What Does “Unindicted Co-Conspirator” Even Mean?

During the “radical Islam” hearing on Thursday, one sentence that was repeated over and over throughout the testimony by Rep. Peter King and his witnesses was that the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was “an unindicted co-conspiritor” in financing terrorism via a group called the Holy Land Foundation.  The phrase “unindicted co-conspirator” sounds pretty ominous, but what does that really mean?

Via the Washington Post Fact Checker:

These claims lack context. CAIR is an aggressive Muslim civil liberties organization, modeled on the Anti Defamation League, that has made it a target for criticism. It was indeed named as an “unindicted co-conspirator or joint venturer” in the Holy Land Foundation case–an Islamic charity that in 2008 was convicted of funding Islamic militant groups. But CAIR was not alone in that designation; nearly 250 other organizations and individuals were also named.

The federal government said the organizations were included on the list in order to produce evidence at the trial, but the district court and a federal appeals court later ruled that it had been a mistake to make the list public.

As the appeals court summed up last year, “The court held that the Government did not argue or establish any legitimate government interest that warranted publicly identifying [one of the organizations] and 245 other individuals and entities as unindicted co-conspirators or joint venturers, and that the Government had less injurious means than those employed, such as anonymously designating the unindicted co-conspirators as ‘other persons,’ asking the court to file the document under seal, or disclosing the information to the defendants pursuant to a protective order.”

However, federal Judge Jorge A. Solis denied CAIR’s request that its name be publicly striken from the list. He said that the government “has produced ample evidence” to establish the association of CAIR and other organizations with entities such as the Holy Land Foundation, the Islamic Association for Palestine and with the Hamas militant group. Solis acknowledged CAIR’s claim that evidence produced by the government “largely predates” the official designation of these groups as terror organizations but he said the “evidence is nonetheless sufficient to show the association of these entities with HLF, IAP, and Hamas.”

The appeals court, in a ruling involving another Muslim organization on the list, criticized Solis for this statement, saying it “went beyond what was relevant to any hypothetical evidentiary issue and may have obfuscated the underlying Fifth Amendment issue.”

In other words, CAIR had some sort of relationship with the Holy Land Foundation that occurred before the Holy Land Foundation was accused of financing terrorist groups, as did many, many other entities.  All of these entities names were made public despite the fact that it was not needed in order to bring a case against the Holy Land Foundation, due to the personal decision of the judge ruling on the case that somehow these groups needed to be exposed for having a relationship even though it had no bearing on the case.

[A]s Baca pointedly noted, CAIR itself has never been charged with criminal activity. “We don’t play around with criminals in my world,” he told Cravaack. “If CAIR is an organization that’s a, quote, ‘criminal organization,’ prosecute them. Hold them accountable and bring them to trial.”

The repeated references to CAIR being an “unindicted co-conspirator” is one of those true facts that ultimately gives a false impression.


King and his supporters used “unidicted co-conspirator” to create an impression of a group that needs to be feared as terrorists despite there being no evidence to support that accusation.

Sounds a bit like the “radical Islam” hearing itself.


photo from wikimedia commons


Allah S.
Allah S.6 years ago


Bukhari:V4B52N50 "The Prophet said, ‘A single endeavor of fighting in Allah's Cause is better than the world and whatever is in it.'"
Qur'an 9:88 "The Messenger and those who believe with him, strive hard and fight with their wealth and lives in Allah's Cause."
Qur'an 9:5 "Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, harass them, lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war."
Qur'an 9:112 "The Believers fight in Allah's Cause, they slay and are slain, kill and are killed."
Qur'an 9:29 "Fight those who do not believe until they all surrender, paying the protective tax in submission."
Ishaq:325 "Muslims, fight in Allah's Cause. Stand firm and you will prosper. Help the Prophet, obey him, give him your allegiance, and your religion will be victorious."
Qur'an 8:39 "Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah."
Qur'an 8:39 "So fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief [non-Muslims]) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone (in the whole world)."
Ishaq:324 "He said, ‘Fight them so that there is no more rebellion, and religion, all of it, is for Allah only. Allah must have no rivals.'"
Qur'an 9:14 "Fight them and Allah will punish them by your hands, lay them low, and cover them with shame. He will help you over them."
Ishaq:300 "I am fighting in Allah's service. This is piety and a good deed. In Allah's war I do not fear as others sho

Walter G.
Walter G6 years ago

It means "Able to get up the bribe money in time."

