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O.C. man says FBI hired him to spy on Muslims

November 30, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
An Orange County man was in court Monday to ask a judge to unseal records he says will prove he was an FBI informant who spied on Southern California mosques and the Muslims who worship there.He also claims those FBI ties led to prison time.

Craig Monteilh went to court to get ammunition in a $10 million lawsuit against the FBI. No one denies that the bulky, bald Monteilh was an FBI informant. However, the FBI does deny that its informants target Muslim mosques as Monteilh alleges.

"I was instructed by my FBI handlers to infiltrate as many as possible using my undercover name Faroq Al Aziz," said Monteilh. "I was instructed to direct my efforts to suspected leadership in mosques."

Monteil wants a judge to unseal records of a hearing involving Ahmadullah Sais Niazi. Niazi allegedly has ties to al-Qaeda, and an FBI agent testified at that hearing that Niazi was secretly recorded by an informant threatening to blow up buildings.

That informant supposedly was Monteilh, and he's suing the FBI for going back on a deal that resulted in Monteilh serving prison time for grand theft. The court records might help his case.

"They essentially destroyed this man's life. He trusted them. In the end, he was allowed to go to prison and his family was allowed to be ripped apart for grand theft," said Monteilh's attorney Adam Krolikowski.

Monteilh says he was recruited by FBI counterterrorism agents to spy on the Islamic community. He says he monitored about a dozen mosques in Orange and Los Angeles counties. He's not a Muslim but says he learned enough of the religion and language to pass for one.

"Agent Armstrong informed me that although my work was a great service to my country, it was also unconstitutional and highly illegal," said Monteilh.

Monteilh will be back in court Thursday when the judge will decide whether to unseal the records.


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