FBI in hot seat over controversial use of informants

Craig Monteilh

Craig Monteilh

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, America’s primary domestic counterintelligence agency, is facing a storm of criticism over allegedly using informants to spy on Muslim and ultra right-wing groups. The most controversial of the two cases is arguably that of New Jersey talk radio host and blogger Harold “Hal” Turner, who has been described as a vocal supporter of white supremacist groups. Turner was charged last June for arguing on his blog that three Chicago federal appeals court judges “deserve to be killed”, and for posting photographs of the judges along with their work addresses and an area map of the Chicago federal courthouse. If convicted, Turner faces a $250,000 restitution fine and up to 10 years in prison. What is interesting, however, is that Turner told a judge that he was a paid FBI informant, code-named “Valhalla”, and was trained by the Bureau to infiltrate and monitor white supremacist groups. The FBI denied any connection to Turner, but The Bergen Record newspaper in New Jersey gained access to court records and verified the truth in Turner’s claims. The FBI has also denied having a connection with another man, Craig Monteilh, who says he was an undercover Bureau informant and is suing the FBI demanding that sealed court records identifying him as a spy be made public. Monteilh says he was trained by the Bureau to spy on the Islamic community in southern California. Islamic faith groups in California have been accusing the FBI for quite some time of systematically trying to infiltrate their communities. But Monteilh’s case marks the first time such allegations are leveled in court. Monteilh claims “he spied on about a dozen area mosques from July 2006 until October 2007 at the behest of the FBI”. The American Civil Liberties Union has now joined his legal effort to unseal his court records. Whatever the outcome of the Turner and Monteilh cases, the FBI is certain to face increased criticism over its handling and mishandling of informants.

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

2 Responses to FBI in hot seat over controversial use of informants

  1. Chas Ward says:

    There is no reason why the FBI should be in the hot seat about the use of informants, paid or otherwise. Counterterrorism, counterintelligence and counterespionage all depend on utilizing every form of intelligence gathering. It is inevitable that occasionally a Joe goes rogue but the baby must not be thrown out with the bath water.

  2. Randy says:

    It is interesting that you describe a man who publicly said three US federal appeals court judges “deserve to be killed” and posted maps to their workplaces as “an occasional Joe who goes rogue.” Surely there should be limits to the practice of hiring informants?

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