FBI Translator Is Arrested ‘For Altering Transcripts of Calls He Made to Terrorism Suspect’
A former FBI linguistics expert has been arrested accused of obstructing a federal investigation after a terror suspect allegedly left a voicemail on his cell phone, it has been revealed.
Federal authorities charged the former translator with making false statements after they say he altered transcripts of calls in which his own voice was caught on intercepts.
Abdirizak Wehelie, aka Haji Raghe, was arrested Saturday night at an airport after returning to the U.S. on an international fight, according to Josh Stueve, a spokesman for the US attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia.
The 66-year-old, who lives with his family in St. Burk, Virginia, is a former contract translator for the federal agency.
His son, Yusuf Wehelie, is already serving 10 years in prison for transporting weapons in a case where he is said to have spoken with an undercover witness about his desire to shoot up a military recruitment center on behalf of the Islamic State group.
An indictment unsealed Monday states that Wehelie worked as a contractor for the FBI from 2012 to 2015.
He also reportedly told FBI agents that he had never actually had a phone conversation with the person who called him and that he didn’t know the person very well.
But a subsequent FBI investigation is said to have revealed that the two had nearly 180 phone contacts from 2010 to 2017.
The FBI employed Wehelie as a contractor even though his adult children had been placed on the no-fly list and denied re-entry to the U.S. for several weeks in 2010.
A judge ordered Wehelie to be freed on bail following his initial appearance on Monday in a federal court in Alexandria.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison. Prosecutors did not object to his release on $20,000 unsecured bail.