tv Al Jazeera Investigates Al Jazeera November 10, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
maziar bahari >> the film is about democratization of information >> the fight for free journalism... >> these regimes are aresting more and more people... >> primetime news only on al jazeera america ♪ ♪ >> the fbi thought i was the greatest informant on the planet earth. they told me to record everywhere. >> al jazeera's investigative unit takes you inside the shadowy world of fbi informants and counterterrorism operations.
you'll meet the criminals and conmen spying on orders for the fbi. >> i was for them al qaeda. >> i am representing the sheik osama bashar al-assad. >> we'll bring owners osama bin laden. >> concocted by the fbi part of a post-9/11 mandate to thwart attacks before they even begin. >> it literally boils down to if you cannot find terrorists within the muslim community, make terrorists, create the terrorists. >> the fbi is not perfect in running the operations but they're pretty damn close. >> we'll show how some informants are accused of violating civil liberties and why some americans refuse to join the fbi's intelligence ranks. >> i didn't want to be an informant for fbi for the same reasons that i think the muslim community should stand up to them. if i felt that there were
actual terrorists running around in toledo, i might feel different about it. >> for the first time, a man accused of terrorist charges and back in the community. >> there was never no bombs never no maps never no plans, it was a bunch of hogwash. >> stay down! stay down! >> an fbi informant has agreed to meet with me. i have tracked eli assad for nearly a decade, asad is a violent criminal with a history of secretly recording his conversations. we are confident he will record us at this meeting so to protect
ourselves we are making sure he is not the only one with a camera. >> how you doing? >> good to meet finally. >> how are you? >> have a seat. >> are you sure? >> asad thition of himself as an secret agent. he calls me from blocked phone numbers and won't tell me where he's staying. >> do you feel your life is potentially in danger because of these things? >> i had threats on my life. >> by al qaeda related affiliates? >> by muslims. >> asad was being evasive. he was interested in talking but wary in doing a formal interview interview. >> i go there. it's my job. >> do you think he'd be interested in doing a formal sit-down? >> about what? >> you know along the lines of
what i talked to you about. >> if you will be honest, the way how you put the interview. yes. >> okay. >> you know . >> great meeting assignment. yes yes. >> informants often need a cover story, a lie, something to explain why they're here in your community talking to you. in this investigation we reveal the secrets of three informants. each with its own moniker. his own unique cover story. eli asad aka the closer, the man the fbi brought in to finish a sting operation. craig montey. aka the body builder. his ruse was to get the gentlemen out of the mosque where they would drop their
guard. aka the trainer, a special op trainer who taught young muslim men how to fire weapons. my interest in fbi informants began years ago in miami. after 9/11, the u.s. government set about recruiting an intelligence army of thousands of informants many of them in muslim communities. while working as a reporter here, i first heard about an alleged al qaeda cell that would be called the liberty city 7. >> this is morning edition from npr news, i'm linda wertheimer. >> the men were from a poor mostly asian american community in miami. odd place for the fbi to recruit. >> my first reaction was laughter.
my name is rory mcman. i looked on the liberty 7 case. after the raid they searched the headquarters the total take of what they recovered was a ceremonial sword. so that signaled to me that these people weren't much of a threat. >> the operation began when the fbi received a tip about a suspicious group of men. agents struggled to develop the case, so they turned it over to a seasoned hand. a professional informant. the closer. >> i didn't work only for the fbi. i work for different agencies. i work a lot of cases. i lost count. i don't know exactly. but there were a lot. >> and you're good at what you do. >> i'm good. i never lost a case. >> the fbi surveilled the group, taking these photographs. asad was ordered to get to know their leader narsil batiste,
who run a construction business. >> time is 4:25 p.m. >> this is the recording of one of the first meetings between batist and asad, asad posed as member of al qaeda, batist said his grip on reality was tenuous. >> i heard you were close to the war. >> can have no way ... >> asad ordered the group to take these photos of the office in north miami beach.
using a camera asad provided. that was the plot, a group of poor men in miami with no real al qaeda connections, no bombs in their positions, wanting to attack a skyscraper more than 2,000 kilometers away. batiste asked asad to give them $2,000. the liberty city 7 desperate for cash claimed they were running a scam. >> we wanted to get money from this guy, we didn't believe he was a terrorist. >> my name is rothschild augustin. liberty 7, our mind was on the money. it was messed up, a stupid idea, didn't know how everything turned out you know but that was our mind frame at the time. >> as part of the operation, asad agreed to deliver a new van to replace this aging pickup truck. filmed here by fbi agents following close by.
asad also offered to rent a larger warehouse for the group. money was no object. >> pull big trucks in here. >> okay this yours, i'll do my best no matter how much it will cost, no matter how much you want, you want this, i propose to bring this to you. >> asad suggested the men come to the warehouse and pledge their oath to al qaeda. >> i pledge to osama bin laden. >> prosecutors would allege this demonstrated their commitment to the plot. >> to commit myself. >> to commit myself. >> was it a real al qaeda pledge or something the fbi came up with? >> no, i guess it's -- i don't know. i never -- it's so what before this is my first time, they gave me the paper, they said you know what, read it, this is the pledge. guys you have to be in the middle and say your name.
