An increasingly active informant pool is helping the FBI identify suspects involved in alleged plots against the U.S. from within, says USA Today. Since the 9/11 attacks, when virtually no anti-terror intelligence network existed, federal authorities have tapped into a vast network of informants — many in the Muslim community — who have assisted in the arrests of suspects. Civil rights advocates and 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 of the Council on American Islamic Relations. “And we are concerned about what kind of pressure is being used to get that cooperation.” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said, “We do not investigate people based solely [ ] on their race, ethnicity, national origin or religious affiliation,” In the complaint last week in a plot to bomb the U.S. Capitol, FBI agent Steven Hersem noted that the informant not only brought the suspect to the FBI but accompanied the suspect and the undercover agent Friday on the drive toward the Capitol where the suspect was arrested.