Star Witness in “Sleeper Cell” Case Blazed a Trail of Lies From Pakistan to California

Hamid Hayat didn’t want to believe that his closest friend was a paid government agent. Then, awaiting trial, he learned Naseem Khan would be the star witness against him.

A decade ago, the FBI caused a national panic when it announced it had broken up an al Qaeda “sleeper cell” in Lodi, California. The case was an early example of a post-9/11 counterterrorism strategy that would turn out to be deeply flawed: paid informants used to build cases against suspects for acts they might one day carry out. Soon after Hamid Hayat, a young Pakistani-American man, was convicted of material support to terrorism, elements of the case began to unravel.
Now, amid heightened fears over government targeting of Muslim communities, reporter Abbie VanSickle uncovers evidence that further undermines the Lodi case. The government’s star witness was a troubled FBI informant — whose own mother said he was “a bagful of lies.”

Read the full report here: Star Witness in “Sleeper Cell” Case Blazed a Trail of Lies From Pakistan to California

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