When we called attention to a flier published by the Council on American Islamic Relations' (CAIR) San Francisco chapter in January, urging people to "Build a Wall of Resistance" to the FBI, officials insisted it wasn't what it looked like.
CAIR supports law enforcement, they said, and the poster was created more than 30 years ago. Since then, however, the organization has filed two lawsuits against the FBI. Now, the same chapter that published the anti-FBI flier has joined several other groups in calling on the San Francisco and Oakland Police Departments to stop collaborating with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) immediately.
The Department of Justice created the JTTF after 9/11 in order to better coordinate information sharing between federal, state and local law enforcement.
CAIR and the other groups argued Tuesday that Bay Area law enforcement assigned to the JTTF would be forced to violate the California Constitution, which prohibits intelligence gathering without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Additionally, the groups condemned the police departments for not releasing "their now-secret agreements with the FBI," which they said would "provide assurances that their officers are adhering to the standards of state and local law."
"Community trust is the most important tool of law enforcement," said CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo. "By infiltrating organizations and interviewing people who they do not suspect of any wrongdoing, the FBI is obfuscating their ability to counter domestic crime. We do not want our local law enforcement in the same predicament."
During talk surrounding the recent congressional hearings on radicalization within the Muslim community, CAIR officials defended the group from allegations that it does not cooperate with law enforcement. "CAIR believes it is both our civic and religious duty to work with law enforcement to protect our nation," it said in a statement. "Like any long-term relationship, our interactions with law enforcement include some disagreements and disputes."
CAIR's record, however, shows a long history of condemning the FBI's actions and propagating a negative image of the FBI among its members.
In December, Billoo responded to the arrests of two individuals plotting to bomb targets in Oregon and Maryland by the FBI. "What the FBI came and did was enable them to become actual terrorists," she said. The FBI "is creating these huge terror plots where they don't exist."