Meet Vallmoe Shqaire a convicted terrorist who became a US citizen

Vallmoe Shqaire was a one-time Islamic jihadist who spent years in an Israeli prison for attempting to bomb a bus was granted US citizenship and allowed to remain in the country for nearly a decade as federal authorities investigated his background.

According to CNN, the case of convicted terrorist-turned-US-citizen Vallmoe Shqaire raises questions not only about how Shqaire slipped past the enhanced vetting process implemented after 9/11 but also about why US law enforcement did not act more swiftly once his deception was discovered.

Federal authorities have been aware since at least 2010 that Shqaire was arrested on a bombing-related charge in Israel and served time in prison. They’ve had fingerprint evidence conclusively linking him to the terrorist act, committed under the name Mahmad hadr Mahmad Shakir, since early 2016, according to federal court records.

“Somebody dropped the ball,” said Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

Shqaire, 51, carried out the attack in Israel in 1988 “acting on the direction” of a cell of the Palestine Liberation Organization, at the time a terrorist group in the eyes of the US government, according to records filed in US District Court in Los Angeles.

Despite his conviction, which should have barred him from even entering the United States, much less becoming an American citizen, Shqaire’s application was approved and he took the oath of allegiance on November 6, 2008, in the waning days of the second George W. Bush administration, the records state.

He was charged in September with illegally obtaining his American citizenship by intentionally withholding his criminal record and past associations.

“By concealing his violent, terrorist conduct, defendant circumvented the procedures our immigration system depends upon,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Shqaire is currently free on bond and living in the Los Angeles area as he awaits his sentencing, scheduled for Friday.


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