FBI spying on Muslim groups: US rights activists The FBI has spied and compiled information on Muslim community groups under the cover of holding outreach meetings with their representatives, a US rights organization said Thursday. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a report saying the Federal Bureau of Investigation had overstepped its authority and was violating the trust of groups that agreed to meet law enforcement officers. The report was based on government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. “The FBI has been illegally using its community outreach programs to secretly collect and store information about activities… for intelligence purposes,” the ACLU said. According to Michael German, a former FBI agent who works with the ACLU, using such sessions to spy on people only backfired.
“The trust that community outreach efforts aim to create is undermined when the FBI exploits these programs to gather intelligence on the very members of the religious and community organizations agents are meeting with,” he said.
“The FBI should be honest with community organizations about what information is being collected during meetings and purge any improperly collected information.”
The ACLU already has filed a lawsuit in California alleging that the FBI paid an informant to spy on mosques in the state. According to US media reports, the New York Police Department has also engaged in systematic intelligence gathering at city mosques, monitoring sermons and local residents.