>> even on the cameras when they were saying that audio, the cameras we were all looking at each other, what the hell, i had my hand on the door, ready to get out, what the hell they talking about? maybe we're going to get the money skedaddle with the cash. but it happened like that. >> three months after the oath the fbi raided the small warehouse in liberty city and arrested the seven men. according to the government, a major plot was foiled. >> these individuals wished to wage a, quote, full ground war against the united states, that quote is from the investigation of these individuals who also allegedly stated the desire to quote, kill all the devils we can. >> in a press conference he said you guys were going to declare ground war on the united states. >> yes, that's just ridiculous. that's just reretarded. retarded. how the heck we going to stage a
ground war? they got tanks they got guns they got missiles. we are three tbroak dudes. >> broke dudes. >> augustin was sentenced to conspiracy to produce weapons of mass destruction. >> the closure, elie asad, or tony montana, as he liked to refer to himself, he's been doing this for a long time. >> rory mcmanwas hiredmann was hired by the defense to investigate asad. could have disqualified him from being an informant but the fbi kept him on. >> eli asad is a professional informant. he is the one i'm talking about,
he knows how to gain the system, to make eye livelihood out of providing information to the government that the government wants to hear. not necessarily truthful information . the truth is negotiable. >> again, what he does for a living, this guy? >> he's a private investigator. >> he should suggest for him to retire. because he doesn't know what he's talking about. >> the liberty city 7 case was the first historic one where it got a lot of national attention. they were able to ultimately succeed. so that emboldened them. now they can manufacture cases and then announce to the world we just saved you from this group. >> years after the sting in miami the closer would find himself behind bars as well. we will get to that later. >> game of thrones when it came out, didn't hit any best sellers lists... >> the worlds, the magic and the fascination of george r.r. martin >> i'm writing the equivalent of a medieval world war ii... >> how his imagination
>> start with one issue education... gun control... the gap between rich and poor... job creation... climate change... tax policy... the economy... iran... healthcare... ad guests on all sides of the debate. >> this is a right we should all have... >> it's just the way it is... >> there's something seriously wrong... >> there's been acrimony... >> the conservative ideal... >> it's an urgent need... and a host willing to ask the tough questions >> how do you explain it to yourself? and you'll get... the inside story ray suarez hosts inside story weekdays at 5 eastern only on al jazeera america >> the fbi began to insert
informants like eli asad in communities, across california there was craig montey, the body builder. >> the fbi use methods to turn a person to become informant, that method is mice, it is an acronym. m stands for money. using money to bribe them to become an informant. i, use their ideology, to turn them. meaning in this case it would be religion. c, compromise. meaning, some kind of information that makes that person vulnerable. e, is ego. i wake up at around 4:00. i walk over to the car, i put on audio-slave.
i play as loud as i possibly can. there's a reason for that. the audio-slave sound guard ozzie osborn and van healn halen was to keep myself somewhat be sane. craig montey didn't exist anymore. >> he worked the counterterrorism beat. >> it had nothing to do with my country tis of thee. it was, i wanted to be in on the big game and to be paid top dollar for it. that's it. >> operation flex was the code name for montey's under cover assignment. as a personal trainer he'd wear people down to get them to open up. he claims an fbi agent encouraged him to portray
himself as extremely devout. >> he would say okay, when you pray, when you take your right side of your head, i want you to rub it on the carpet so it leaves a sore on your head. and do not put a band-aid on it. let id bleed. just constant -- don't led it heal, let i.t. bleed. and that scab, that meant i'm so devout that i don't care about my appearance. the more blood dripped on my robe the more serious i was. and the more serious i was, the more people who gravitated towards me, they would be more of a person of interest. so there was a method to all this madness that was going on. >> southern california is home to one of america's largest muslim communities.
