It used covert informant Craig Monteilh, a convicted felon, aka Farouk al-Aziz, code name Oracle. He was paid to entrap Irvine Islamic Center Muslims.
His violent jihad talk alarmed them. They obtained a restraining order against him. They also reported him to the FBI office using him.
He manufactured a terrorism-related case against a mosque member. It collapsed. The Justice Department had egg on its face. Prosecutors called an innocent man a dire threat. They do it all the time. Usually they get away with it. Innocent victims do hard time in America's gulag.
Non-existent threats are hyped. Media hysteria creates fear. Innocent Muslims are wrongfully targeted. This time the FBI's scheme blew up. No terrorism related charges or convictions followed.
Monteilh went public. He revealed secret FBI tactics. He said his "handlers" trained him to entrap Muslims in mosques, their homes and businesses.
Officials declined comment except to confirm he was a paid informant. Court records and other documents showed he got $177,000 tax free in 15 months.
He secretly recorded conversations. He also collected names, telephone numbers, emails, political and religious views, travel plans, and other information on hundreds of Muslims. He was told to pay special attention to community leaders and those most devout.
The FBI called its scheme Operation Flex. It was a fishing expedition. It targeted Muslims for their faith and religious practices. Its mission was to manufacture enemies out of whole cloth.
Southern California Muslims were incensed. They cited a systemic pattern of pervasive surveillance and covert entrapment. Innocent Muslims were targeted.
In February 2011, the Southern California ACLU and CAIR filed a class action lawsuit . The FBI was accused of lawlessly infiltrating and surveilling area mosques. Charges also included targeting Muslims for their faith.
First Amendment religious freedoms were violated. So were Fourth Amendment unreasonable searches and Privacy Act provisions.
Enacted in December 1974, it established a Code of Fair Information Practice. It governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personally identifiable information about individuals maintained in federal agency records.
It prohibits disclosure of information without written consent of subject individuals. It gives them a way to access and amend documents about themselves to set the record straight in case of errors.
It offers protections now gone. Bush administration officials began eroding them. War on terror/national security priorities trump constitutional freedoms. They're heading for elimination entirely.
The suit demanded destruction of lawlessly obtained information. Damages were also sought. Victims were denied. Injustice triumphed.
In 2006 and 2007, FBI agents planted informants in Orange County mosques. They spied to collect information and entrap Muslims. Craig Monteilh was specifically named.