January 16, 2008, - 3:09 pm

What Happened to My Former Boss Mark Siljander?: Indicted for Helping Islamic Charity That Funded Al-Qaeda, Taliban

By Debbie Schlussel

*** UPDATE, 07/09/10: My Former Boss, Mark Siljander, Pleads Guilty in Islamic Terrorism Case ***

**** WILL BE ON FOX & FRIENDS, THURS. MORNING, 7:15 A.M. ET, RE-THIS TOPIC ****
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
In general, nothing shocks me about Islamic terrorists and which American politicians are aiding and abetting him.
But today, I am truly shocked beyond belief as I read that my former boss, former U.S. Congressman Mark D. Siljander, was indicted in an apparent scheme to help an Islamic charity fund Al-Qaeda and the Taliban against Americans, to the tune of $130,000:

A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.

siljanderstaffid.jpg

My Congressional Staff ID From When I Worked For Indictee Mark Siljander

The former Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark Deli Siljander, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.

Read the shocking Justice Department press release here.
Mark Siljander, who represented a Congressional district in Western Michigan, is the last guy I’d think would do this. I hope the allegations are not true, but it sounds like he is involved in a very bad scheme to help fund Islamic terrorists and their schemes to murder Americans. It’s so shocking. What happened to my former boss in the years since he was the most pro-Israel, the most anti-Islamist Congressman on Capitol Hill?
I don’t know. But here’s why I’m so shocked. When I worked for Mark Siljander, in the summer after my junior year of high school, and again when I was headed to college, I was just 16, but more than an intern. I wrote speeches for him, I helped tutor him in Hebrew, which he learned to speak and write, and I accompanied him to many events.
What makes the allegations in the indictment so shocking, is that Siljander is a Born-Again Evangelical Christian. We had fast days in his office. There were prayer circles. So deeply religious and so deeply against the Islamic threat, Siljander was known, at the time, as the most pro-Israel Congressman on Capitol Hill, with many Jewish and pro-Israel Evangelical contributors from all over the world. My father was one of those contributors. His Chief of Staff, Robin Luketina, even served in the Israeli Defense Forces.
Mark enlisted me to help him write a tough bill espousing sanctions against the Soviet Union because of its persecution of Soviet Jews. And he enlisted my help in pro-Israel and anti-PLO legislation.
That’s why it’s so hard for me to read that he may have played for the opposite team–for the enemy.
I’m truly shocked. And I hope it’s not true. But–while I have a lot of distrust in the Department of Justice–on this one, I think there must be something there. It’s crushing.
I don’t know if he knew the ultimate destination of the money. It’s not apparent, since the Islamic charity “secretly” sent the money to Al-Qaeda. But what was he even doing lobbying for an Islamic charity? And he apparently lied about it to the FBI. That’s not the Mark Siljander I knew and worked for over two summers and several spring breaks.
It boggles my mind. It must have been the money, as I know that, after he lost his re-election bid (he was replaced by liberal Republican and pan-Islamist Fred Upton), he was engaged in a million different business endeavors trying to make a success of one.
If Mark Siljander was helping Islamic terrorists against America, then no-one is immune from succumbing to these forces of evil. If true, it’s extremely disappointing and demoralizing to me.
It tells me you never really know anyone for sure. Like I said, Mark Siljander is the last person I’d ever think would do this.
**** UPDATE: Siljander was representing the Al-Qaeda front charity Islamic American Relief Agency, which was shut down by the FBI and is represented by sleazy lawyer-for-terrorists Shereef Akeel, who lives in the Detroit area and filed a phony grievance against me with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission.
That my former boss, Mark Siljander would take money from this group–and it’s a fact that he did–is outrageous and shocking to me. That he apparently lied, twice, to the FBI about it, is even more so. That he lied about writing a book about “bridging the gap” between Islam and Christianity is even worse.
This is the Congressman–who when I worked for him–was decades ahead of his time in understanding the Islamist threat worldwide and to America. That he’d reverse course sickens and saddens me.
I think this was about money. Since he lost his Congressional seat, he was hard up for money and was involved in many failed business ventures, including an AIDS-Test-By-Mail. (He also ran, unsuccessfully, for Congress from Virginia.)
Desperation and money do bad things.

