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Tag: mosque

Calif. Man Who Says He Spied on Mosques Wants $10 Mil in Damages From FBI

Using informants can create complications. Craig Monteilh has become one of those complications the FBI would rather do without. It will be interesting to see how this gets resolved.

mosqueBy Associated Press
SANTA ANA, Calif — An Orange County man who says he spied on mosques for the FBI has filed a claim alleging the agency did not pay him for his services and allowed him to be sent to prison for actions he took as an informant.

Craig Monteilh, a fitness consultant from Irvine, seeks $10 million in damages from the FBI and would be allowed to file a lawsuit if the agency denies his request.

The claim, dated Saturday, alleges the FBI failed to pay Monteilh $100,000 and provide witness protection as part of an exit strategy from his work as an undercover informant in Southern California mosques.

Monteilh, 46, also accuses the FBI of letting him serve eight months in prison on a grand theft charge he said was related to his work on a case involving the illegal distribution of steroids and human growth hormone.

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Informant Says FBI in Calif. Monitored Mosque Members at Gyms

istock_000007698493xsmallThese latest revelations can only create more tension between the FBI and the American Islamic communities. The FBI needs to make sure it lose all the ties it has made in Islamic communities since Sept. 11, 2001.

By Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times

As part of their anti-terrorism efforts, FBI agents monitored popular gyms throughout Orange County to gather intelligence on members of several local mosques, according to a man who claims to have been a key informant in the operation.

Sal Hernandez, director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, declined comment on the matter Monday. Another law enforcement source, however, confirmed that the surveillance occurred, but emphasized that it was a narrowly focused operation targeting people whom the informant had already implicated in alleged crimes.

The informant is Craig Monteilh, who said he posed as a Muslim convert at the request of the FBI to gather intelligence that might aid anti-terrorism investigators.

Monteilh, a muscular man with a background as a personal trainer, said he was instructed to lure mosque members to work out with him at local gyms. FBI agents, he said, later would obtain security camera footage from the gyms and ask him to identify the people on the tapes and to provide additional information about them. He said he was told that the agents then conducted background checks on the men, looking for anything that could be used to pressure them to become informants.

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FBI Informant Infiltrated California Mosques

News of this informant can only make the Islamic community more weary about the FBI. The FBI has made extra efforts to nurture a relationship with the Islamic community, but some efforts have fallen short.

Teresa Watanabe and Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times

As federal authorities press their case against a Tustin man accused of lying about ties to Al-Qaeda, they disclosed this week that some evidence came from an informant who infiltrated Orange County mosques and allegedly recorded the defendant discussing jihad, weapons and plans to blow up abandoned buildings.

On Wednesday, a man who claims to be that informant stepped forward, filing court documents saying that he had served as a confidential informant for the FBI from July 2006 to October 2007 to identify and thwart terrorist operations in the Orange County Islamic community.

The claim by Craig Monteilh, a 46-year-old Irvine resident, that he had been sent by the FBI to infiltrate several Orange County mosques could affect the government’s case against Ahmadullah Sais Niazi.

His allegations highlight recurring issues about the use of informants by law enforcement agencies and have fanned long-held fears by some Muslim leaders about religious profiling.

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