montey's assignment was to troll the mosques, looking at anyone the fbi might be interested in. >> i would have a conversation in the mosque with a group of muslims. as we're talking about these -- this conversation, this subject i would have my recording device just right by the wall, where we're talking. i'd get up, use the restroom and start another conversation somewhere else. with another device that was on. i maybe had about four of those on in the mosque at any given time. >> this video from 2006 shows an fbi outreach meeting in orange county. members of the muslim community were upset after a local paper quoted and fbi agent saying muslim students in the area were
being monitored. stephen titwell then the assistant fbi director tried to convince the community it wasn't true. >> let me talk, we do not, cannot, do not -- >> and i think the muslim community really was just getting the run-around from stephen tidwell. my name is yassir fact of the ir fitaga. i'm the muslim imam in the mosque. i got up and i had the paper on me that day and i pointed to the quote and i said mr. tidwell one of your agents has made that statement and you are telling us different. >> we are not being monitored, evolution is not my first line. the fbi refused to be actively studying muslim student groups
at ucla as part of an intense program to direct to muslims. to come and tell us you are not being monitored, he is saying to many people, we don't trust that. >> i remember, he looked at me and saying, do you are you saying that i'm a liar ? >> i said i don't call anybody a liar. but i have a direct quote and i don't know how to reconcile the quote with what you are telling us. >> steven tidwell now working for a private security firm declined al jazeera's request for an interview. also on surveillance programs in orange county. >> it was mr. fizaga who stood up and challenged
mr. tidwell. the fbi does not take that lightly. so they had me get close to mr. fizaga, to get into his inner circle. >> president obama gave a speech this morning. and in the speech he was going to be addressing the nsa, been going around spying on people. and by people here i mean muslim people. because they were the target mainly. so people are ves disturbed, what in the world is going on, we were told we needed to do this in order to stop terrorism. so the president gave a speech this morning and people were really anticipating. people were anticipating that he was going to say something that is meaningful, but unfortunately, that was not the case. >> when i first met craig he was at our mosque. i introduced myself to him. and i made a comment about how
physically fit he was. and he really was physically fit. something i was personally trulg with. struggling with, he extended an invitation, maybe we can work out sometimes. >> we never did but we spoke a few times at length with other muslim individuals around. so the fbi had several recordings of myself and mr. fizaga speaking about matters regarding the koran and current events. >> operation flex began to unraffle when montey's aggressive approach alarmed community members. >> i started receiving reports saying that there's this gentleman who keeps asking these strange questions, almost in a pushy way mainly about violence, by jihad. my name is
houssan, director of the care. >> after many complaints he called tidwell. >> the mini said it's a convert, he's in irvine, he said oh thank you, houssan, i'm glad you reported that we'll take care of it from now on. i said steve, i haven't even given you the name and i could only imagine what's in his mind at that moment. that the same informant we've sent to entrap muslims is being reported by these same muslims that we suspected. >> at that point mr. aloush alerted some people from the mosque. and that began to place me in a compromised position where certain muslims didn't trust me anymore because they thought i
might be working with the fbi. >> the body builder's cover was blown. frustrated by the fbi's handling of the case he switched sides. montey agreed to partner with fizaga in a lawsuit against the fbi. >> the informant program that's so vast, in the muslim community today, it is like east germany the cold war and cuba, where people are on the street corner spying on neighbors and family members and it's just multiplies, it's actually completely just out of control. >> but the lawsuit was killed by the u.s. attorney general, eric holder. the government argued that allowing it to move forward
would reveal state secrets and significantly harm national security. the justice department declined al jazeera's request for an interview, stating there was no upside to discussing the issue. operation flex has undermined the relationship between federal law enforcement and the muslim community in southern california. >> i feel very betrayed personally because i was one of the most vocal proponents of strengthening a relationship with the fbi. we expected the fbi is there to protect us, protect our community from criminals. not to go and hire criminals to actually come into our mosques and put our youth at risk. >> you can't really trust the fbi anymore. i mean period. you cannot trust the fbi anymore. in my own sermons i would tell our community members to please cooperate with the law. however, when it comes to the
fbi, the less you talk, the more you walk. >> the government that came in won't allow the people to speak up... >> john stewart and maziar bahari >> the film is about democratization of information >> the fight for free journalism... >> these regimes are aresting more and more people... >> primetime news only on al jazeera america real reporting that brings you the world. giving you a real global perspective like no other can. real reporting from around the world. this is what we do. al jazeera america.
toledo ohio has one of the oldest muslim communities in the united states. immigrants from the middle east settled here, years ago. toledo has its own story of an fbi informant. darren griffin grew up in toledo and joined the u.s. army. court testimony would later reveal that after he left the military his life began to spiral out of control. >> he started abusing drugs and alcohol. became involved in drug dealing
activity. my name is edward brian. i'm an assistant federal public defender for northern district of ohio. he came to know drug enforcement agents when they busted him for drug related activity and began working as a drug informant in northwest ohio. >> while working for the dea griffin turned in other drug dealers. he continued to use and sell government. $800 per week, cash. [ chanting ] >> in 2002, he walked into this toledo mosque posing as a convert. ziad abu humus was one that welcomed him. >> it was on a friday, the opened door for him, we felt he needed an open hand and we felt he was doing this for good faith.