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56 Responses

I think most professional Republicans lead double lives and work for the highest bidder anyway.
My opinion only.

donsmith7777 on January 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm

I wonder what donsmith7777 has to say when a donk gets caught.

Frank Laughter on January 16, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Debbie
Some of this seems to go way back to 2005.
http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/019607.php
The photo in the link also has him posing with Arafat

Infidel Pride on January 16, 2008 at 4:47 pm

A closet Muslim, perhaps?

Shy Guy on January 16, 2008 at 4:57 pm

Then I would have to say that donk needs to go to jail too Frank.
Not that you’ve noticed, but it’s been the Republicans that have been selling themselves to the highest bidder for the past decade.
A Donk is going to sell out to the Sierra Club or some such do-good org. or they are out-and-out crooks like that guy in Louisiana.
BFD.
A Republican will sell themselves to Big Energy, Big Defence, Foreicn enties, etc,… even if they hurt America.
And they do it without shame because their base, guys like you, could care less.
Big Difference.
Btw, Randy “Duke” Cunningham may need a pen-pal.

donsmith7777 on January 16, 2008 at 5:04 pm

I guess Don’s never heard of John Murtha and ABSCAM?

kevin on January 16, 2008 at 5:44 pm

Some people’s kids! I swear! I betcha this was a shocker, eh?
Be forever vigilant. One never knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.

Snooper on January 16, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Indeed, dude needs to go to jail no matter what party. AND, WOW DEB, you were smokin’ HOT, and with a very happening 80’s “doo” too!

sayno2fat on January 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm

You sure picked the ones to work for Debbie. Fred Barnes, Mort Kondracke, Phil Crane and Siljander too. Your resume is long and impressive. I’m glad you put your ID badge from the old days on here–what a nice smile and pretty eyes!! I like the dark hair DS too. Might be nice for 2008, eh?
Now as for Siljander–what a traitor. If this is true, I hope he gets all the punishment he deserves.
Also–how can anyone find common ground between islam and Christianity and Judaism?

BB on January 16, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Debbie:
I MET The guy 26 years ago, shortly after he was married. He floored us with his response that he was still “numb” over the experience. There were rumors back then of his orientation which I did not believe.
To think that he would attempt to reconcile Islam with Christianity surprised the hell out of me. That, plus this indictment and the fact that I once met him and talked with him for a short while, REALLY pisses me off! If he’s found guilty I hope they throw the book at him!

Macker on January 16, 2008 at 7:01 pm

He is not the only traitor who’s sold out…there are people selling out nuclear secrets to the Turks and Pakistanis.
Here’s something from the London Times.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3137695.ece
For sale: Americaís deadly nuclear secrets
A WHISTLEBLOWER has made a series of extraordinary claims about how corrupt government officials allowed Pakistan and other states to steal nuclear weapons secrets.
Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator for the FBI, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agencyís Washington field office.
She approached The Sunday Times last month after reading about an Al-Qaeda terrorist who had revealed his role in training some of the 9/11 hijackers while he was in Turkey.
Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.
Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.
The name of the official ñ who has held a series of top government posts ñ is known to The Sunday Times. He strongly denies the claims.
However, Edmonds said: ìHe was aiding foreign operatives against US interests by passing them highly classified information, not only from the State Department but also from the Pentagon, in exchange for money, position and political objectives.î
She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials ñ including household names ñ who were aiding foreign agents.
ìIf you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials,î she said.
Her story shows just how much the West was infiltrated by foreign states seeking nuclear secrets. It illustrates how western government officials turned a blind eye to, or were even helping, countries such as Pakistan acquire bomb technology.
The wider nuclear network has been monitored for many years by a joint Anglo-American intelligence effort. But rather than shut it down, investigations by law enforcement bodies such as the FBI and Britainís Revenue & Customs have been aborted to preserve diplomatic relations.
Edmonds, a fluent speaker of Turkish and Farsi, was recruited by the FBI in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. Her previous claims about incompetence inside the FBI have been well documented in America.
She has given evidence to closed sessions of Congress and the 9/11 commission, but many of the key points of her testimony have remained secret. She has now decided to divulge some of that information after becoming disillusioned with the US authoritiesí failure to act.
One of Edmondsís main roles in the FBI was to translate thousands of hours of conversations by Turkish diplomatic and political targets that had been covertly recorded by the agency.
A backlog of tapes had built up, dating back to 1997, which were needed for an FBI investigation into links between the Turks and Pakistani, Israeli and US targets. Before she left the FBI in 2002 she heard evidence that pointed to money laundering, drug imports and attempts to acquire nuclear and conventional weapons technology.
ìWhat I found was damning,î she said. ìWhile the FBI was investigating, several arms of the government were shielding what was going on.î
The Turks and Israelis had planted ìmolesî in military and academic institutions which handled nuclear technology. Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. ìThe network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States,î she said.
They were helped, she says, by the high-ranking State Department official who provided some of their moles ñ mainly PhD students ñ with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the US nuclear deterrent.
In one conversation Edmonds heard the official arranging to pick up a $15,000 cash bribe. The package was to be dropped off at an agreed location by someone in the Turkish diplomatic community who was working for the network.
The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistanís spy agency, because they were less likely to attract suspicion. Venues such as the American Turkish Council in Washington were used to drop off the cash, which was picked up by the official.
Edmonds said: ìI heard at least three transactions like this over a period of 2? years. There are almost certainly more.î
The Pakistani operation was led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief.
Intercepted communications showed Ahmad and his colleagues stationed in Washington were in constant contact with attachÈs in the Turkish embassy.

