Jesse Morton used to go by the name Younus Abdullah Muhammad back when he served as an important recruiter for Al Qaeda. Now that he’s “reformed” though, he’s just “Jesse.” Which seems to be why George Washington University feels he’d be a good hire for their Center for Cyber & Homeland Security. The Deputy Director of the Program on Extremism says that he’s happy to have Morton on board: “I trust him. We did our due diligence.”
It’s true, to a point, they did speak with folks at the FBI as well as others in the security community, but it was just four short years ago that Morton was sentenced to 11 ½ years in prison for his role in soliciting people to commit murder for Islam.
In fact, just four years ago, federal prosecutors called Morton an “inspiration for terrorists across the world.” Moreover they argued, “Morton not only endangered the lives of innocent people but he also contributed to the destruction of the very freedoms on which our society is based.” Prosecutors were terrified about what Morton could accomplish if Morton was not locked away for a long, long time. “We may never know all of those who were inspired to engage in terrorism because of Revolution Muslim, but the string of recent terrorism cases with ties to Morton’s organization demonstrates the threat it posed to our national security.”
A federal judge agreed with prosecutors, which led him to hand down a harsh 12 year penalty… so how in the world is he free and gainfully employed less than 4 years later?
The exact details of Morton’s release remain murky. A person familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss court matters that largely remain secret, said prosecutors sought to reduce his sentence because they believed he had been reformed and he had cooperated fully with investigators.
MacBride, who stepped down as U.S. attorney in late 2013 for a job in the private sector, said in a statement that he wasn’t aware that the government had pushed for Morton’s early release.
“I presume that they only did it because he offered substantial assistance to the FBI in other investigations,” MacBride said. He said that although reductions in such cases were uncommon, they had happened in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia in 2006 for three defendants who attended terrorist training camps, then helped in other cases.
Is this common? Do hardened terrorist recruiters “reform” and completely change their ways in less than four years? Even if he has reformed do we give the same benefit of the doubt to other felons who sit awaiting parole hearings? The man was out of prison, free, and on the job hunt less than four years after being sentenced to prison by a judge. This whole deal stinks, and screams of justice being miscarried.
You can see the story of Jesse Morton’s change of heart as reported on by PBS.