While the agencies charged with protecting our national security were maneuvering for access to your cell-phone bills, something was going on in their own damn office in Detroit:
A Lebanese immigrant, Nada Nadim Prouty…well, let the dry language of journalism tell the story. It makes it so much more amazing:
According to court records, Lebanese-born Prouty gained U.S. citizenship in 1994 through a fraudulent marriage, joined the FBI’s Washington Field Office as a special agent in 1999 and joined the CIA in June 2003.
Prouty is related to Talal Chahine, a former Metro Detroiter now on the lam in Lebanon. He’s under indictment for tax evasion on a rather breathtaking scale; he owned a chain of successful Middle Eastern restaurants called La Shish, and allegedly funneled a large chunk of his profits to Hezbollah back in the old country. And guess what Prouty used her FBI clearance for? To sneak a peek at the agency’s files on the very same outfit.
The Free Press wins understatement of the year honors for describing it as “an embarrassing breach of national security, and clarifies:
Although there is no evidence that Prouty was a Hizballah operative, the episode raised questions about how she cleared multiple federal background investigations to acquire U.S. citizenship and land jobs at two of the nation’s most sensitive intelligence agencies without someone discovering that she had engaged in marriage fraud to become a citizen.
We had a seminar speaker during my year in Ann Arbor, someone from law enforcement, who had a very low opinion of the FBI. I’m beginning to see why.
The La Shish chain is still open, operating under some sort of court-approved arrangement while its owner rediscovers his native tongue. I’d like to eat there, but if I did, the terrorists would win.
Both stories make for interesting, if jaw-dropping, reading. Never underestimate the value of a native Arab speaker who looks good in a pantsuit. Apparently she has the ability to cloud men’s minds.