aggiegabe on January 16, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Seriously, I wonder if he’s bi-polar.

lexi on January 16, 2008 at 7:22 pm

I think most professional Republicans lead double lives and work for the highest bidder anyway.
My opinion only.
Posted by: donsmith7777 at January 16, 2008 03:58 PM
Hey donsmith7777…It seems William Jefferson Clinton was for sale to the Chinese. For that matter, William Jefferson (D-La.) seems to have been for sale to someone for the cold cash in his freezer. I can go on but the list is long,long,long.
average_guy

average_guy on January 16, 2008 at 7:26 pm

It is about principles and ethics.
It is about evil and good.
We have seen what Mark did for the Evil.
Look what this honorable man (G-d bless his soul) did for the GOOD:
http://www.elicohen.org/
When will ever Mark and people like him learn?

Daniel on January 16, 2008 at 7:35 pm

OMG Debbie…THE HAIR!!!

CapitalistPig on January 16, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Deb:
The Saudi petrochemical lobby is capable of buying darn near anyone. There are any number of Congressmen who vote for foreign aid to Israel on one hand then turn right around and vote to sell advance weapons to Saudi Arabia and any number of other enemies. How do you think that happens?
The Saudi petrochemical lobby has many avenues of legal and illegal approach to decision-makers and future decision-makers. You just never know who is going to sell their soul to them.

There is NO Santa Claus on January 16, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Laughing out FREAKING LOUD!!
“A vote for a Democrat is a vote for bin Lad…uhh…er…ummm…”
KA-BOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!

SFOrange on January 16, 2008 at 8:59 pm

You have a lot of courage to discuss this & how you feel about it on your web site. You had to go on the knowledge that you had at that time though. I hope you keep in mind that a lot of people read your blog & rely on you to continue cutting through the fog & smokescreen of the MSM and there are still a lot of good people out there, even if not too many of them are in politics.

c f on January 16, 2008 at 9:14 pm

You with so little faith are the real whores. You can indict a paper bag, so what. This case doesn’t pass the smell test for me, mostly because of the small amount of money. As far as lying to the FBI, that is what they prosecute when they can’t prove their case. Don’t get your panties in a bunch, yet. Cunningham sold out for millions with people he knew and understood. This is a whole different animal.

code7 on January 16, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Hey Deb, you look GOOD as a brunette! Now I don’t believe in blonde stereotypes…but it does give an impression of being a bit “smarter”.
Just think about it…keep it long though! ;)

nodog on January 16, 2008 at 9:18 pm

With all my respect to everybody.
Stop thinking Democrats and Republicans.
Think America. Think the free world. Think for the GOOD and fight the Evil.
Think that the Evil, i.e. Muslim and terrorist do not differintiate between Democrats, Republicans and the freedom fighters.
Think that politics is about money, power and corruption.
Think that we are sold hundred times every day to make careless and clueless politicians keep their positions and chairs.
Think that we have to stand together and fight the Evil for the GOOD.
Think FREE.

