Vice President Joe Biden is set to welcome to the White House a man who is currently under investigation for trafficking human organs on behalf of a “mafia-like” crime ring.
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is schedule to meet with Biden this Thursday at the White House, according to the vice president’s public schedule.
Thaci is accused by the Council of Europe of being one of the central players in a crime syndicate that smuggled guns, drugs, and human organs in run-up to the 1998 Kosovo war.
The Guardian newspaper outlined the case against Thaci in a 2010 article:
Hashim Thaçi is identified as the boss of a network that began operating criminal rackets in the runup to the 1998-99 Kosovo war, and has held powerful sway over the country's government since.
The report of the two-year inquiry, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, has been obtained by the Guardian. It names Thaçi as having over the last decade exerted "violent control" over the heroin trade. Figures from Thaçi's inner circle are also accused of taking captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.
“This is striking—even for Joe Biden,” said one GOP operative. “Talk about being out of touch. And can you imagine if the president does a drop-in on the meeting?”
The European Court of Human Rights named Thaci as the head of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a “mafia-like” militant groups that is said to have trafficked in human organs and committed routine assassinations and beatings.
Biden—who has not shied away from public meetings with Thaci—met with the leader in 2010 “as part of the Administration’s frequent consultations with our European partners on our shared agenda,” according to a White House press release.