Muslims: FBI Used No-Fly List to Coerce Us

Lawsuit alleges that agents try to strong-arm people into becoming informants

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 23, 2014 3:50 PM CDT

(Newser) – The FBI has been using the no-fly list to try to strong-arm American Muslims into becoming confidential informants, four men allege in a federal lawsuit filed yesterday. The plaintiffs' stories are all slightly different, but in each case FBI agents allegedly offered an explicit or implied quid-pro-quo, the Guardian reports. "We're the only ones who can take you off the list," one agent allegedly told Bronx resident Jameel Algibhah, as he tried to convince Algibhah to infiltrate a Queens mosque and pose as an extremist online.

"What can I do to clear my name?" another plaintiff recalls asking after being denied a boarding pass because he was on the list. The agents' alleged reply: "You help us, we help you." The suit, which names Eric Holder, FBI director James Comey, and several agents, demands both that the plaintiffs be removed from the list, and that the government create a mechanism for others to contest being listed. The FBI hasn't commented officially, but a former official tells the Washington Post that the bureau has criteria for listing someone, and refusing to be an informant isn't one of them.

TSA workers screen passengers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle in this May 31, 2007 file photo.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
In this May 31, 2007 file photo, passengers line up for security screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
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The no-fly list is supposed to be about ensuring aviation safety, but the FBI is using it to force innocent people to become informants. The practice borders on extortion. - Ramzi Kassem of the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility project

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