Former Reid aide escaped prosecution for sham marriage to terror suspect

posted at 9:25 am on October 26, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

In the final days of any campaign, the news media gets a flurry of scandal stories involving politicians in tight races.  Most of them turn out to be nothing, like Joe Miller’s three-day wrist slap for participating in an on-line political poll while at work.  Some of them occupy a more gray area of relevance, which may describe the story broken by Fox last night regarding the aide that once worked for Harry Reid that somehow managed to avoid prosecution for her part in a sham marriage that allowed a terror suspect entry to the US, and lying about it to investigators:

A former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reidrepeatedly lied to federal immigration and FBI agents and submitted false federal documents to the Department of Homeland Security to cover up her illegal seven-year marriage to a Lebanese national who was the subject of an Oklahoma City Joint Terror Task Force investigation, FoxNews.com has learned.

Diana Tejada, Reid’s Hispanic Press Secretary, admitted to receiving payment for “some of her expenses” in exchange for fraudulently marrying Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini in 2003, strictly so he could obtain permanent U.S. residency, according to court documents.

Tarhini, now 37, was held in jail and at an immigration detention center in connection with his 2009 indictment on felony charges, documents show. He pleaded guilty to entering a fraudulent marriage to evade immigration laws — a Class D felony — in November 2009, and he was deported in March 2010.

Tejada, now 28, was never charged for her role in the crime.

“We did not charge the woman, and of course we don’t discuss the reasons we don’t charge people,” said Bob Troester, spokesman for the Western District of Oklahoma U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted the case, which began as an FBI investigation out of the Oklahoma City Joint Terrorism Task Force.  “There’s multiple factors that go into charging decisions. She wasn’t charged and we can’t go beyond that.”

Tejada didn’t start working for Reid until October 2008, and confessed to investigators the following month.  Her perjury and obstruction of justice took place before she went to work for Reid, while she worked at La Raza.  The Fox report doesn’t have any specificity as to whether Reid knew about the case at all.  Oddly, the ICE’s agent assigned to the case testified that Tejada still worked for La Raza at Tarhini’s deportation hearing, which was inaccurate at best and certainly curious.  The Department of Homeland Security knew where she worked, and should have informed Reid’s office of the potential security breach, and Tejada’s actions in covering it up.

Did they?  Fox’s report doesn’t say definitively.  Reid’s spokesman claims that Tejada no longer works on their staff, but Fox’s report says that she still works for Reid in some capacity.  Jim Manley, Reid’s spokesperson, gave the following statement:

“Our office was not previously aware of these allegations.   The staffer at issue is no longer with our office.   The conduct alleged, which took place several years before the staffer worked for Senator Reid, was clearly wrong.  But the bottom line remains that this story is a pathetic and desperate measure by partisan republicans, who have stooped to slinging mud about junior staffers to score points in the waning days of the campaign.”

While I’m normally skeptical at last-minute scandal eruptions, this one seems a little more significant than just a mud-throwing contest.  How exactly did Tejada escape prosecution for perjury and obstruction of justice?  The FBI and Department of Justice don’t take that lightly, as Scooter Libby can attest.  Obviously, Reid’s office could hardly have been aware of the sham marriage and the lies after just a month of employment, but they should have known about the case shortly afterward.  If they did and kept Tejada on staff, then that would be a big problem in judgment for Reid, and if they exerted any influence on the decision to waive prosecution, that could be a case of abuse of power and obstruction of justice on its own.

It’s possible that no one “at the highest level of management” at Homeland Security thought to pick up the phone and tell Reid that one of his staffers had entered a sham marriage to get a terrorism suspect into the US.  Bureaucracies have a habit of failing at the big issues while overperforming on the routine.  However, that too stretches credulity.  Wouldn’t the Joint Terrorism Task Force have been worried about Reid’s security under the circumstances?  He is, after all, the Senate Majority Leader and a potential target for terrorists.  If Homeland Security failed to notify Reid, then Reid’s off the hook and Congress needs to review Homeland Security’s decision-making processes ASAP — and if not, then Reid has a lot of explaining to do.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Most.
Ethical.
Congress.
EVEH!!!!

