A man targeted in an FBI counterterrorism raid was an invited guest at the White House complex five months ago.
It has been one week since teams of federal agents executed search warrants on locations in Chicago and Minneapolis looking for evidence of financial support to foreign terrorist groups.
Among the targets of the raids, Hatem Abudayyeh, who manages the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, and who, we have learned, was on a different government list last April: a guest list at the White House.
Abudayyeh, a well-known anti-war and human rights activist, was named in a federal search warrant executed last week on his apartment in Jefferson Park.
Simultaneous raids were carried out in Minneapolis with more than a dozen people targeted. According to one of the federal search warrants and subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury in Chicago later this month, authorities are interested in records of financial transactions involving Hatem Abudayyeh and numerous known terrorist organizations.
A few months ago, they could have just asked him.
According to a White House visitor access record, Abudayyeh attended an April 22nd 10:30 a.m. event described on the White House log as a "large Arab briefing."
The event was an outreach program for Arab American leaders, according to a White House spokesman, who says Abudayyeh was among 80 invited guests.
A little more than five months later, Abudayyeh finds himself under federal scrutiny, although he has not been charged with any crime, and neither have any of the other targets of the grand jury investigation.
One of them, Michael Kelly, was battered during an anti-war protest at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis.
Kelly's home was one of those raided by FBI agents a week ago Friday; the federal records he has posted on a website show that authorities are looking for evidence of payments to Hatem Abudayyeh and several terrorist organizations.
"I think this is a& a& I don't want to use obscenities because it isn't going to be on television. This is garbage," said Kelly.
President Obama himself did not attend that White House gathering in April where Hatem Abudayyeh was an invited guest.
This is not the first time that Obama has had to answer questions about the organization Abudayyeh leads. The AAAN was founded by an Obama friend and fundraiser named Rashid Khalidi, who became a lightning rod during the presidential campaign for his views on Israel.