>> to the muslim community he was the chosen one but for the the deaea he was the trainer. his cover, a disaffected american trying to make up for misdeeds in iraq. he set his sights on mohamed awai. >> he was a regular person who came tom mosque. he used to question the imam of certain thing. he is not mature. to see him fall down like this you know, it's a shock. it's a shock. >> was he a terrorist? >> i don't think he was a terrorist. i think he's everything but a terrorist. >> griffin tried to develop a close relationship with amawi and often came to his apartment. >> is your phone on? i called like a couple of times.
>> amawi was angry about the war in iraq, he and griffin spent hours watching violent videos and chatted about american policy in chat rooms. >> he would express his opinion and he would say whatever on his mind. my name is amir amawi, i am his brother and he's spending 20 years in prison being an because of an fbi informant. when they do ieds videos they spend hours in that room. >> the fbi watched closely. trying to determine whether amawi's interest in war time videos and his talk against u.s. troops in iraq would result in action. >> he didn't feel sorry for u.s. soldiers dying there, there's no denying. they
came from somewhere to invade another country, why would i feel bad for him? >> the whole focus was to verify whether it was more than just talk. my name is ted wasky, i'm the form he special agent in charge of the fbi in northern ohio. i wish i could go kill american soldiers, was that an off-handed comment or was he really serious? >> the fbi sting on mohamed amawi involved two plots that griffin relentlessly pushed forward, taking laptops struggled across syria to iraq. >> did you find any contacts over in iraq? >> the brother that i told you about, he knows some brothers ... >> ask them if they need any laptops because that's how the brothers are communicating. even i have some cheap laptops but they should be used out of
country. >> darren griffin. >> hotel room? >> 257. >> the second involved training on firearms bombs and combat tactics. the train are took amawi and one of his friends to a small gun range west of toledo. amawi claimed it was his first time firing a weapon. >> plastic? >> no, aluminum. these are brass. [ gun shots ] >> ha ha ha ha. >> the often unemployed amawi relied on griffin for financial support. he was so broke that griffin and the fbi gave him $850 to pay his rent. >> that was the first of many financial favors that the government through darren griffin
used on amawi to keep him interested and keep him talking. >> in the summer of 2005 amawi and griffin traveled to jordan to visit amawi's family. all on the government's dime. griffin brought five laptops with him. >> griffin locked all his laptops with chains, to the pipes, it was really awkward to my dad when my bloart came in and he was like -- when my brother came in and was, you know you have doubts that this guy is an agent or working with the government? doesn't matter if i do or not, i'm not doing anything wrong. >> it's extraordinary to me your brother new he was recording with an fbi informant and continued to spend time with him? it strikes me as playing with fire doesn't it? >> exactly. that's what he was doing. he had fights with my mom and my family but always in hi opinion he didn't do anything wrong.
>> late one evening griffin called phone. >> do you know when you're going to hear about the serial? >> i'm trying to find out about that now. we it was a long night, we didn't sleep at all last night. i had to wrestle the strongest guy last night. >> ha ha ha. are you okay? >> ain't no place for no punk. >> you are my new hero. >> yeah, i'm a lot of people's heros now. >> in jordan, griffin and amawi based lie tourists, even enjoyed a bode boat ride.
griffin gave amawi a satellite phone and he ran up a lot of charges make calls. griffin flew back to ohio. amawi was convicted of trying to kill people outside the united states. he was convicted and received 20 years in prison. >> can you say whether amountawi and griffin ever met with terrorists outside the united states? >> i have no personal information to believe they met with trorts terrorists. >> he now claims to work as an intelligence analyst for a u.s. military contractor. he refused to meet with us in person so we reached him on his phone in afghanistan. >> i've been exchanging messages through letters with mohamed amawi. what he says is that you knew he wasn't connected to any
terrorist organization. do you disagree with what he said, that he was a dangerous guy? >> you know, you're dangerous. you know, would he strap the bombs to himself, no, i don't think he has that kind of intestinal fortitude. but a sniper rifle or to use a remote detonation, i know he would do for here. >> was he actually in touch with any people that you would really would consider to be terrorists? >> i think some of that stuff is still classified so i'm sure i can't talk about it. >> how long did you work with the fbi? >> no comment. >> what kind of impact to you think your work as an fbi informant had on the toledo muslim community? >> bring to light. >> did that have effect on the people of thyroid? >> that's for people to decide. >> you worked the case. >> my opinion doesn't matter.
