The Justice Department used questionable tactics to identify and prosecute terrorism suspects, a new human rights report offers, the Washington Post reports.
Human Rights Watch offered a scathing assessment of the FBI and Justice Department, which are accused of injecting fear into some Muslim communities because of the use of surveillance and informants.
The report, which follows a lengthy examination of U.S. terrorism prosecutions, says feds have targeted people with mental and physical disabilities, using tactics that critics decry as entrapment.
“The report clearly shows, in many respects, the American public is being sold a false bill of goods,” said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch. “To be sure, the threat of terrorism is real,” she said. “But in many of the cases we documented, there was no threat until the FBI showed up and helped turn people into terrorists.”
The Justice Department defended its record.
“The Department of Justice has been a steadfast ally of our nation’s civil rights groups for decades,” Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesman, said. “The report itself acknowledges that the legal process used in the cases it highlighted is not only lawful but is also specifically approved by federal judges. . . . We do not and cannot target individuals solely for engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment, which includes free speech and religion.”