the City of New York,
New York, NY., June 25, 1993.
Re arrest of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman.
Hon. Janet Reno,
Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC.
Dear Attorney General Reno: Yesterday morning the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New York City Police Department arrested members of a group who are suspected of planning several terrorist attacks, including bombing the United Nations buildings and several major access tunnels into Manhattan, and the assassinations of public officials including a United States senator and the Secretary General of the United Nations. Media reports have indicated that the group has close ties to Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. The FBI conducted a search of the Shiek's residence where detectives reportedly found evidence linking him to these terrorist activities. The Sheik's followers have also been lined to the World Trade Center bombing earlier this year in which six people were killed.
As you may remember, on March 17, I wrote to you to urge the immediate arrest and incarceration of Shiek Rahman pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1252, the law giving the Attorney General the power to arrest and take into custody any alien who is the subject of a deportation proceeding. Sheik Rahman was, at that time, and is now, in deportation proceedings. I renewed the request on March 18 after Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Judge Daniel Meissner determined that Sheik Rahman was, in fact, excludable.
I received a response from Acting Assistant Attorney General John Keeney indicating that the possibilities of medical costs for Sheik Rahman were the critical factor in the INS District Director's decision not to arrest the Sheik and hold him in custody (copies of my previous correspondence and Mr. Keeney's are enclosed). It is difficult to believe that the United States does not have adequate facilities nor sufficient revenues in a $1.5 trillion budget to provide for whatever medical needs Sheik Rahman might have while in detention. (The Sheik's physically demanding schedule and extensive travels for news conferences and preaching--all of which have been reported widely in the nation's mass media--suggest the cost of incarceration would be manageable.)
If the State Department was warranted in putting Sheik Rahman on its terrorist watch list and therefore considered him too dangerous to enter the United States, he is too dangerous to remain at large. In light of the most recent terrorist arrests and the deaths and damage inflicted by the World Trade Center bombing, the failure of our government to arrest him is unconscionable. By allowing the Sheik to move about this country at will, to hold news conferences at will and to continue to preach violence to his supporters, a number of whom have been arrested and charged with terrorist activities, the United States government sends the signal that it is not taking terrorism seriously. That is, indeed, a signal we cannot afford to send.
I urge you to exercise the authority you hold to arrest and incarcerate Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman immediately.
With best wishes,