Written by John D. Guandolo
Fifteen years ago today, April 21st, Hany Aziz Iskandar died of a heart attack. For most of America, Hany’s death went by without notice. To those of us working in the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division at the time, it was a significant blow because Hany knew and understood the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic Movement better than anyone else.
Hany was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1958. He attended Leonardo da Vinci College in Cairo, and spent the last year at Leonardo da Vinci in Rome. He graduated in 1981 with a BA in Architecture. After working a couple years in Cairo for a tour company, he went to Saudi Arabia in 1983 to work at an architecture firm. He remained in Saudi for two years and returned to Cairo until 1987.
Hany was a nationally ranked swimmer (butterfly) and played semi-professional soccer. He spoke French, Italian, Arabic and English.
Hany came to the United States in 1987 as a brash and cocky thirty year old. With his wife Judy, whom he married in 1985, and his daughter Noel, born in 1986, Hany began a life in America living in Chicago for six months before relocating to Virginia.
Beginning in 1991, Hany worked for the U.S. government in a variety of positions and different agencies. Because of his talents, language capabilities, and savvy, Hany quickly became involved in extremely sensitive operations overseas, as well as domestically.
Sadly, Hany was divorced from Judy, and, he would tell you, it was because he was “very cocky and arrogant” and put lots of other things before his family. Thankfully, Hany later came to see his shortcomings and changed his life in drastic ways, which I will address in a moment.
After 9/11, Hany began working with the FBI on significant cases affecting the security of our Homeland, to include investigations originating overseas.
He was officially hired as an “Arab linguist,” however, his operational experience and deep knowledge of the subjects of FBI investigations made him a valuable asset.
After September 11, 2001, I began work on a new squad at the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and that is where I met Hany. As I got to know him and came to know his background, I realized he was much more than a “linguist.”
Hany’s deep knowledge of individual Muslim Brotherhood leaders, their background, and their modus operandi was astonishing. As I came to the understanding, through several of our investigations, that all of the prominent Islamic organizations in America are a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) network, he helped connect data points for me about key MB leaders and their connections to others. Hany was a walking encyclopedia when it came to the Muslim Brotherhood.
I can remember that day in the Washington Field Office as I looked over a link chart showing the connections between well-known U.S.-based Islamic organizations and open FBI cases involving Hamas and Al Qaeda.
When the light bulb went off in my head, I turned to Hany and he simply confirmed everything I was coming to understand.
Hany played an important role in educating FBI case agents, analysts and the broader U.S. government about the dangers of the Muslim Brotherhood networks here. Sadly, many failed to heed the warnings or conduct due diligence to gain the understanding necessary to take prudent action.
Hany also participated in significant operations domestically and overseas to include those involving Abdurahman Alamoudi, Abu Ali, Ismail Elbarasse, and others.
Hany was well known in the Counterterrorism Division at the FBI Washington Field Office and the Bureau in general as the go-to guy for these matters.
Hany was with me in the Alexandria Jail (VA) as we interviewed Al Qaeda financier and senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdurahman Alamoudi the day before his sentencing in federal court. That is a story worth sharing at another time.
By the time I met Hany, his life had radically been changed by a deep conversion to Christianity from agnosticism. Hany returned to the Coptic Christian Church and was well-known as a leader in that very tight knit community in Northern Virginia.
To me, Hany was a good friend and a highly reliable colleague who understood the depth to which the Muslim Brotherhood penetrated American society and government.
He was a sounding board for me for just about everything.
We spent hours discussing faith, the war against the jihadis, our families, and life in general. We also spent a lot of time fighting FBI headquarters and other FBI Field Offices in an attempt to get them to understand the threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Movement in America.
Hany shared dinners with my family in our home and was big part of my life. Like the recent loss of my good friend Phil Haney, Hany’s death was an incredible loss – a loss that is still felt.
Hany suffered a massive heart attack on April 21, 2005 and died. At his funeral, he was hailed as a faithful member of Saint Mark Coptic Church in Fairfax, Virginia, and a national asset whose knowledge, operational skills, good humor, work ethic and faith were well-known among his colleagues. Without much fanfare, this nation lost a great treasure who continues to serve as a role model and inspiration to all of those who knew him.
More than that, Hany Aziz Iskandar was an American hero who fought tirelessly and joyfully to bring the reality of the threat of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood to as many people in positions of authority as he could.
In the fall of 2007, Hany was posthumously awarded the “Defender of the Homeland” Award by U.S. Senators Jon Kyl and Joseph Lieberman. It was an appropriate recognition of Hany’s life of service.
Today, on the anniversary of his death, I ask all of you reading this to lift up prayers for the family and friends Hany left behind, and for our nation. Pray that today our leaders will open their hearts and minds to hear the truth and do their duty to address the growing and massive threats from the Islamic and communist Movements.
If you are so inclined, raise a glass to a great man, warrior and friend – Hany Aziz Iskandar.