Nearly a decade after the tragic events on 9/11 the number of registered FBI informants has increased drastically with about three times as many informants as the agency had 25 years ago.
A study completed by Florida Center for Investigative Reporting Associate Director Trevor Aaronson concludes there are currently 15,000 registered FBI informants and many are watching over Muslim communities.
“It is unfortunate that’s happening. We have nothing to hide from them, so there is nothing to worry about,” said Imam Sohel Mangera of the Anjumane Najmi mosque in Farmington Hills.
According to Mangera 97% of people found to be involved in terrorism acts weren’t Muslim, leaving behind only three percent who are. If informants are used in mosques they must be put in place at other religious centers and agencies he says. Mangera isn’t worried about informants visiting the mosque, and says it will only allow people to see Islam is in fact a peaceful religion. “At the end of the day what we preach and teach people here benefits society,” he said.
Anjumane Najmi manager, Abbas Abdulmajeed says since 9/11 he’s had to be extra cautious and lookinto the guest speakers visiting or organizations that host fundraisers at the mosque as a result of the suspicion surrounding Islamic centers. The measure prevents the mosque from becoming affiliated with people or agencies that don’t represent its core values of peace and acceptance.
Of more than 500 federal terrorism prosecutions since 9/11, about half involved the use of an informant. Often the motive behind becoming an informant is monetary incentives and getting immigration or criminal violations removed. The FBI often uses the threat of deportation to get people to participate as informants.
Aaronson also reports sting operations resulted in prosecutions against 158 defendants. Of that total, 49 defendants participated in plots led by an “agent provocateur.” The agents provoke the targets into executing the attack by providing them with a plan and the “alleged weapons.”
The method has drawn sharp criticism. But in all sting operation cases the FBI has never been proven to be at fault. That’s because the informant will ask the target whether they are positive they want to go through with the act before it happens. Experts say when someone is intent on killing people and has expressed the desire to do so the government is obligated to prevent the attack.