An Irvine man who claims to have worked as an FBI informant said he was asked by agents to identify photos of Middle Eastern men who worked out at Orange County gyms as part of an effort to identify terrorist cells in the U.S.
Craig Monteilh said he worked as an informant from July 2006 to October 2007. He said he identified hundreds of Middle Eastern men in pictures that appeared to be taken from surveillance footage from several O.C gyms. He said agents asked him to act as a "magnet" for members of the Muslim community - work out with them, and provide information, such as names and telephone numbers, to the FBI.
Agents were interested only in young Middle Eastern men, Monteilh said, and when a picture was identified as someone that was not, "they (pictures) were discarded," he said…
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Council on Islamic American Relations, said he wouldn't be surprised if Monteilh's allegations of surveillance in OC gyms were true.
"Any normal activity, conducted by others, once it is conducted by Muslims, it's labeled suspicious," Ayloush said. "Many Muslims were questioned about suspicious activity, but the fact they were Muslim is what rendered these activities suspicious."
Having to circle an airport because of missing a terminal, taking pictures of tourist areas, hunting, paint ball, or "building muscles," are misconstrued as suspicious when conducted by someone who appears to be Middle Eastern, Ayloush said. (More)