Daniel on January 16, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Debbie, if we had met in 1985 our eldest child would probably be graduating Harvard this year.

Anonymous1 on January 16, 2008 at 9:30 pm

“Desperation and money do bad things.”
And force people to do bad things. The heart of everyone is dark, and we are imperfect and if not guarded in our hearts and motives then things like this happen. Thank God he was nailed.
AUSPatriotman

auspatriotman on January 16, 2008 at 9:35 pm

“It’s not clear whether Siljander ever engaged in the lobbying push”, said John Wood, U.S. attorney in Kansas City. Nevertheless, IARA paid Siljander with money that was part of U.S. government funding awarded to the charity years earlier for relief work it promised to perform in Africa, the indictment says.
I just read the AP story on this and blaming the guy for taking money to lobby Congress that was stolen from USAID by a bunch of terrorists and panicking when the FBI shows up is what they have? Well, thank G-d the US Attorney prosecuting is sleeping with the Assistant Secretary Julie Myers because they are going to need a lot of help with this turd.

code7 on January 16, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Hey… you still don’t have the Staff ID card, do you?

GunTrash on January 16, 2008 at 10:53 pm

Stop thinking Democrats and Republicans.
Posted by: Daniel at January 16, 2008 09:23 PM
Precisely.
Skip the headline itself and read the first 2 paragraphs of the following recent news article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/14/AR2007121402124_pf.html
Do you understand? It’s not about this versus that party. The disease is bipartisan.

Shy Guy on January 17, 2008 at 1:09 am

My dear, you need to wash that blonde out and go back to being a raven haired beauty!
And, by the way, I’m sure missing those videos you were gonna keep doing!
Either way… by print or video… you are a shining light in the dark world of journalism. Keep up the GOOD work!

Aunty Dhimmi <>< on January 17, 2008 at 1:19 am

“This card must be surrendered immediately upon termination of employment”
Eep. Hope that’s not legally enforceable. You might want to send that ID through the shredder. The picture of it will be proof enough that you worked for him.
This is a really bizarre twist to the story, and especially bizarre if his positions used to be as you have described.

Mark Jaquith on January 17, 2008 at 2:01 am

Wait a minute, donsmith …
>
The Sierra Club … a do-good organization? In the same vein as the Young Nazis, maybe.
Deb, you’re hot as a blond, but as a brunette, you make my heart melt.

mechmorph on January 17, 2008 at 3:02 am

QUOTE
“This card must be surrendered immediately upon termination of employment”
Eep. Hope that’s not legally enforceable.
ENDQUOTE
Like Debbie is scared freakin hoo that DHS is going to pound her door down.
Actually, that’s a credible threat.

Shy Guy on January 17, 2008 at 6:06 am

ok, first off, I know this is all serious and all, but, like, you are soooo cute in that picture and I think I danced to a Cure song with you.
Western Michigan Christians have something going on with them that freaked me out when I lived and worked out in Grand Haven for a while. The boss I worked for was a youth minister and a complete anti-semite that let it come out when he was wasted and did his Mr.Hyde thing.Even though many people casually say “Judeo-Christian” that concept can be very insulting to some Christians because Christ was a person, not a religion. To some that think along those lines, because they are so confirmed in their faith and trust for salvation getting the Muslims to nail the Jews just moves the day up for them going to heaven. Especially if the forces of evil have conspired to unelect them and take all their money and juice.
Its just a theory and I thought you might want to know about it. I wouldnt be surprised though if it comes out in the trial that he couldnt care less about Jews really, and took the Muslim money anyway.
We have a political class that has much latitude to make original choices but sometimes they misuse the freedom.
West Michigan is the home of RepHoekstra the Intell Comm Chair. I wonder what else is going on out there in Dutch country.

playertwo on January 17, 2008 at 6:28 am

Listen, Ask yourself WHY the indictment against this guy and not against the mnay, many others who are also so involved? I suspect that many benefit financially from Radical Islamic $$$. Was he chosen becuase of his political party – to make an example of it in an election year?
Excuse me, but I am paranoid….. and we really do have enemies!

