You can’t escape the past, and that includes the NYPD and the FBI.
It turns out that Shahed Hussain, the owner of the Albany-area limousine involved in a horrendous crash last week in which 20 people died, was an FBI informant.
After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI and the NYPD wanted to assure the public that law enforcement was successfully fighting terrorism.
Around 2008, the FBI paid Hussain $100,000 to con four jobless, poorly educated black men at an upstate Newburgh mosque into participating in a scheme to fire Stinger missiles at military planes and bomb two synagogues in Riverdale. Hussain flashed money around, and the FBI supplied the attack plans as well as a fake bomb and fake Stinger.
Lying in wait, on May 20, 2009, the NYPD and the FBI arrested the four outside one of the Riverdale synagogues. At a City Hall news conference, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg — with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Assistant FBI Director Joseph Demarest standing nearby — praised the arrests.
Then-Gov. David Paterson said the arrests illustrated the constant terrorist threat NYC faced and announced grants to synagogues to improve security, paid for by the feds.
“The Newburgh Four,” as they came to be known, were sentenced to 25 years in prison. Appeals courts rejected claims that the four were “entrapped.”
Since then, Kelly has been discredited for his Muslim spying. A year after the Newburgh arrests, Demarest was transferred to Washington after he was accused of using his influence as a senior manager to get a female FBI agent promoted.
Hussain, who had faced deportation for masterminding a scheme to sell phony driver’s licenses before the FBI got hold of him, purchased a hotel north of Albany. Hotel guests sued him for taking reservations for cabins not yet built.
He also started his limousine service. It turned out that the limousine in the crash had failed to pass state inspections and that the driver was unlicensed.
Hussain’s lawyer said last week his client is in Pakistan dealing with health issues. It is unclear what treatment Hussain could not get in the United States.
Oh, one more thing: Want to know who headed the FBI when the bureau signed up Hussain? Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Donald Trump presidential campaign.