While we wait for jurors to determine whether five former officials at the Holy Land Foundation violated the law, check out Dennis Lormel's post at the Counterterrorism Blog about why the government's second attempt to convict the men was worth it, regardless.
A mistrial ended last year's trial after jurors were unable to reach unanimous verdicts on most counts. As we reported, prosecutors made a series of significant adjustments to strengthen their case.
Lormel, who created the FBI's Terrorist Financing Operations Section, said those changes should help. The Justice Department was right to try again, he said, because the evidence warranted it and because it showed determination by the government that it wouldn't look the other way when charity money is funneled to terrorists.
For HLF defenders who lament the loss of aid to needy Palestinians, Lormel says their anger is misplaced:
"Blame and criticism should not be pointed at DOJ. Win or lose the jury verdict, bringing this case forward was the right thing to do. Blame and criticism should be directed at HAMAS. HAMAS is a terrorist organization, who clearly exploited the vulnerability of charitable giving for their organizational benefit as opposed to the benefit of the Palestinian people. If HAMAS had truly cared about the Palestinian people they would have ensured funds from HLF and like charities would have gone to charities that were not affiliated with them. Instead, HAMAS ensured they were the beneficiaries furthering their logistical and psychological needs."