crazycatkids on January 17, 2008 at 7:01 am

Sit down and relax, Crazycatkids. Help is on the way!
http://www.theonion.com/content/video/in_the_know_is_the_government

Shy Guy on January 17, 2008 at 7:49 am

Debbie’s analysis that the Congressman’s financial situation contributed to his vulnerability ought to cause us serious concern as to the sophistication of terror intelligence networks in this country–they were sophisticated enough to identify the vulnerability and capitalize on it.
It is not news to any of us that the Saudis operate overtly here and buy political influence in the open. But what happened here has the earmarks of a more sophisticated covert network preying upon vulnerable public figures. If down-on-their-luck politicians are one target, consider another: young, underfinanced, upstart politicians seeking entry into political life. No, I doubt Obama is dirty but all across America congressional and state representatives need campaign financing. He that pays the piper calls the tune.
In any case, it would seem terror networks are keeping watch on all political figures here, big and small, and apparently are well informed about their public and personal lives.

melchloboo on January 17, 2008 at 10:07 am

I always thought that you were one of the best invetigative reporters around. All of your columns have been great and really dug deep into the facts. But now that you’ve openly admitted to have wokred for this guy and had no clue what he was into, or what he was like, is somewhat disturbing. I’m left with a feeling of “what is she holding back from us?” Or “what is she trying to hide?”
I’ll continue to read your columns, but there will always be that doubt there.

you are right on January 17, 2008 at 10:33 am

“You Are Right”, did you bother noticing when Debbie worked for this guy? Her badge says 1985. Did it ever occur to you that people and circumstances might change over 23 years and that people may go on their separate ways over such lengthy time periods?
But do what you want.

Shy Guy on January 17, 2008 at 11:13 am

Ok, I am an ass.
why did you switch from the cute brunette curly hair to the blah blonde straight crap?

laneh on January 17, 2008 at 12:02 pm

The fate of this country and our future is at stake and some are questioning little stupid things.
For the people who are throwing critisism left and right without any base knowledge, I am wondering who will stand and fight for your and our survival eventually.
Debbie was, is and will be keeping on fighting for the GOOD cause.
STAND UNITED AND THINK FREE. FREE. FREE.

Daniel on January 17, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Like Debbie is scared freakin hoo that DHS is going to pound her door down.
Actually, that’s a credible threat.
Well, there letting other, even bigger, traitors off the hook so I’m sure Debbie is not in any danger. Still, one would at least think that someone supposedly so concerned with our national security would at least follow the simple freaking rules like returning identification. I guess national security is all good except when it is inconvenient to conservative media personalities.

r4d20 on January 17, 2008 at 1:00 pm

We need to watch this carefully. There are essentially two charges, money laundering and lying to the FBI. The money laundering charge looks weak. The other defendants made the transfer and there was no way to know that there was anything irregular about it unless they told him. But why would they tell him? I sure wouldn’t in their position.
On the other hand, if I were in their position today, I might think that handing the government an ex-Congressman to prosecute would benefit me. That is what probably happened. The jury will believe it, I think, only if he had other grounds to think that something fishy was going on.
The lying charge looks pretty straightforward, but a lot depends on exactly what the FBI agents asked him and also what else he told them. In a long interview it’s rare to get everything precisely right.

Ted V. on January 17, 2008 at 5:37 pm

:-)
You of all people! Presumably you’re an Islamist in deep cover, and will be the next one to fall. Buh-bye, Debbie! Se ya at Gitmo!
The Republican always goes after the dollar!
:-)

John Emerson on January 17, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Rest easy. You’re right about him, he would never do this. Do you know about the book he wrote? It’s called “A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide”. I’d say he is going deep in his quest and bridging with the people that needs Jesus most urgently, our enemy. If he brings a little Jesus to them effectively then the battle is won. Now, anyone that talks to these people WILL get in trouble, even if They’re talking Jesus to them. Don’t crucify the guy, he just might be making you proud.

ez4mm on January 17, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Debbie: I am Mark’s nephew. He’s still the same guy you worked for but it sounds like you’ve already bought into all the negative press so if you have already made up your mind, I’m not going to help change it because that’s not my motive anyways. Remember, there are two sides to every story. He was writing a book so that’s not a lie because he talked about it all the time and my grandpa even came up with the book title. Jesus said that “he who is without sin, cast the first stone” and “vengeance is mine saith the Lord.”
Take a few deep breaths and see what happens. You may be suprised again that Mark is exhonerated. Until then, remember the good about him sister.
Our world is too negative and is a total trap. Don’t fall in. He was loyal to you and you deserve to offer him the same until the facts all come out. Mark is passionate about God and communicating Jesus to the Muslim & Islamic world. He still loves the Jews and God has even taken him to a deeper place than when you knew him. I pray that God give you grace & mercy too.

