To Amine El Khalifi, the Virginia man was his alleged connection to al-Qaeda-style sympathizers in the USA.
The two shared a belief, according to federal court records, that the war on terrorism was actually a “war on Muslims.”
El Khalifi wanted to be “ready for war,” so he accompanied Hussien last December on a short trip from Alexandria, Va., to Baltimore to meet a man who could help.
The man, known as “Yusuf,” was actually an undercover FBI agent, one of two key players in an elaborate sting operation that would result in El Khalifi’s arrest last Friday on charges that he plotted to detonate a suicide bomb inside the U.S. Capitol.
El Khalifi is due back in federal court for a detention hearing Wednesday. His attorney did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
The operative who delivered El Khalifi to federal investigators, Hussien, represents part of an increasingly active informant pool that’s helping the FBI identify suspects involved in alleged plots against the USA from within.
Since the 9/11 attacks, when virtually no anti-terror intelligence network existed, federal authorities have tapped into a vast network of informants — many of them in the U.S.Muslim community — who have assisted in the arrests of suspects from D.C. to Portland, Ore.
Civil rights advocates and some defense lawyers have complained that the tactics smack of a disproportionate focus on Muslims.
“We are getting regular calls from people across the country who are being approached by the (federal government) to act as informants,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, which advocates for Muslim civil liberties in the USA. “And we are concerned about what kind of pressure is being used to get that cooperation.”
“We do not investigate people based solely … on their race, ethnicity, national origin or religious affiliation,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said. “Our internal guidelines expressly prohibit this conduct as well as such tactics to recruit informants.”
Court documents highlight major roles informants play in helping to identify what the government contends are potentially fatal plots.
In the complaint lodged last week against El Khalifi, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Steven Hersem noted that the informant not only brought the suspect to the FBI but accompanied El Khalifi and the undercover agent Friday on the drive toward the Capitol where the suspect was arrested. the entire article at source