The FBI spies on mosques

Logo from the ACLU's FBI project

The FBI has been sending agents to mosques in California and filing intelligence reports without any suspicion of criminal activity, records obtained by the ACLU, the Asian Law Caucus and the Bay Guardian show.

The records, obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act, show agents engaged in what the FBI calls its "mosque outreach" program gathering intelligence on the content of sermons, mosque finances and such mundane things as the sale of date fruit.

The agents apparently weren't working undercover -- in fact, in one instance, an FBI agent met with worshippers after a service and "handed out FBI pens."

But the information collected -- none of which has anything to do with any criminal activity or threat of criminal activity -- was filed as "positive intelligence," meaning the data would be maintained in the FBI's intel files. Some of it was marked "secret" and distributed outside the agency.

Among other things, the records show that federal agents collected the names of congregants, the names of religious leaders, and the level of financial support individuals were giving to various mosques.

In one instance, FBI agents used a worshipper's cell phone to run electronic checks on him.

As the ACLU notes:

Categorizing information about religious beliefs, practices, and otherwise innocent activities as “positive intelligence” could have very serious negative consequences for Muslim groups and their congregants. FBI agents accessing this information in intelligence files would assume it was relevant to the FBI’s investigative and intelligence mission, casting a cloud of suspicion over the group or individual mentioned and potentially leading to more intensive scrutiny or investigation. The dissemination of this “positive intelligence” outside the FBI would only increase the likelihood that other law enforcement or intelligence agencies would investigate innocent groups or individuals based solely on their religion.

You can download the ACLU report and the records here (pdf), and an earlier report on "mosque outreach" here. I'll be updating this information as I go through the individual files.


The Feds are doing this in all 50.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

Until the objects of the FBI's warranted attention become identified primarily with thoughts and actions benign keeping them under unobtrusive surveillance makes very good sense and should be part of any such intelligence-gathering model other law enforcement agencies might design.

If Muslim complainants, CA's and NJ’s ACLU and their other supporters, are intent on casting blame, they should consider placing it properly on 9/11, the late, unlamented bin Laden, al Queda, jihadists and jihadism generally, the murderer at Fort Hood, would-be underwear bombers, would-be car-bombers in Manhattan and elsewhere, murder-by-suicide bombers everywhere in the world, prevailing cultural dispositions in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Hamas and other such entities too numerous too mention, who bear full responsibility for giving "Muslims" a bad name.

And in the process destroying a precious and priceless commodity, namely, trust.

Wrongly tarred bearers of that name should become resigned to the likelihood that the tar they share wrongly albeit not illogically with evil-doers similarly named--wolves in sheep's clothing residing in the Muslim fold-- won't go away until, mirabile dictu, one distant morning, daily news reports have no new accounts of Muslim-related depredations to convey, but include reports that another wolf has been identified and reported to authorities by other occupants of the fold.

Until then, protests against being wrongly tarred by that brush will only result in calling additional unfavorable attention to the name they share with those properly tarred, i.e., similarly named, quite evil counterparts who have committed and continue to commit acts too heinous to mention--defense against which requires inter al., close defensive surveillance everywhere, including the U. S. A. (and officials who [a] don’t quibble re jurisdiction--as did agencies concerned with national defense prior to 9/11, to our everlasting sorrow--and [b] don't let the ACLU determine what's the right thing to do in gathering intelligence, which falls within such agencies' purview.

Posted by SpecialKinNJ on Mar. 28, 2012 @ 6:11 am

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