Ta-Nehisi Coates writes:
He Reported the FBI’s Own Informant to the FBI: “Here’s an incredible piece of reporting in the Washington Post about Craig Monteilh, a convicted criminal turned FBI informant-provocateur, and former foot-solider in our War on Terror:
Before the sun rose, the informant donned a white Islamic robe. A tiny camera was sewn into a button, and a microphone was buried in a device attached to his keys.
‘This is Farouk al-Aziz, code name Oracle,’ he said into the keys as he sat in his parked car in this quiet community south of Los Angeles. ‘It’s November 13th, 4:30 a.m. And we’re hot.’The undercover FBI informant – a convicted forger named Craig Monteilh – then drove off for 5 a.m. prayers at the Islamic Center of Irvine, where he says he spied on dozens of worshipers in a quest for potential terrorists.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the FBI has used informants successfully as one of many tactics to prevent another strike in the United States. Agency officials say they are careful not to violate civil liberties and do not target Muslims.
Monteilh said he was instructed to infiltrate mosques throughout Orange and two neighboring counties in Southern California, where the Muslim population of nearly 500,000 is the nation’s largest. He was told to target the Islamic Center of Irvine, he said, because it was near his home.
FBI tactics were already a sensitive issue at the Irvine mosque, a stucco, two-story building that draws as many as 2,000 people for Friday prayers.With tensions rising between law enforcement and Muslims over allegations of FBI surveillance, J. Stephen Tidwell, then head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, spoke at the mosque in June 2006.
‘If we’re going to mosques to come to services, we will tell you,’ he said, according to a video of his speech. ‘. . . The FBI will tell you we’re coming for the very reason that we don’t want you to think you’re being monitored. We would come only to learn.’Two months later, in August 2006, Monteilh arrived at the same mosque. He had called earlier and met with the imam. That Friday, he took shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, before hundreds of worshipers.
Here we go again.