The representative of a human rights group headed by a designated al Qaeda terrorist was denied a visa by the State Department after being invited by congressional Democrats to discuss drone strikes.
Mohammad Al Ahmady, the Yemen director for Geneva-based NGO Al Karama, was expected to brief Reps. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.), Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), and Jan Schakowsky (D., Ill.) the morning of the Nov. 19, according to press release from Grayson’s office.
Ahmady, who also serves as a top official in an al Qaeda-linked Yemeni political party, did not attend because of visa issues. The State Department said it could not comment on visa matters.
Several Al Karama officials have faced terrorism allegations. Al Karama’s founder and current president Abdul Rahman Naimi was designated as a terrorist and al Qaeda supporter by the U.S. Treasury Department in December, along with the group’s Yemen representative Abdulwahab Al-Humayqani. Al Karama’s legal director, Rachid Mesli, is currently wanted for terrorism charges in Algeria.
According to Jorge Bonilla, a Republican running for Grayson’s seat in Florida’s 9th district, called the briefing a “slap in the face to the brave men and women who have served in the Global War On Terror,” according to a statement published by the National Review:
“Calls for review of our overseas and domestic drone policies are an entirely appropriate part of our national conversation, and oversight of such policy matters is well within the purview of the United States Congress.”
“However, I am outraged to discover that several progressive Members of Congress (including Alan Grayson) sought to elicit testimony from a representative of a group with deep links to Al Qaeda, headed by an individual who was found to have funneled millions of dollars to Al Qaeda at the height of the Iraqi insurgency. In other words, we are now consulting our drone policy with potential targets.”
“Such an invitation is a slap in the face to the brave men and women who have served in the Global War On Terror, to our returning Wounded Warriors, to our cherished Blue and Gold Star Families, and to the memory of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom.”