Corey on January 17, 2008 at 10:48 pm

Well, the other matter is quite weighty, and has been quite amply addressed. Now, what about that hair? Were you going dark then, or is it natural? You do look very nice by the way.

Worry01 on January 17, 2008 at 11:36 pm

I am outraged and disgusted by Ms. Schlussel’s rant about Congress Mark Siljander. This is clearly nothing more than an exploitative publicity grab so this self-styled “expert” on Mark Siljander, who briefly served as a high school intern to him, could make herself an authority on everything Siljander.
Quite obviously, Fox News did not go looking for a high school intern from more than two decades ago. It is clear that Ms. Sclussel saw an opportunity to get free publicity for herself and this blog by volunteering herself to Fox News.
In the process, she has cast aside the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, deciding to act as judge and jury in not only suggesting that Mark was knowingly involved in the dirty business he is accused of but also in claiming to know his motive (“the money”). I am reminded of Jesus standing defenseless before Pilate as this is the sort of justice that Ms. Schlussel apparantly approves of.
But I do understand. If her “insights” were not sensational, the news media would not be interested. Shame on Fox News as well if Ms. Schlussel’s insights of two decades ago while a teenager was the best they could come up with. What’s next Ms. Schlussel? Will you be selling these riveting observations to the tabloids?
SHAME ON YOU!!! Have you ever heard of “Judge Not Less You Be Judged” or “Innocent Until Priven Guilty”?
I hope you can live with yourself for the tears you have added to the sorrow and pain that Mark is now going through and also his wife, Nancy, and their children. Mark is not a wealthy man and I do not doubt that his family may lose everything just in funding his defense. And I hope you can sleep at night if that happens for the fuel you have added to the fire.
I am a Christian who has known Mark for more than 20 years. When I officed on The Hill, I knew him to be a beacon to every person of faith that he met. I knew him to be uncompromising. I knew him to be compassionate and to reach out to meet needs in every way that he could. I knew him as a man of principle and a man of example.
And, yes, I knew him to be a man deeply committed to building bridges between individuals, nations and faiths (a good reason why President Reagan appointed him to the UN).
Over the years. I noted that this man who speaks many languages and is obviously very bright, is also almost boyishly naive in the way that he accepts people at face value. His nature is to see a half-full glass not a half-empty one and to believe in people and in what they tell him absent proof to the contrary. While, yes, this can (and likely has) come back to bite him, knowing what I know of Mark, I believe this is because he is a man without guile. He simply does not function on any other level.
I remember a time in the last few years when Mark phoned me deeply troubled looking for a reference on a young man who he believed he had caught in a pattern of lying. Though he wanted to help the young man, he wanted to avoid a close fellowship relationship with him because of the lying. It really bothered him and he did not want to be around it though he did pray for the young man.
On another ocassion, many years after I had last seen him, with all other doors closed to me, Mark reached out to help my spouse and I when medical bills overwhelmed us.
Call me naive, but nothing can or ever will make me believe that Mark Siljander KNOWINGLY did the things he is accused of. I believe that it is guilt-by-association and, knowing Mark, that he likely believed he was helping to fund an orphange and that he believed that the funds he accepted were to support his writing of his forthcoming book.
Nothing will ever make me believe that this deeply principled man of faith would, under any circumstances, knowingly do anything to support terrorists who have killed Americans — or any terrorists.
No matter how this comes out for Mark, even if he is exonerated, this debacle has likely ended his career and tarnished his reputation forever as people only seem to remember the sensational.
While I grant you, that anything is possible, I for one shall choose to believe in Mark’s innocence based on his chracter as I know it until such time as he is proven guilty by a judge or jury.
Double the shame on you for not doing likewise for Mark who you claimed to know so well.
Let me be clear that I was and continue to be as outraged over the terrorist acts of 9-11 as any other American. I love our country and feel privileged to have descended from family members who fought in the American Revolution, Civil War, WW I, WW II and Korean Wars and to have two family members who recently served in Iraq.
But I also love our Constitution and our Bill of Rights and I don’t see how you can love America without them.

