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Law expert says Monitor Group likely under probe by Dept. of Justice over Libya

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As American warplanes strike Libya, including an attack of leader Muammar Khadafy’s compound, investigators at the United States Department of Justice are likely scrutinizing the actions of the Monitor Group in working for the Libyan dictator said an international law expert.

Monitor Group is an international consulting firm headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts with informal links to Harvard University. One of Monitor’s multi-million dollar accounts was with Libya where the firm worked on economic development, public relations, security recommendations, and operated a “visitor” program.

Despite working for a foreign government, Monitor Group failed to register with the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agent Registration Act. The act is designed to alert Congress and the public about activity by foreign governments in the United States.

Jonathan Levy, an international law expert familiar with FARA requirements, says Monitor Group’s dealings with Lilbya are good candidates for close review by the Justice Department. Levy is senior instructor of diplomacy at Norwich University and maintains an international law practice.

Levy said today: “The Foreign Agent Registration Act, while seemingly plain on its face, has always been selectively enforced by the Department of Justice. There are also legitimate issues as to what constitutes foreign agency.”

Levy concluded, “With Khadafy quickly becoming a pariah again, I would suspect the Department of Justice may be reviewing FARA registrations, or lack thereof, by U.S. firms and individuals who were on the receiving end of Libyan funds.”

The Act requires registration for, “any activity that the person engaging in believes will, or that the person intends to, in any way influence any agency or official of the Government of the United States…with reference to the political or public interests, policies or relations of a foreign country.”

According to Monitor Group summaries made available by a Libyan opposition group, the company lobbied for full diplomatic recognition, arranged for paid hand-picked “visitors” to visit Khadafy and then meet with senior U.S. government officials including Vice President Dick Cheney, and handled a variety of public relations chores including spinning news reports about Libyan torture of Bulgarian nurses doing humanitarian work in Libya.

Monitor has claimed they did not need to comply with FARA requirements because they were only a “consulting group” despite no such exemption in the law.

To review all Monitor Group articles click HERE

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