What should be done with a man who infiltrated the terrorist group Hamas, spied for Israeli intelligence and broke up terror attacks, saving countless Israeli, as well as Palestinian, lives? Most people would say he should be honored. Not the U.S. government, it's trying to deport him.
Mosab Hassan Yousef was more than a spy. He is the son of a founding leader of Hamas, which made him among the highest prizes for Israeli intelligence. Yousef and his Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) handler, Gonen Ben Itzhak, were in Washington last week, meeting with whoever would listen to them. Yousef told me -- and Itzhak confirmed -- that he never killed anyone and, in fact, prevented many from being killed, while providing useful information that thwarted numerous terror attacks.
In San Diego tomorrow (Wednesday) before an immigration judge, the government will charge that because of Yousef's "terrorist associations," he should be deported. Yousef tells me, "I acted like a terrorist in order to fool terrorists," but again emphasizes he never committed a terrorist act.
His is a remarkable story which he tells in a book "Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices." Yousef is a man without a country. He was admitted to the United States in 2007 for medical treatment. His passport has expired. The government is holding his travel documents. If he is deported, he will be a prime target for those who consider him an infidel and traitor.
President Obama's "Muslim adviser," Dalia Mogahed, has endorsed a movement started by Turkey's Fethullah Gulen, which seeks to restore the Ottoman Empire and establish a universal caliphate; but Yousef, a Christian convert, faces expulsion from America. The administration has it backward.
In an interview, I asked Yousef what evidence the government intends to use against him. He says, "In my book, I give in great detail my affiliation with Hamas. I give an example that I gave five Hamas terrorists a safe house. This is right, but what they are missing from the picture is that I did this as part of Israeli intelligence." By providing them a safe house, Yousef helped Israeli intelligence identify and in many cases arrest terrorists, stopping attacks.
Yousef says he and Itzhak became such close friends that Itzhak, by testifying in his favor at the deportation hearing, will violate the wishes of Israeli intelligence, which worries about exposure.