In one corner we have U.S. officials trying to dodge the diplomatic blowback from spying on foreign leaders. In another corner, we have U.S. intelligence spying on a Chicago teenager, American Adel Daoud, who was later arrested and charged in a terrorism case here. And Monday night, against the backdrop of spies, leaks and espionage, the curious case of the Hillside teenager is attracting personal attention from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Caught in the large net cast by U.S. intelligence agencies-- the same one that now has foreign leaders crying foul from corners of the world-- was information about a17-year-old high school student from west suburban Hillside.
Adel Daoud has been in the federal lockup since being arrested more than a year ago on charges he tried to detonate what he thought was a car bomb in downtown Chicago. The bomb wasn't real and Daoud's accomplice was an FBI plant.
But since the teenager's arrest, prosecutors have revealed that the seed for the case against Mr. Daoud was found by national intelligence agents, and therefore much of the evidence gathered against him is confidential and cannot be provided even to his defense attorneys.
On Monday night, the I-Team has learned that Attorney General Holder has personally weighed in on the top secret case.
In an unusual addendum to this lengthy government filing in Chicago, is a blunt assessment of the "sensitive and classified information" collected on Daoud. Making it public would cause "serious damage. . .exceptionally grave damage" according to Attorney General Holder, and would "harm the national security."
In what some have described as a potentially precedent-setting case on how far the government can go in spying on its own people, whole pages of this public court filing are blocked out-- as "classified, material redacted."
Prosecutors have said that they do not plan to use evidence gathered by intelligence agencies at Daoud's trial, which is set for next spring. But that secret spy evidence was the way authorities found Mr. Daoud according to investigators, and that is why he and his attorneys want to see it and continue to make the case that they are entitled to it.