Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Unsurprising News

Now, here's a really good reason for why the Patriot Act shouldn't be extended.

The FBI violated the 1st Amendment rights of hundreds of Muslims by using a paid informant to target and monitor several Southern California mosques based solely on religion, according to a federal class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Filed on behalf of three Muslim plaintiffs, the suit accuses the FBI and seven of its employees, including Director Robert Mueller, of paying Irvine resident Craig Monteilh to go undercover, infiltrate mosques and record conversations in order to root out potential terrorists.

Mr. Monteilh, a convicted felon, signed on with the FBI once the government stepped in and had his parole reduced. Later, as evidenced in his own suit against the government, he had second thoughts about his job, which he apparently performed with great vigor.

ACLU lawyer Peter Bibring said members of the Muslim community grew suspicious after Monteilh habitually asked probing and invasive questions about their religious beliefs, political views, loyalties and became “increasing aggressive about denouncing U.S. foreign policy.”

“Ironically, the operation ended when members of the Muslim communities of Southern California reported the informant to the police because of his violent rhetoric and ultimately obtained a restraining order against him,” the lawsuit alleged.

This wasn't a sting operation, it was entrapment, as too many of the FBI's little projects have turned out to be. And that illegal behavior is, at least as far as the FBI is concerned, allowable under the Patriot Act.

Heckuva job, Barack.

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