FBI agents are knocking on doors of Muslims in the Phoenix area asking questions aimed at detecting and deterring terrorism before tomorrow’s presidential debate at Arizona State University and the Nov. 2 election, say Islamic and civil rights leaders quoted by the Arizona Republic. “They want to leave no stone unturned,” said Deedra Abboud of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Arizona. “And they want to make sure nothing disrupts the election. But it does concern us because it’s against the American way, and it’s a waste of their time.”
Agents have been instructed to “foster the impression that law enforcement is focused on individuals who might be a threat,” according to the FBI’s “October Plan,” disclosed CBS News. FBI spokeswoman Susan Herskovits in Phoenix said, “We have not been sent a list. We’ve been sent a directive to talk to as many people as we can about a potential al Qaeda attack between now and the election.” Abboud described this scenario: A pair of agents come to the front door and ask to chat. They don’t allow a friend, lawyer, or tape recorder during the interview. But it’s completely voluntary and informal. The questions include: Who are your friends? How do you feel about the Bush administration? What do you think of U.S. foreign policy in Israel? Would you become a confidential informant? Abboud claims nearly every Muslim she knows has been approached; other local Muslims see no problems.