Law enforcement agencies have long relied on turning petty criminals into informants. Low-level drug dealers… petty burglars… people attempting to travel while Muslim:
Awais Sajjad, a lawful permanent U.S. resident living in the New York area, learned he was on the no-fly list in September 2012 after he tried to board a flight to Pakistan at John F. Kennedy International Airport and was turned back.
At the airport, FBI agents questioned Sajjad, a Muslim, before releasing him. But they later returned with an offer. In exchange for working for them, the FBI could provide him with U.S. citizenship and compensation. The FBI, the agents reminded Sajjad, also had the power to decide who was on the no-fly list.
When he refused, the FBI agents “kept him on the list in order to pressure and coerce Mr. Sajjad to sacrifice his constitutionally-protected rights,” according to an amended lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in New York.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Sajjad and three other men, accuses the United States of violating their rights by placing or keeping them on the no-fly list after they declined to spy on local Muslim communities in New York, New Jersey and Nebraska…
In 2010, the ACLU filed a lawsuit alleging that the FBI tried to turn Nagib Ali Ghaleb, a naturalized U.S. citizen who lived in San Francisco, into an informant. He was prevented from returning home from Yemen but was later told he could fly if he became an FBI informant in the Yemeni community in California. A court decision is expected soon on whether his right to due process was violated.
But unlike in the ACLU lawsuit, Kassem said, “this cases advances for the first time the unprecedented question about whether the FBI can infringe on their First Amendment rights by retaliating against them for not becoming informants.” …
Somewhere in Hell, Osama bin Laden does a little victory dance.