US Congresswoman IIhan Omar refutes claims she is on Qatar's payroll
WASHINGTON, USA - Somali-born US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has refuted claims that she was recruited by the Qatar government to pass sensitive information to Iran, Jerusalem Post reveals, in what could trigger yet another epic battle in America's politics which are sensitive when it comes to foreign relations.
A Florida court was told that the firebrand Minnesota 5th District has been trading information with the exchange of money with Qatar. Ms. Omar, who retained her seat for the third term, has since dismissed the allegations as "hot air".
The claims came during testimony by Kuwaiti-born Canadian businessman Alan Bender, who was giving evidence in the trial of Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani. The Qatari emir's brother stands accused of ordering his American bodyguard to murder two people, and of holding an American citizen hostage. His deposition, obtained by Al Arabiya English, was authenticated by the attorney for the plaintiffs, according to the publication.
Bender, who spoke from Toronto via video link, told the Florida Court he met with Qatar’s Secretary to the Emir for Security Affairs Mohammad bin Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Masnad and two other senior Qatari officials, Jerusalem Post reports.
According to his sworn deposition, the three officials told him: “If it wasn't for our cash, Ilhan Omar would be just another black Somali refugee in America collecting welfare and serving tables on weekends."
The claimant said officials asked him to bring on board American politicians and journalists as Qatari assets, and that when he objected, was told that several prominent figures were already on the payroll. Omar was described as the "jewel in the crown," he said.
Qatar “recruited Ilhan Omar from even way before she thought about becoming a government official… They groomed her and arranged the foundation, the grounds, for her to get into politics way before she even showed interest. They convinced her,” he added.
"Since the day she was elected, Saudi Arabian trolls and mouthpieces have targeted Omar with misinformation and conspiracy theories," a spokesperson for the Congresswoman wrote in a statement to The Jerusalem Post.
"The latest, outlandishly absurd story from a Saudi-funded media outlet is of course false and only the latest in that trend," the statement said. "The only people Rep. Omar represents in Washington are the people of Minnesota’s 5th District. She will continue to speak out against human rights violations around the world – whether it is war crimes in Yemen or the caging of children at our border – regardless of who commits them."
Bender's testimony has been questioned and reports, including this one by the Post, have led to speculation, especially on Twitter. Speaking to the Post, Bender said: "I confirm that the information published in The Jerusalem Post report about Ilhan Omar and Qatar is accurate 100%."
Omar was said to also have passed information to Qatar which was subsequently handed along to Iran, and was actively involved in recruiting other American politicians to likewise work for the west Asian Islamic country, Bender testified.
“The best thing money can buy is American officials, because they are the cheapest of the cheapest-costing officials in the world,” the Qatari officials were said to have told him.
Ms. Omar is not a stranger to controversy given her persistent questioning of Republicans' mentality on matters of human rights and foreign relations. In fact, GOP candidate for speaker Kevin McCarthy has threatened to kick her out of Foreign Relations Committee should he become speaker in January.