Terror suspect hires big-name lawyers

December 7, 2010 (CHICAGO)

In Tuesday's Intelligence Report: the case of 26-year-old Shaker Masri who was arrested by the FBI last summer on terrorism charges.

Following an 18-month federal investigation, Masri was arrested as he drove to Midway Airport, the gateway to his one-man jihad, according to authorities. He was said to be bound for Somalia on a suicide mission. Now, Masri's mother has come from Jordan to Chicago and hired three big name national lawyers to try to save her son.

Masri lived near Chicago's Gold Coast and worked for a suburban company that translated the Koran into English. His passion was a plot to kill members of the U.S. Military, according to the FBI.

"He hoped to become a martyr by wearing a suicide vest," stated FBI agent Robert C. Parker in a court affidavit.

On one undercover tape, Masri is said to discuss blowing himself up next to a busload of American soldiers.

The Intelligence Report has learned that Shaker Masri has drafted a new defense team with the front line consisting of Linda Moreno from Miami; Joshua Dratel of New York; and Thomas Durkin, a noted Chicago attorney -- all three considered heavyweights in the field of representing terror suspects.

Durkin has defended numerous accused Chicago terrorists, 9/11 suspects and enemy combatants being held in the Guantanamo prison camp.

"All you read about today is that everyone's a member of al-Qaida," said Durkin.

Durkin made that comment last spring after a court hearing for one of his other Chicago terror defendants but it is a common refrain from the outspoken attorney. He and Dratel are both associated with the ACLU's John Adam's Project that funds legal defense for a number of accused terrorists.

Dratel is the author of books on government torture and terrorism, including one on prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

His latest client, Shaker Masri, has become an unlikely celebrity in the al-Qaida world. As the I-Team first reported last October, Masri's name is on a list published in the terror group's official magazine asking for his immediate release from custody.

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