A_Proud_American on January 18, 2008 at 2:26 am

The public is cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Are the G-men engaging in their usual practice of making the case “sexy” for jury appeal and press? The superseding indictment of a former U.S. Congressman seems suspicious. Why didn’t he get indicted for his role the first time around? What evidence does the G have that the congressmen knew the source of the money? The G loves big time publicity much more than the truth. A prosecutor could get a ham sandwich indicted for making false statements. Money laundering just means he received payment. Proving he knew the source of the funds is not as easy. Has a deal been cut with an unindicted co-conspirator to drop the former politician in the grease? Innocent until proven guilty for good reason. Time will tell…

ParaLyzer on January 19, 2008 at 9:49 pm

I have read the indictment. It is one of the most idiotic things I have ever seen.
I hope, since some of the people here are actually lawyers that they can see that this is a childish attempt by a back woods witch hunting cowboy to indict someone for spending US money to fight terrorism.
Anyone with a remote understanding of what money laundering means will wonder how USAID money given to Mark Siljander spent on personal expenses to write a book on how to prevent terrorism is money laundering.
Debbie..please tell us. You are a lawyer. None of the ones I know can. They all think it is nuts.

gpduf on March 10, 2008 at 7:48 pm

“Rumors claim that Siljander’s newly moderated religious views are seen by some as a betrayal of his staunch support of Israel and the Christian Right. However, there is no substantiation that there is any relationship between these issues and the current legal case. [63]
“Siljander alleges he never engaged in lobbying for this group but passed that on to others. U.S. Attorney John Woods initially suggested this fact, now admittedly an error, was at the heart of charges against Siljander. Records indicate that a different former Congressman, Robert Hanrahan (R-IL) had represented the accused Islamic charity and had been responsible for lobbying Senator Grassley on behalf of the group. Former Congressman Hanrahan, now a professional fundraiser and tobacco lobbyist, has signed an affidavit indicating this but has not been the subject of any investigation or scrutiny, bringing into question the possibility Siljander may have been targeted for prosecution for reasons unrelated to the charges listed in the indictment.
“That US Attorney John Wood’s [64] statement indicating that Siljander may not have been lobbying for the group may contradict the heart of the indictment brought by Wood remains an enigmatic aspect of this case.[65] [37] [66] [67]”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_D._Siljander
You may be very bright, but you are not wise or just to be so quick to throw an old friend under the bus. Clearly you don’t have the temperament to be a judge, so why don’t your stop acting like you are?
Yes, I know that “wikipedia” is not a reliable site for drawing conclusions, but it often contains enough collateral information via links to check an article’s assertions. Where is your sense of decency? In this case, if you have one, it seems to have gone into hibernation.

RidgeRunner on May 23, 2009 at 1:23 am

Funny, I just read “A Deadly Misunderstanding, A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide” by Mark D. Siljander (ISBN 978-0-06-143828-8). It is an excellent book that taught me more about the teachings of Jesus than every sermon I’ve heard combined. Interestind that I find this review of the book:

“Veterans Today–‘Rumors indicate that the Siljander book … has angered … the influential “war lobby” depending on decades of religious conflict.” From article Aug. 1, 2008′”

No Book, really? on November 22, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Yes, I agree – why the “he lied about writing a book” line? Kinda makes me wonder about her – that she feels so knowledgeable about him, yet hasn’t even heard of his book? Yikes – if my ex-boss wrote a book, I’d be one of the first to wanna read it! Odd.

    Alice Laff on July 21, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Unlike A Proud American, I never heard of Mark Siljander till three weeks ago when I ordered his book. Just finished it today, and based only on what I know of Siljander from his book, I am in total agreement with my Proud American friend. I suggest no further posts be left except by those who have read “A Deadly Misunderstanding.” Ignorance is bliss only to the ignorant.

Engel on March 4, 2010 at 10:53 pm

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