Elizabetty on October 26, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Laws are for we ‘little people’ dontcha know?

lukespapa on October 26, 2010 at 9:27 AM

But HarryPotty Reid is the SAVIOR OF THE WHOLE WORLD … including terrorist harborers!

Isn’t he?

TheAlamos on October 26, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Crooked friends in high places!

Sandybourne on October 26, 2010 at 9:30 AM

Maybe the sham marriage isn’t a scandal, but having a staffer who used to work for LA RAZA? That says a lot right there.

Timothy S. Carlson on October 26, 2010 at 9:33 AM

La raza?

cmsinaz on October 26, 2010 at 9:33 AM

This could get interesting. I wonder how much La Raza will be pulled into this, something tells me she isn’t the only one there that has done this.

TQM38a on October 26, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Thanks for bringing this up again. I couldn’t believe last night’s headline for this only got 19 posts. I think this could be seriously bad for Reid with one week to go, but it needs to be used. The LSM won’t push it at all, and will try to bury it.

Darksean on October 26, 2010 at 9:35 AM

The fat lady’s sung. Morning Joe was already discussing his (and Rory’s) political obituary and what coulda/shoulda. What is laugh out loud is that they take Sharron Angles “second ammendment solution to problems in Washington” literally, the bunch of scaredy cats.

Marcus on October 26, 2010 at 9:35 AM

Whatever. Barely anyone in the federal government gives a crap about illegals anymore, it’s close to becoming a battle between which party can gain favor and thus votes the quickest.

I try to stay optimistic, but then see stories about plans to let non-citizens vote, and things seem to darken.

Bishop on October 26, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Democrats “in bed” with terrorists? I’m shocked, SHOCKED I tell ya!

Capitalist Infidel on October 26, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Laws are for the little people.

Rational Thought on October 26, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Heck, they want to give Illegals the right to vote.

kingsjester on October 26, 2010 at 9:41 AM

And they say Angle is strange. She is positively dull compared to this.

WannabeAnglican on October 26, 2010 at 9:45 AM

Ya have an aide to the most powerful man in the Senate, who commits a crime, and is not charged?

Probably just a fluke. I mean nobody in any government organization would defer to the top Senator on such a piddling matter, right?

coldwarrior on October 26, 2010 at 9:45 AM

But he saved the whole wide world from a great depression.

Dhuka on October 26, 2010 at 9:45 AM

As I’ve said before, Dems don’t own all the October surprises.

Bat Chain Puller on October 26, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Diana Tejada, Reid’s Hispanic Press Secretary,

Any particular reason they ID her in this fashion? I’ve never seen Dana Perino or Robert Gibbs referred to as, “the President’s white Press Secretary,”

ernesto on October 26, 2010 at 9:47 AM

So this woman gets off scott free, while I’d be banging my tin cup against iron bars, and all because of who we know, or don’t know? PATHETIC!!!

capejasmine on October 26, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Her credentials must have looked good on paper, so Reid didn’t read further. This is how they pass bills, too. Maybe the Joint Terrorism Task Force should be looking into La Raza more closely. If there was one member who aided a terrorist, then there’s probably more.

Kissmygrits on October 26, 2010 at 9:50 AM

ernesto on October 26, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Because it ties in to this:

Her perjury and obstruction of justice took place before she went to work for Reid, while she worked at La Raza.

kingsjester on October 26, 2010 at 9:50 AM

more palling around with terrorists in the top tiers of the democratic party….

SSDD

ted c on October 26, 2010 at 9:52 AM

Tejada didn’t start working for Reid until October 2008, and confessed to investigators the following month.

Very curious. One possibility for this sudden desire to confess right after joining Reid’s staff, is that Tejada suckered (the easily suckered) Reid by applying for the job on his staff in order to avoid the prosecution she was faced with, in the belief that, being on the Senate Majority Leader’s staff, the government would decline to prosecute.

Then again, if La Raza felt Reid owed them, arrangements might have been made. I find it hard to belief that the Senior staff of the Majority Leader didn’t vet her prior to hiring, including a check with the FBI on criminal past and other potential problems. Either they did know, or they are incompetent, neither of which reflects well on Reid, particularly wrt national security issues.

