Mueller: FBI Relationship with Muslim Americans ‘Very Good’
By Andrew Ramonas | March 16, 2022 12:56 pm

Attempting to quell criticism, FBI Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday said his agency has a “very good relationship” with Muslim Americans, pushing back against concerns about how the bureau handles investigations involving the U.S. citizens.

However, others say the FBI has had a rocky history with the Muslim-American community since the Sept. 11 attacks. Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed suit against the FBI claiming the agency improperly targeted Muslims for surveillance.

The lawsuit alleges that paid FBI informant Craig Monteilh infringed on the constitutional rights of several hundred Muslims several years ago when the FBI allegedly told him to engage “indiscriminate surveillance” of Muslims. Monteilh has said he was told to watch members of an Irvine, Calif., mosque in an effort to root out possible terrorists.

Law enforcement officials have said Monteilh worked as a paid FBI informant for a number of years until 2007, according to The Washington Post. But they have said he was helping with an existing probe and wasn’t directed to spy on Muslims because of their religion.

In 2008, the FBI ended its relationship with the leaders of CAIR because a terrorism trial in Dallas connected the group with Hamas, which the U.S. considers a terrorist group for its history of suicide bombings against Israel.

Mueller said the FBI tries to be as open as it can about its actions. But sometimes the agency can’t disclose information about the subject of its investigations and the techniques used because it is classified information, he said.

“The actions of the FBI can be misinterpreted and we use every opportunity we have to explain what we do and why we’ve done it,” Mueller said.

The FBI Director said the Justice Department is working hard on its outreach to the Muslim-American community.

Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez of the DOJ Civil Rights Division have said the DOJ is devoted to protecting the rights of Muslim Americans while working hard to fight terrorism. In his remarks before the Muslim Public Affairs Council in 2009, Perez said racial profiling is “not just bad as a matter of civil rights; it is ineffective police work.”

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