Obama OIC envoy designate admits to improper remarks in defending terror suspect

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Washington, Feb.20 (ANI): US President Barack Obama's new envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference, Rashad Hussain has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to aid a terror suspect Sami al-Arian in 2006.

Hussain admitted Friday that he once defended a man who later pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid a terrorist group, an admission that contradicts earlier claims from the White House that the quotes had been mistakenly attributed to Hussain.

Hussain, named by Obama as an envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference, said his comments at the time were "ill conceived or not well formulated."

In 2004, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs quoted Hussain saying at a seminar on Muslim issues that Sami al-Arian was the victim of "politically motivated persecutions" after al-Arian, a university professor, was charged in 2003 with heading U.S. operations of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Al-Arian pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiracy to aid the group-designated by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist group since 1997 -- and was sentenced to more than four years in prison.

The Web version of the 2004 article in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs was later edited to delete all of Hussain's comments.

Editor Delinda Hanley told Fox News last week she believed the change was made in February 2009. (ANI)

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