Dusty on October 26, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Where is the Estes Kefauver of our time? The Joe McCarthy?
They’re hiding under their blankies so the big bad press and democrats don’t attack ’em and call them names. Grow a pair or get the hell out of DC.

darwin-t on October 26, 2010 at 9:56 AM

If Homeland Security failed to notify Reid, then Reid’s off the hook and Congress needs to review Homeland Security’s decision-making processes ASAP — and if not, then Reid has a lot of explaining to do.

I’m not sure I agree that Harry would be off the hook even then. Isn’t a press secretary someone you would vet pretty thoroughly, I mean that’s an important job, right? Should Reid have the keys to the capitol building if he is going to make poor hiring choices like this?

Kudos to Fox news for breaking this story. The voters should get the details and decide for themselves if the want this guy representing them.

bitsy on October 26, 2010 at 9:58 AM

Any particular reason they ID her in this fashion? I’ve never seen Dana Perino or Robert Gibbs referred to as, “the President’s white Press Secretary,”

ernesto on October 26, 2010 at 9:47 AM

My guess is that she is the liasson for the “Hispanic Press” and Pinky Reid’s office. Not what your question is trying to imply.

darwin-t on October 26, 2010 at 9:59 AM

Diana Tejada, Reid’s Hispanic Press Secretary, admitted to receiving payment for “some of her expenses” in exchange for fraudulently marrying Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini in 2003, strictly so he could obtain permanent U.S. residency, according to court documents.

Her perjury and obstruction of justice took place before she went to work for Reid, while she worked at La Raza.

This is where I want the investigation to lead.

Vashta.Nerada on October 26, 2010 at 10:00 AM

How exactly did Tejada escape prosecution for perjury and obstruction of justice?

“Eric,

pls don’t chg tejada, mk me lk bad

BO”

BobMbx on October 26, 2010 at 10:01 AM

Wait a minute.
Let’s get this straight. A LaRaza chick marries a terrorist for money then somehow ends up working for the most powerful idiot in the Senate?
And we are supposed to look the other way?

I sure hope not.

ORconservative on October 26, 2010 at 10:01 AM

Any particular reason they ID her in this fashion? I’ve never seen Dana Perino or Robert Gibbs referred to as, “the President’s white Press Secretary,”

ernesto on October 26, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Sounds like she’s in charge of Hispanic outreach…the Spanish speaking portion, anyway.

La Raza? If he’s so crazy about their platform, can’t Harry Reid get a head-start on the Reconquista and move out of the West? Or is Nevada not part of the Republica del Norte? I forget….

Asher on October 26, 2010 at 10:02 AM

La Raza…Lebanese terrorist group…why does that not surprise me?
In the 60’s the radical groups were all tied together, then funded by the Communist Party.
Things haven’t changed…including the cluelessness of the American people.

right2bright on October 26, 2010 at 10:02 AM

How exactly did Tejada escape prosecution for perjury and obstruction of justice?

How did the Black Panthers escape prosecution?
Progressive Liberals have been living above the law.

Keemo on October 26, 2010 at 10:02 AM

I find it hard to belief that the Senior staff of the Majority Leader didn’t vet her prior to hiring, including a check with the FBI on criminal past and other potential problems. Either they did know, or they are incompetent, neither of which reflects well on Reid, particularly wrt national security issues.

Dusty on October 26, 2010 at 9:53 AM

C’mon now. Young, female, latino. What more vetting is needed?

BobMbx on October 26, 2010 at 10:03 AM

darwin-t on October 26, 2010 at 9:56 AM

If you ever take away one thing from the persecution of Tailgunner Joe, it is this: He went after Senators’ (and Congressmen, and Supreme Court Justices’) friends while latching on to the big issue of the Communist threat. Doesn’t matter that Joe was vindicated by the Venona cables; he broke the rules of Senate comity in very dramatic and telegenic ways. And you’ll never be forgiven for that.

As for Harry Reid, all I’m going to say is that Michelle Malkin has yet to comment on this.

BradSchwartze on October 26, 2010 at 10:10 AM

I would’ve gotten away with it had it not been for that pesky, meddling FOX News!

