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California Lawsuit Alleges FBI Violation of Muslim Rights

The usual suspects — CAIR and the ACLU — are suing the Bureau for infiltrating mosques in Orange County.

by
Elise Cooper

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March 26, 2011 - 12:00 am
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The new strategy of those supporting radical Muslim elements is to put “politically correct” pressure on the FBI while at the same time distracting it with frivolous lawsuits. A recent lawsuit in Los Angeles is a perfect example of how the FBI’s reputation is being distorted, say former agents interviewed by PJ Media.

A lawsuit filed this year by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California and the Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) alleges that former FBI informant Craig Monteilh violated Muslims’ freedom of religion. Monteilh infiltrated Orange County mosques from 2006 to 2007, recording conversations and meetings. The plaintiffs claim that “the FBI did not gather the information based on suspicion of criminal activity, instead it gathered the information simply because the targets were Muslim.”

All those interviewed by PJM vehemently disagree with this claim. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller has emphasized that the Bureau is not in the business of targeting groups or individuals based on their religion. To understand this position, Craig Dotlo, a former FBI agent, explained that:

[A]nytime an agent directs an informant or cooperating witnesses to penetrate a mosque or other religious institution, the agent is required to articulate there is reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is occurring. The reason the FBI would go into a mosque is to investigate a possible crime, not because of someone’s religion.

Other former agents insist that there must be a “predication” that a crime has been or will be committed.

This has been the FBI’s practice for decades, as they infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, organized crime, the drug cartels, or any group that poses a threat to Americans. Since the 1970s, new rules have been imposed. Agents have to fill out a lengthy questionnaire and obtain the approvals of a supervisor, an assistant special agent in charge, as well as a Department of Justice attorney. The use of an informant must be approved by a high level authority after reviewing the informant’s background.

What should American Muslims suggest the FBI do, considering Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano and the director of the National Counterterrorism Center have stated that the new type of threat is a self-radicalized, homegrown lone wolf? This lawsuit by CAIR and the ACLU appears to be a fishing expedition to find out what information the FBI has, to identify who the FBI sees as targets of the investigation, and to make the FBI more risk-averse.

Because some of the evidence is classified, the FBI is not able to go public and present the facts and its side of the story. The expectation is that the FBI, as a domestic intelligence service, should be able to predict threats before they take place. This sentiment is echoed by Congressman Peter King (R-NY), who recently stated that “I don’t believe there is sufficient cooperation  by American Muslims with law enforcement.”

The lawsuit goes on to allege that “this dragnet investigation did not result in even a single conviction related to counterterrorism.” This statement is only true on its face value because evidence was gathered that can possibly be used in a future investigations. For example,  Ahmadullah Niazi, a member of the Irvine mosque who is the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard, was arrested on charges he lied about ties to terrorist groups on citizenship and passport papers.

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