News you may have missed #0104

  • Pro-secrecy ex-NSA/CIA director joins declassification board. Michael V. Hayden is not exactly an advocate of declassifying US government records. But he is the latest appointee to the Public Interest Declassification Board, an official body that advises the President on declassification policies, priorities and potential reforms.
  • CIA agent who headed plan to lift sunken Soviet submarine dies. CIA agent Christopher Fitzgerald led a 1974 CIA project to recover a Soviet submarine that had sunk in 17,000 feet of water about 750 miles northwest of Hawaii in 1968. But the recovery team nearly caused a nuclear explosion when the submarine split while being raised, and its body hit the ocean floor.
  • CIA director heads agency recruiting drive of US Muslims. CIA chief Leon Panetta is to meet with Arab-Americans in Michigan, in an effort “to promote diversity within the intelligence agency”. But, as intelNews has noted before, this will not be easy, especially in Michigan.

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More US Muslim groups allege FBI harassment

Less than a month after Californian Muslim groups accused the FBI of planting informants in mosques and Islamic centers, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan said it has asked the US Attorney General to look into complaints of FBI infiltration of Islamic centers. The group, which represents one America’s largest Muslim populations, accuses the Bureau of engaging in a “fishing expedition” by approaching Islamic center worshippers and asking them to report on activities, including donations, taking place in mosques. In its letter to US Attorney General Erik Holder, the group said the FBI appears to be specifically targeting Muslim immigrants “with pending immigration issues”, asking them to work as informers in return for assistance with their immigration petitions. Read more of this post

FBI accused of infiltrating California mosques

Niazi in court

Niazi in court

Several American Muslim groups have said they are considering severing ties with the FBI, which they accuse of planting spies and informants in mosques and Islamic centers throughout California. In a statement issued last Tuesday, the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections accused the Bureau of employing “McCarthy-era tactics”, including sending “agents provocateur” to Muslim communities and blackmailing mosque members into becoming informants. The Task Force’s statement cites the case of Ahmadullah Niazi, a naturalized citizen of Afghan descent and a member of the Islamic Center of Irvine, who was arrested last February by federal agents. According to the statement, Niazi claimed he was arrested after refusing to work as an informant for FBI agents, who threatened to make his life “a living hell” if he failed to cooperate. Read more of this post

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