RepubChica on October 26, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Take a look at Drudge of all the cheating going on already. Hang on guys…this is going to get real nasty.

lukespapa on October 26, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Having spent many days in MCB Camp Lejeune coordinating aviation support for Congressional visits, I can tell you that Congressional staffers are generally spoiled overweight socially and intellectually challenged political jock sniffers…These young idealistic fools are preparing the nation’s most important staff work that later becomes proposed legislation that gasbags like John McCain, Harry Reid, et al sell to the public…It is a dysfunctional system. I’m not surprised that we have a terrorist accomplice working for the most powerful man in the US Senate. Disgusting!!!

Nozzle on October 26, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Wouldn’t the Joint Terrorism Task Force have been worried about Reid’s security under the circumstances? He is, after all, the Senate Majority Leader and a potential target for terrorists.

That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw this story. A horrible breach of security for one of our government’s top officials. This guy could have been sitting right next to Reid at a campaign event, passed along information about Reid’s activities and wehereabouts to terrorists, etc. How in the world could Ms. Tejada NOT be prosecuted for creating such a breach of security???

Regardless of what happens to Reid in this election, this incident should be investigated by Congress and by the Inspector General at DHS. And I would guess there are going to be calls for stricter background checks for Congressional staff after this, especially for the top ranking members.

rockmom on October 26, 2010 at 10:21 AM

I suspect the only reason the woman wasn’t prosecuted is that they needed her testimony to get Tarhini. It happens all the time. I have seen prosecutors charge people they thought were at worst accessories with the main offense and not charge the person they thought was the actual perpetrator in order to squeeze the defendant into flipping. (I handled one of those once. The accessory called the bluff and refused to plead and flip, and the case against her was dismissed by the prosecutor on the morning of trial right before jury selection.) Sometimes it is bungled, especially when there are more than two wrongdoers, and the guy they flip to get the others turns out to be the ringleader they should have focused on. But here the big turd is Tarhini, so it makes sense.

As for the rest of it, that is more questionable, particularly the testimony of the ICE agent who incorrectly said she still worked for La Raza and didn’t mention her more recent employment by Reid. That stinks like a dead skunk in the middle of the road.

novaculus on October 26, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Maybe the sham marriage isn’t a scandal, but having a staffer who used to work for LA RAZA? That says a lot right there.

Timothy S. Carlson on October 26, 2010 at 9:33 AM

That is what I was thinking!

jeffn21 on October 26, 2010 at 10:34 AM

This Democratic administration keeps proving it’s competence on a daily basis.

GarandFan on October 26, 2010 at 10:37 AM

Any particular reason they ID her in this fashion? I’ve never seen Dana Perino or Robert Gibbs referred to as, “the President’s white Press Secretary,”

ernesto on October 26, 2010 at 9:47 AM

I thought she might be press secretary to Hispanics, specifically. It didn’t first cross my mind that it was an ethnic description.

ladyingray on October 26, 2010 at 10:39 AM

OCTOBER SURPRISE!

TheAlamos on October 26, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Hey, if “foreign money” from outside groups does make its way into the coffers of Reid’s campaign- how does it get there?
Of course He knew.

OkieDoc on October 26, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Any particular reason they ID her in this fashion? I’ve never seen Dana Perino or Robert Gibbs referred to as, “the President’s white Press Secretary,”

ernesto on October 26, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Because Faux News is racist!

BTW the author of this piece is Jana Winter, who’s done some good journalistic work. However, she has also earned the hate of some on the Left, especially the folks at Wiki.

Del Dolemonte on October 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM

I saw this on another blog, too. It’s clear that this happened before she was a Reid staffer, right? How is Reid implicated in this? Either I glossed over it while reading or this is a weak attempt to smear a jackass. ;-)

Jarhead68 on October 26, 2010 at 11:07 AM

I went and dropped off our ballots last week and the box was full. FULL! It’s never full.
I’ll tell you what, if OR doesn’t end up close to a Republican win there’s not just a little cheating going on, there is quite a bit.

