Hill fears PC censors hobble FBI counter-terrorism

Associated Press Published: May 2, 2012

“The core review team included FBI and non-FBI personnel with academic training in areas of Islamic studies and Arab history,” Allen said.

The FBI has a policy of not dealing with CAIR on non-investigative matters. It has no such policy regarding ISNA. The bureau also draws a distinction between dealing with individuals affiliated with those groups and the organizations themselves.

Officials with CAIR and ISNA were among the most vocal in pressuring the FBI to overhaul its training program, after some of the documents were made public in media reports last September.

ISNA’s president, Imam Mohamed Magid, participated in a series of meetings with bureau officials about the revisions, including a February 2012 session with Mueller.

Both ISNA and CAIR were named as unindicted co-conspirators with the Holy Land Foundation For Relief and Development in a scheme to raise more than $12 million for the Palestinian terror group Hamas during a 2007 federal conspiracy trial in Texas.

Court documents identify both CAIR and ISNA as having been affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. offshoot. No one from either group was charged with a crime, but the top officers of the Holy Land Foundation were ultimately convicted on all counts and sentenced to life terms in prison.

Magid and other ISNA representatives participated in several meetings with either FBI or Department of Justice officials on the training issue since last September, said ISNA spokeswoman Sarah Thompson.

But Magid and the others had no role in reviewing any of the materials or the standards that would be used to judge them, Thompson said. They also were not told the identities of the outside Islamic experts, and had no role in selecting them, she said.

“We saw our role as to rebuild that trust and to ensure the FBI was not being trained in ways that were discriminatory,” Thompson said. “We were not asked to participate in the review of any of the documents or in setting these guidelines in any way.”

A CAIR spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

The FBI’s secrecy is not sitting well with other Muslim-American groups, which praise the bureau’s public condemnation of inappropriate training material it had been using but remain skeptical the agency is committed to change.

“They want us to accept the fact that they’ve done this and it’s not going to happen again, but they have given us no evidence at all,” said Omar Tewfik, spokesman for the Arab-American Institute, one of several groups that participated in the meetings with FBI officials.

Mark Flatten is an Examiner staff writer.

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