MIAMI (CBS4) – “I am an informant and all I can tell you is that Talibans are walking freely right here in the soil of America right now, right now.”
That’s the haunting worry of South Floridian David Mahmood Siddiqui. He was the confidential FBI informant who has a rare view of of trying to infiltrate a largely secreted world of what the U.S. government considers terrorist sympathizers.
He met with CBS’4 Chief Investigator Michele Gillen saying he wants to tell his story to share what he’s uncovered and explain why he has concerns for the safety of the United States.
Because of concerns for his safety, his face is concealed during the interview.
Asked by Gillen what he thinks the risk of having Taliban living in America is, he responded; “They can commit a jihad at any time, they hate America, you have an enemy living here in American soil, do not know when they will take action to kill innocent Americans.”
Gillen met with Saddiqui to get an insider’s look into a recent case that made headlines across the South Florida community and the nation.
In a review of court documents and records, it appears Saddiqui and his undercover work resulted in key evidence in the case against Muslim Cleric Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan.
Following a 29 day trial, the 77 year old former head of the oldest Mosque in Miami was convicted last month of supporting terrorism and conspiracy. Khan awaits sentencing and could end up spending the rest of his life in prison.
What happened? Exact details are not revealed but we know that Siddiqui portrayed himself as a Taliban sympathizer and had worn an FBI wire to capture on tape multiple conversations with Khan including phone calls and face to face meetings.
CBS4 news obtained from the US government the transcripts of those taped conversations and reviewed thousands of pages.
In one conversation Sidiqqui brought up the attempted bombing of Times Square.
On tape, according to the transcripts, Khan responds ” It would have been great had it worked out…..such a brave heart.”
Since that attempt, the U.S. government has indicated that the action had ties to the Pakistani Taliban.
According to the U.S. government, Khan had funneled some $50,000 to the Pakistani Taliban.
“Keep one thing in mind, it may be $50,000, but you can buy an m-16 for 50 bucks in Pakistan. You can buy a belt to blow yourself away for 50 bucks. In Pakistan, $50,000 is considered a lot of money,” said Siddiqui.
His detective work didn’t stop in Miami. He found himself on a plane to Pakistan and the Swat Valley, often considered a haven for the Taliban.
Saddiqui said he believes if it had been discovered in Pakistan that he was an FBI informant, he is convinced, “They would have killed me instantly. Absolutely, no questions asked.”
Ultimately U.S. prosecutors were able to convince a Miami jury that money Khan sent overseas was to support the Pakistani Taliban in their efforts to target U.S. interests in Pakistan. Khan’s attorneys claimed the money the Iman sent was for his family, charities and the religious school.
While Saddiqui’s last undercover assignment was a big win for the US government-which says it can’t comment on the case at this time… he walks away… “hurt, very disappointed”
Saddiqui says out of concern for his safety he had hoped to be relocated out of Miami by federal authorities after the case was over. That hasn’t happened. The FBI says it can’t comment on open case.
“They treated me like garbage in the end. I really believe that, I feel it in my heart,” Sadiqqui added.
Walking back into his old life has not been easy. He’s hoping to find work and a new start. In the end he says he would do it all over again.
“I love this country. I was doing it for the love of this country. I didn’t want any more innocent Americans to be assassinated, or killed, or bombed by terrorist organizations.” For that he says he rests proud.
Meanwhile, Khan’s attorneys have filed a motion for a new trial. They have maintained that the Iman was lying on the taped conversations just going along with the informant in hopes of getting money.
Khan is scheduled for sentencing in late May.