ORconservative on October 26, 2010 at 11:11 AM

I saw this on another blog, too. It’s clear that this happened before she was a Reid staffer, right? How is Reid implicated in this? Either I glossed over it while reading or this is a weak attempt to smear a jackass. ;-)

Jarhead68 on October 26, 2010 at 11:07 AM

Because one of the most powerful men in America, a man who is privy to classified information, highly classified, has an employee, his press secretary, involved with terrorism. And he chose to hire her, there is no way that security would have allowed that without direct involvement of Reid.
This speaks right to the ability of him using judgment, and putting America at risk. If he was in the military he would have been court martialed…

right2bright on October 26, 2010 at 11:14 AM

A former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reidrepeatedly lied to federal immigration and FBI agents

First person who came to mind when I read this is Scotter Libby. Reid’s aide should be in prison. Oh WAIT! She’s a democrat.

What did Reid know and do and when did he know it? What did he do?

Did he get her off?

dogsoldier on October 26, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Her perjury and obstruction of justice took place before she went to work for Reid, while she worked at La Raza

PRE-REQUISETE for working for Reid? did he even vet her? what an asshat.

UNREPENTANT CONSERVATIVE CAPITOLIST on October 26, 2010 at 12:01 PM

I believe I heard on the radio news report of this Monday that as recently as Sept. 21st of this year, Tejada gave an interview to a Spanish language station while acting as a representative of Reid.

keioki on October 26, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Her perjury and obstruction of justice took place before she went to work for Reid, while she worked at La Raza.

That explains her contempt for citizenship

A shame Reid is staffing his office with La Raza people. According to Human Events, as late as 2003 La Raza was funding Mecha. The Mecha creed: “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza. nada” (For The Race everything. Outside The Race, nothing)

The problem is, groups like La Raza do not recognize national sovereignty, but only racial, sexual, economic and other rights to property, land mass, and voter registration cards

I doubt Reid’s employee considered marrying a terrorist to get him a green card any kind of a problem, since the La Raza crowd consider getting permission to move into the USA an insult to social justice

entagor on October 26, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Send this clown back to Searchlight where he can retire raking gravel.

Hummer53 on October 26, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Her perjury and obstruction of justice took place before she went to work for Reid, while she worked at La Raza

Gee, a LaRaza activist working to undermine U.S. security.

Color me shocked.

They’re just good, decent, law-abiding folks willing to take jobs Americans won’t do, right Harry? I guess one of those jobs Americans won’t do is marrying middle-Eastern wannabe terrorists.

But shhhhh . . . nobody dare point out LaRaza’s blatant anti-American interests, or else you’ll be called a raaaaacist and a hater.

AZCoyote on October 26, 2010 at 12:56 PM

Absolutely inexcusable. If she knew the man was a wanted terrorist, they both should be in Guantanamo Bay, right now, being questioned by the HVIG. If she didn’t know, at the very least, she should have her own citizenship revoked, and sent back to Mexico, or wherever she came from. Both should also face charges of conspiracy to commit acts of terror, or conspiracy to defraud the US federal government, depending on what the ground truth. This is yet another example of the piss-poor Holder “Justice” Department, and Nepolitano DHS, paraded around for everybody to see. They’re more than willing to prosecute Americans for not paying into Obama’s protection racket (ObamaCare), but they’re afraid to touch something that’s really important, like this.

Virus-X on October 26, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Ya know, I was wondering the other day how the libbies managed to dodge the bullet so often when they’re tied to so many scumbags.

I mean, John Wayne Gacy was a democrat. A well-loved democrat.

Granted, Bundy was in the GOP, but you hear the left gloating about that occasionally to this day. You never hear anyone bringing up the Gacy thing. And here we are, a Reid op with ties to terrorism yet not a word in the MSM.

Oh wait. I forgot. They cover nothing unless its bad for conservatives and republicans. I forgot. Nevermind

Mad Mad Monica on October 26, 2010 at 1:27 PM

Newest Sharron Angle attack ad on Harry Reid “Stupid Things Harry Says”

Nearly Nobody on October 26, 2010 at 2:30 PM

NOW can we call Dirty Harry a FELON ??
http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/ralstons-flash/2010/oct/26/angle-campaign-attorney-reid/

pambi on October 26, 2010 at 7:54 PM