U.S. law enforcement's anti-terror efforts continue to come under attack from Islamists and their political allies. More than 110 organizations – ranging from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) to Jews Against Islamophobia and the Center for Constitutional Rights – sent a letter Monday to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding an immediate investigation of NYPD surveillance policies.
The National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF), an organization that depicts convicted terror supporters Sami Al-Arian and Ghassan Elashi and convicted terrorists Aafia Siddiqui and Dritan Duka as victims of law-enforcement "repression," sent a letter of its own to House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and other lawmakers accusing the FBI of framing innocent people in jihadist terror cases.
"These 'fake terrorism investigations' create 'crimes' where none exist and divert resources from actual threats; improperly target innocent communities and discriminate against whole communities by raising the spectre of 'terrorism' where no such plots exist, except those created by the FBI and agents provocateur the FBI rewards; and put the civil liberties of all in jeopardy by turning every new 'friend' at church, or at the mosque, into a possible informant," an NCPCF statement said.
At the press conference, NCPCF officials distributed a Mother Jones story published last summer purporting to show that 10 percent of defendants in post-9/11 federal terror cases were victims of such "provocateurs." As the Investigative Project on Terrorism demonstrated at the time, a closer examination of those cases exposes them as weak examples of terrorism "instigated" by the FBI.
NCPCF officials also claimed that last week's arrest of an alleged Taliban sympathizer near Pittsburgh is the latest example of FBI efforts to frame Muslims. The suspect, Khalifa Ali al-Akili of Wilkinsburg, Penn., was ordered detained until trial on charges that he possessed a rifle despite prior convictions for felony drug-dealing; simple assault; resisting arrest; and retail theft.
When agents went to arrest him at Allegheny County public-housing project where he lived, Akili tried to run away. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Wilson said agents found books on U.S. military strategy and jihadist literature when they searched Akili's apartment.
U.S. magistrate judge Robert Mitchell ordered Akili (formerly known as James Marvin Thomas Jr. ) held without bond until trial after an FBI agent testified that the defendant told an FBI informant that he planned to move to Pakistan and "strap on a bomb" and die like a martyr.
But at Tuesday's NCPCF press conference, officials dismissed this evidence and portrayed Akili as a hapless victim of a malevolent FBI. CAIR Legal Counsel Nahira al-Khalili said his organization is getting "increasingly disturbing reports about the FBI," which is going "well past" constitutional limits in pursuing terrorists. Khalili said CAIR is glad to be part of the coalition and "is willing and able to file lawsuits against the FBI."
Read more about questionable accusations of FBI entrapment here.