Tarek has been under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to his knowledge, since approximately 2005. FBI agents interviewed him multiple times during that period, beginning in October 2005 [see CHRONOLOGY]. The FBI has monitored a large amount of Internet-based text conversations that involve Tarek. The instant messages reveal that Tarek was aware of the monitoring activities, or at least believed that they were occurring. Despite this awareness, he did not cease speaking online. He discussed the monitoring activities with his friends and correspondents, and he was repeatedly clear as to why he would not stop his online activities: he was breaking no laws.
In April 2008, Tarek was nearing graduation from college and had obtained a prestigious position as a clinical pharmacist in Saudi Arabia at the King Fahd Medical City [the largest hospital in the Middle East]. At that time, the FBI approached him and offered an ultimatum: he would be charged with supporting terrorists and making false statements to a federal officer–unless he worked as an FBI informant. Tarek was specifically told that if he declined to do so, he would have to handle the matter “the hard way” in court. He refused this ultimatum and despite expecting an arrest for many months, he took no steps to flee. Instead, he immediately sought counsel in order to defend himself against any possible charges and offered to turn himself in [see LETTER]. This was not the first time Tarek sought legal counsel; In 2006, Tarek became aware that the government was investigating him, and instead of fleeing, Tarek spoke with a Boston attorney]. The government refused his offer of surrender, leaving him free for the next seven months.
Many months later, in November 2008, with no further contact by the FBI, Tarek decided to continue with his plans to work at the King Fahd Medical City in Saudi Arabia. As he was boarding a plane with his parents, Tarek was arrested by FBI agents, and he was charged with violating the federal False Statements Act, for statements he allegedly made two years earlier. He was held in custody until December 19, 2008, when he was released. At that time United States Magistrate Judge Leo T. Sorokin noted that the defendant was not a risk of flight and concluded:
He appreciated his exposure to criminal prosecution at least as early as February 2007, yet he remained in the United States. In April, 2008, when confronted by FBI agents, he sought counsel and did not flee. Although he subsequently made preparations to leave the United States, he did not do so in secret.
Judge Sorokin released Tarek with the following conditions:
- Tarek’s parents posted their home in Sudbury, his father’s retirement account, and $100,000.
- Tarek surrendered his United States passport and all copies of his Egyptian identity documentation.
- Tarek was not allowed to apply for, request, or receive a United States passport, an Egyptian birth certificate, an Egyptian passport or travel documents from any country.
- Tarek resided in his parents’ home and was ordered to comply with an 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. curfew, to be enforced by whatever means selected by Pretrial Services.
- Tarek’s travel was restricted to the District of Massachusetts.
- Tarek’s parents agreed not to assist Tarek in any way to leave Massachusetts at any time for any purpose.
- Tarek’s parents served as Third Party Custodians.
- Tarek was ordered not to contact any witness, victim, informant or officer involved in his case or any potential witness.
- The standard and statutory conditions of release were applied.