Michael Chertoff, Dr. Magdy el-Amir and the terrorist intrigue in Jersey City

Did Michael Chertoff shield terror ring in New Jersey?

Daniel Hopsicker
January 12, 2005

Michael Chertoff, appointed by President Bush to head the Homeland Security Department, may have shielded from criminal prosecution a former client suspected by law enforcement of havingfunneled millions of dollars directly to Osama Bin Laden while in charge of the U.S. Government’s 9.11 investigation.
Egyptian-born Dr. Magdy el-Amir, a prominent New Jersey neurologist, was at the center of terrorist intrigue in Jersey City.

El-Amir gave money to a conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman.

His brother in Cairo was caught on tape attempting to buy weapons from an American undercover agent for Islamic militant groups.

Before being arrested in a terrorist deal involving oil and heroin for guns and training, arms smuggler Diaa Mohsen was paid at least $5,000 by one of Dr. el Amir’s companies, NBC’s Dateline reported.

And his HMO was suspected by law enforcement of being used to funnel money directly to Osama bin laden.

Wire Transfers to “Unknown Parties”

Chertoff’s client “caused more than $5.7 million to be paid by wire transfers to unknown parties,” said the lawsuit filed shortly before the state took over his failing HMO.

News accounts about el-Amir’s legal difficulties contain unanswered questions about undue political influence and its effect on national security.

For example, how did el-Amir, who only the month before had been granted a state license to operate an HMO, finagle a lucrative contract from the state of New Jersey in 1995?

“Why was this doctor allowed to start a health plan?” asked the October 25, 1999 issue of the medical trade journal Medical Economics.

“How could this medical entrepreneur, who had no experience running a managed-care or health insurance company, receive a license for an HMO that now provides care to 44,000 of New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens?” asked The Bergen Record. “Moreover, how could the state pay such a novice $ 6 million a month in taxpayers money to take on such a responsibility?”

Why did Michael Chertoff even take the case?

Skimming for Osama in New Jersey

Answers were slow in coming, until it was revealed that at the same time el-Amir was pitching state business he had begun making generous contributions to the governing Republican party, donating nearly $ 18,000 to various GOP candidates in 1996.

And a foreign intelligence report made available to the Chairman of the House International Committee alleged that an HMO owned by Dr. el Amir in New Jersey was “funded by Ben Laden,” and that in turn Dr. el Amir was skimming money from the HMO to fund “terrorist activities.”’…

Stuff like that doesn’t happen, does it? In New Jersey?

Barely three years after enrolling its first patient, APPP lay in financial ruins, its network doctors and hospitals were saddled with millions of dollars in unpaid claims, and its founder had retained the services of Michael Chertoff.

Did Chertoff know where the stolen money was going?

“Frankly, we can’t differentiate between terrorism and organized crime and drug dealing,” then-Asst Attorney General Michael Chertoff told the Senate Banking Committee looking into the terrorists’ money trail in the aftermath of 9.11.

“These groups don’t hold themselves independently: They work with one another. Terrorists get engaged in drug activity. They have relationships with organized crime,” Chertoff said.

Paging Tony Soprano

Chertoff was undoubtedly worth every penny Dr. Magdy paid him: though doctors and hospitals calculated they were owed more than $45 million, Dr. ElAmir faced no criminal charges.

When the MadCow Morning News first reported on Mob and terrorist connections to “Magic Dutch Boy” Rudi Dekkers and the covert operations conducted at the Venice Airport, Michael Chertoff was running the official U.S. investigation.

Dekkers remains free.

Magdy el-Amir continues to live and practice in New Jersey.

Now that Chertoff has been tapped to keep America safe, questions are sure to resurface about whether he hadn’t himself been instrumental in helping to make America dangerous.

Documents in the el-Amir case remain under seal. Fortunately, the following information does not. From the Bergen County Record (New Jersey) on January 24, 1999:

“For a while, Magdy Elamir looked like the Horatio Alger of managed care in New Jersey.”

“An Egyptian immigrant who parlayed a storefront medical practice in Jersey City into a multimillion-dollar health-care empire that served thousands of the state’s poorest citizens, he lived in a Saddle River mansion and contributed generously to candidates for political office”…

“His health maintenance organization, American Preferred Provider Plan Inc., is about to be sold by state regulators to salvage some money for doctors and hospitals who calculate they’re owed more than $ 45 million.” Link

In August 2002, NBC’s Dateline reported on the el-Amir case:

“Last fall, DATELINE obtained information about this man, Magdy el Amir. He’s a prominent doctor, a neurologist with a practice in Jersey City. Born and educated in Egypt, he moved to this country about 20 years ago and since then has built a fortune”…
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