedly sent the recruiter $400 via Western Union and published a video featuring him on his Facebook page in the wake of the recruiter’s February 2019 arrest.

Once deployed to Afghanistan in October 2019, Mohammadi appears to have raised little suspicion except for a brief incident when “he attempted to sneak back onto the military base, as he left the base without permission,” according to investigators.

While in the country, Mohammadi allegedly tried to help a second ISIS-K recruiter, referred to in court documents as “Individual 2,” after an arrest. Afghanistan’s NDS arrested Individual 2 for “recruiting students to join ISIS-K and encouraging them to carry out terrorist attacks” in July 2019. Mohammadi allegedly told an FBI informant that he had tried to help secure the man’s release while working as a linguist in Afghanistan

Additional information about his case was provided in the October 20, 2022 American Military News report that republished a Kansas City Star report about this arrest that had been published by Kansas City Star under the title,  Kansas City man who worked for DoD lied about contacts with ISIS recruiters: Authorities.

Now let’s dig deeper into the serious implications that this case has for America’s national security.

Generally the arrest and prosecution of an individual associated with a known terrorist organization would be the subject of a Justice Department (DOJ) news release and likely a well-attended news conference.  However, as I noted in the beginning of my article today, the has, to date, not made any public announcements about this case.  Here the DOJ was not even willing to respond to a direct question and provide information to a news organization about the arrest of an alleged affiliate of ISIS-K.

It is also hard to understand why Mohamaddi was only charged with lying on his application for the security clearance required for his employment as a translator for the DOD but has not been charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Another issue that should be addressed is Mohamaddi’s immigration status.  If he was born in the United States he would certainly be a United States citizen.  However, if he entered the United States as an alien, then his applications to secure entry into the United States must be scrutinized to see if he lied on his immigration applications, just as he alleged to have lied in his security application.  This is of great importance, because if he committed fraud in his immigration applications and that fraud can be proven, he would be subject to deportation (removal) from the United States after his criminal prosecution is completed and he completes his prison sentence, presuming he is found guilty.

If he is found guilty of assisting ISIS, his continuing presence in the United States would clearly pose a clear and present danger to national security and public safety.  His deportation would eliminate that threat.

Translators hold positions of extreme sensitivity.  This is a fact that I am intimately familiar with, as an INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) special agent I frequently worked with translators.

Translators, of necessity, serve as the eyes, ears and mouths of the agents and intelligence officers who work with them and also act in the eyes ears and mouths of the individuals who are interviewed.  Translators may be given access to sensitive documents.

Translators are able to identify agents and potential informants, putting their lives at risk.  The information that is discussed is highly sensitive and provides the translator with sensitive information that has potential national security implications.

A rogue translator may lie about the responses being given by an individual who is being interviewed.  This would undermine the integrity of the vetting process that is vital to prevenient terrorists from entering the United States by concealing their association with terrorist organizations or other derogatory information.

The arrest of this alleged affiliate of ISIS is a bit of positive news, however, how many more such individuals have succeeded in infiltrating our agencies that are charged with protecting America and Americans?

In the days, weeks and months after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 politicians from both political parties and at all levels of government demanded to know why no one had “connected the dots” to anticipate that America was vulnerable to a massive terror attacks.

Ultimately the 911 Commission was formed to conduct an extensive and in-depth investigation into how the terrorists were able to successfully target the United States an the worst terror attack ever carried out on U.S. soil.

In point of fact, I provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission.

It did not take long for the 9/11 Commission to determine that multiple failures of the immigration system enabled terrorists, and not only the 19 hijacker terrorists who carried out the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, to easily enter the United States by various means, most often by committing immigration fraud, that enabled them to embed themselves in communities around the United States as they made their deadly preparations.

In addition to providing testimony to the 9/11 Commission and testifying before numerous hearings in the House and Senate I have written a number of articles in which I attempted to “Connect the dots”-

Here are five such articles:

The Biden administration must now order an audit of every case that involved Translator Mohammad Rafi Mohammadi’s “services.”

However, I am not optimistic that this will happen under the “leadership” of Joe Biden or DHS Secretary Mayorkas .  My recent article, For the Biden Administration, National Security is ‘Mission Irrelevant’ explored some of the vulnerabilities that have been exacerbated by the Biden administration.

We The People must contact our Senators and Congressional Representatives and make it clear that they must act on behalf of national security and the safety of all Americans.   This is not a “Left” issue or a “Right” issue but an American issue.

The clock is ticking and time is not on our side!

©Michael Cutler. All rights reserved.

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