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Informant Says FBI in Calif. Monitored Mosque Members at Gyms

istock_000007698493xsmallThese latest revelations can only create more tension between the FBI and the American Islamic communities. The FBI needs to make sure it lose all the ties it has made in Islamic communities since Sept. 11, 2001.

By Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times

As part of their anti-terrorism efforts, FBI agents monitored popular gyms throughout Orange County to gather intelligence on members of several local mosques, according to a man who claims to have been a key informant in the operation.

Sal Hernandez, director of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, declined comment on the matter Monday. Another law enforcement source, however, confirmed that the surveillance occurred, but emphasized that it was a narrowly focused operation targeting people whom the informant had already implicated in alleged crimes.

The informant is Craig Monteilh, who said he posed as a Muslim convert at the request of the FBI to gather intelligence that might aid anti-terrorism investigators.

Monteilh, a muscular man with a background as a personal trainer, said he was instructed to lure mosque members to work out with him at local gyms. FBI agents, he said, later would obtain security camera footage from the gyms and ask him to identify the people on the tapes and to provide additional information about them. He said he was told that the agents then conducted background checks on the men, looking for anything that could be used to pressure them to become informants.

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