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley6 years ago

I see McCarthyism is making a comeback under King's and his cronies.

Michael I.
Michael I.6 years ago

To be a conspirator is, in law, to take part with another or others in the planning of, or carrying out of, an offence. If, therefore, this or that person or organisation (like CAIR) is named as conspirator, it's the duty of the person making that charge to bring his evidence before a court, for the authorities to examine it. If that evidence is found to be accurate, then he has done his country a service. If it is not, then it is for him to withdraw the accusation and tender an apology to the falsely accused. A false accusation, in earlier law, was known as calumny. If there is evidence, present it. If there isn't, what's the purpose of claiming there's a risk?

Michael I.
Michael I.6 years ago

Comments like Steve A's make me despair. For a start, learn to spell Christian. A 'good' Christian would bomb a mosque? What do the Commandments say about killing? How many attacks have Muslims launched on US & Europe, compared to attacks on Iraq etc? Look in the mirror. And as for McCarthy, he was a notorious drunk. You want to run your country, do you? And his election was highly dubious. He prevented Communism (you think) from telling you what to think - by telling you instead what he wanted you to think, or else. The 'purification' of even diplomatic libraries, to keep genuine knowledge away from people - another speciality of his. Guilt by association, including of entirely innocent people. What do you think is happening to Assange now? Someone is claiming she was raped in her sleep. That can't happen, trust me. No, if you're sad enough to imagine McCarthy was anything but a blight on your civilisation, you should take some time to study the facts. Try The Age of Anxiety (by Haynes), or documentary film of his badgering hearings. Guess who helped: Tricky Dick Nixon, famous for one or two other things happening at a place called Watergate. If you've anything to say in favour of the IRA - and I'm Irish - investigate Omagh, just a few years ago. Innocent people directed to, not from, a bomb. Does your heart good, doesn't it?

Blaise G.
Blaise G6 years ago

To the 15% of dorks who voted that CAIR supports terrorism...please show us proof...just voting that it does support terrorism is only an opinion. I didn't vote because I personally have no idea if they do or not. If I purchase candles over the internet that were hand made by a struggling Iraqi woman who just so happens to be a Muslim as well, does that mean that I am supporting (in some fashion) a terrorist organization? Because even though the @$$hole George W. Bush didn't call all Iraqi's terrorists, he still bombed and murdered at least 500,000 innocent men, women and children as Obama himself continues to do in Afghanistan and Pakistan. After one hundred and fifty years of oppression by Britain and then the U.S. on the populations of desert dwellers of the Middle East, is it any wonder that you have extremely angry people who just want us to get the @#$% out of the countries and to STAY out forever. If you survived a carpet bombing or so-called "Smart Bomb" exploding in the middle of your wedding party and everyone else was dead, what would you do? How would you feel? Would you just say: "Oh well, that silly, violent U.S. Military. I forgive you for murdering my family and relatives and my friends." $#it, I'd do everything in my power to get revenge. The pain of the Arab and Muslim peoples in the Middle East and Asia must be unbearable knowing full well that it is the absolute greed of a foreign occupying power that knows NOTHING of diplomacy, fairness or honesty.

Kay L.
KayL NOFORWARDS6 years ago

"An unindicted co-conspiritor" is nothing but deliberately inflammatory language intended to get people emotionally so upset and riled up that 1) they don't take time to think the issue through logically and 2) intimate guilt where there is none, since "unindicted" means that there has never been enough evidence for charges to be made....

Eric H.
Eric H6 years ago

This sounds very like McCarthy's Guilt by Close Association. If they are conspirators, why not indict them? And if there is no proof that they are co-conspirators, why leak the list?
These ridiculous claims that the list somehow leaked out to the public that was not supposed to know are wearing very thin. If a list is leaked, then it was supposed to be leaked.
All of this sounds nothing like a justice commission, but rather like a propaganda campaign to justify the continuation of the US foreign policy instead of a fundamental rethink on how we operate internationally.

Doug D.
Doug D6 years ago

There are more Christian terrorists in this country than Muslim terrorists. Why aren't there any hearings on those groups?

heather g.
heather g6 years ago

You will find that when somebody is pointing a finger at a so-called wrong-doer - three of his fingers are pointing towards himself......