Date: Sat, 13 Mar 2010
On Friday, March 12, members of the Tarek Mehanna Support Committee attempted for
the second time to meet with a representative of the Massachusetts US Attorney's
office. Again we were told to fill out a complaint form--there was no one at the
office who could speak to us. We asked whether it was the explicit policy of the new
US Attorney not to meet with concerned members of the public. The "Administrative
Specialist" insisted that this was not the policy of the office, but couldn't
explain why our calls, faxes and our formal complaint remained unanswered.
This time we left a written statement and directed the administrative assistant to
bring it to the attention of the US Attorney. We were told, once again, that someone
would contact us on Monday.
Many of us had thought that the former Massachusetts US Attorney Michael Sullivan
had set a low water mark for unresponsiveness to community concerns. It seems that
the new holder of the office, Carmen Ortiz, may lower the bar still further.
We are releasing our statement as an open letter to the new US Attorney.
United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz
John Joseph Moakley
United States Federal Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 9200
Boston, MA 02210
Friday, March 12, 2010
US Attorney Carmen Ortiz:
We are here representing the Tarek Mehanna Support Committee.
During the week of February 22 through February 26 we made numerous phone calls and
sent faxes to Assistant Attorney Chakravarty to express strong community concerns in
the case of Tarek Mehanna. Chakravarty appears to have dealt with these concerns by
disabling his voicemail, routing calls to the voicemail of a secretary who never
returned them. As you may have been informed, we sent a delegation to your office on
Friday, February 26, to raise our concerns in person. We were instructed to fill out
a complaint form with our contact information so that we could arrange an
appointment with you. Since then, no one from your office has contacted us.
In our conversation with your administrative assistant, we expressed our belief that
the unresponsiveness of your office to community concerns shows an arrogant contempt
for the residents of Massachusetts. This contempt is especially egregious in light
of the history of severe prosecutorial misconduct that has come to characterize the
Massachusetts US Attorney's office from the time of Sullivan's leadership.
We are here again to demand that you take our concerns seriously.
We believe that Tarek Mehanna is the victim of FBI retaliation and severe
institutional abuse of power because of his refusal to act as an informant for the
FBI--a refusal that lies fully within his constitutionally protected rights. The FBI
explicitly threatened Mr. Mehanna with this retaliation, saying that they would make
his life a "living hell," by using false allegations of "terrorism" unless he agreed
to act as an informant within the Muslim community.
These FBI threats and the decision of the US Attorney's office to carry them out are
reminiscent of the criminal collaboration between Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey
Auerhahn--also responsible for Mr. Mehanna's prosecution--and FBI Special Agent
Michael Buckley, documented in the case Ferrara v. US.
Auerhahn's record of conduct would merit not merely disbarment, but criminal
sanctions. These practices include:
*Coercing a witness into giving false testimony (suborning perjury);
*Withholding exculpatory evidence from defense;
*Lying before the court (perjury).
US Attorney Michael Sullivan's failure to sanction Auerhahn for these practices in
any meaningful way speaks of complicity in this criminal misconduct at the highest
level of the Massachusetts office. As the allegations against Auerhahn came to
light, rather than suspending Auerhahn, Sullivan transferred him from the
Racketeering Unit to the Anti-Terrorism Unit, where he has continued in the same
practices against another set of victims.
The criminal collaboration between Auerhahn and FBI agent Buckley requires that your
office not only take action against Auerhahn, but reconsider those pending cases in
which Auerhahn has been involved.
We believe that Tarek Mehanna is another innocent victim of illegal practices on the
part of the FBI and the US Attorney's office. We strongly urge you, as the new
leader of the Massachusetts US Attorney's Office, to break with this atrocious
The Tarek Mehanna Support Committee
For more information about Tarek Mehanna and the campaign for his release, see
Thursday, April 01, 2010