FBI officials met with Muslim and Arab-American leaders yesterday to discuss bureau’s secret monitoring of radiation levels at Muslim sites in the U.S., the New York Times reports. Deputy Director John Pistole and John Miller, the bureau’s assistant director of public affairs, said the surveillance of mosques and Muslim businesses and homes had been based on intelligence leads. Said Miller: “We explained how we work with intelligence and that we did what we did based on the patterns of Al Qaeda, not because of the patterns or activities of any mosque or Muslim neighborhood.”
Leaders of Muslim and Arab-American groups requested the meeting after the program was disclosed by U.S. News & World Report. The program included air monitoring of more than 100 private properties in the Washington area. “This current situation reinforces the notion that our community is viewed more as suspects rather than partners,” said Salam Al-Marayati of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, a national advocacy organization. In October, the FBI rescinded a $1 million pledge toward a training program to institutionalize bridge-building between FBI field offices and Muslim groups around the country.