Arizona businessman Harry Ellen testified he permitted the FBI to bug his home, car and office, allowed his Muslim foundation's activities in the Gaza Strip to be monitored by agents, arranged a peace meeting between major Palestinian activists and gained personal access to Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat during more than four years of cooperation with the FBI.
Ellen's FBI handler in the late 1990s was Kenneth Williams, an agent who later became famous for writing a pre-September 11 memo to FBI headquarters warning there were Arab pilots training at U.S. flight schools. The warning went unheeded. Ellen, a Muslim convert, testified he was taking a trip to the Gaza Strip to bring doctors to the region in summer 1998 when Williams asked him to provide money to a Hamas figure.
Williams wanted "the transfer of American funds to some of the terrorist groups for violent purposes," Ellen testified to the immigration court in a closed June 2001 session.
At the same time, Clinton and his negotiators were trying to reinvigorate stalled Mideast peace talks, an effort that culminated in the Wye Accords in October 1998. Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, said in an interview that the White House wasn't informed of the FBI activities. "We were not aware of any such operation," Berger said.
Ellen testified the operation ended abruptly in early 1999 when he and Williams had a series of disagreements over the operation, disputes that began when Ellen angered the FBI by having an affair with a Chinese woman suspected of espionage. FBI officials said they tried to get Ellen to end the relationship and his work was terminated for failing to follow rules.