>> do you think mohamed amawi would have moved forward any kind of terrorism plot would it have not been for darren griffin being introduced to him? >> i could have testified, whether he would have carried it out, no one would know. >> so your brother is essentially a convicted terrorist. how does that make you feel? >> he's my brother. i don't see him as a terrorist. i never thought of him like that. so i know he was, to me personally he was framed. without griffin, there wouldn't be no case. i want to make sure that nobody falls in the same situation like we did like my brother did. at least let the people know that many of these cases wouldn't happen if it were not for the informant themselves. >> scared as hell... >> as us combat missions end in afghanistan >> they're going to make plans for an attack. >> the only thing i know is, that they say they're not going to withdraw.
>> get a first hand look at what life is really like under the taliban. >> we're going to be taken >> it's so seldom you get the access to the other side >> fault lines al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> today they will be arrested... >> ground breaking... they're firing canisters of gas at us... emmy award winning investigative series... special episode on the front lines with the taliban on al jazeera america
>> dead prematurely. an entire almond orchard. row after row of trees uprooted and dying in the sun. >> everything looks good, check the crop. you know, when i grew up as a younger kid farming used to be great... uh, you know harvest would come around... uh, you know once harvest was done, you know, we'd get a lot of rain come through. >> but now jay mahil must dig super wells reaching 2,000 feet deep - that's longer than the empire state building. >> i mean, this is all we can do right now, that's the only control we have in our tool box.
>> until now farmers have drilled wells of a few hundred feet, but that water has run out and the next option is to go down past a thick layer of clay that separates the central valley shell ground water from its deeper ancient aquifer. farmers like mahil are pulling water faster than the aquifers can recharge, all the new drilling means that in some places the ground is actually sinking. mahil admits it's a short term solution that's producing long term damage, but he doesn't know what else to do. critics say the state needs to step in and manage ground water before it's sucked dry, until then the landscape across the central valley will be dotted not just with crops, but with drill rigs.
>> hey, how you doing? >> after the liberty city 7 case in miami eli asad the closer came to el paso texas where he started a modeling agency on the mexican border. >> you know sometimes when you been undercover on a case for a long time, it take you time even after you finish the case, take you time to get rid of that personality you had. >> do you always shake it off? can you always shake it off? >> technically, technically, every undercover they had after each case you had to do psychological value. guess how many times i had for
check? >> how many? >> none. >> memory. this street down there. >> asad is referring to march 2011 when he led police in a high speed car chase that ended near the university of texas at el paso. al jazeera obtained video from that night. during the chase he hit one officer with his car. the officer then fired at asad's fleeing vehicle he flipped his car over and later pled guilty to evading arrest and driving while imosmedded. intoxicated. >> red label. straight up. 20 years. >> you were involved in a high speed chase in el paso that ended around the corner. can you tell us what
happened? >> trevor, i cannot speak too much about this case because it's still under investigation. >> so you think it's their fawld, not fault, not your fault? >> my fault from running from the cop but their fault for putting my life in danger. >> you spent a year in lockup? >> about a year you can say that. >> asad built up a long rap sheet. in 2001 he was arrested for assaulting his then pregnant girlfriend. then he was arrested in 2005 for assaulting his wife. >> your response, shed had heed in the restaurant and eli asad
grabbed her, then displayed an eight inch knife and threatened to stab her. asad then left the room she grabbed the children ran out of the residence fearing for her children. >> did you see the report? >> i did. >> did you see the report signed by her? you see the report signed? >> i saw the report and you pleaded guilty to the charge. >> the charge, assault causing bodily injury to a family member. >> this is me, and that is something clever. i'm not perfect guy. i'm human. i do make mistakes in my life. but one thing in my personal life i messed up. you can say that. but in my work life, i didn't. >> asad's work life sent
rothschild augustin to federal prison for seven years. he said he spent two of those years in solitary confinement. >> you kind of dead. to people in the outside world you just dead. you can't do anything for yourself. you just feel alone. nobody understand your suffering and pain, you know, like only people who's locked up with you, they understand. other people don't, you know they don't understand. right now we're on 62nd and northwest. we university to be in the warehouse district. >> this is the first time you've been back here? >> yes it's a weird feeling being back here. >> how has your life changed? >> i am tense, i don't like talk to people or try see what's going on with them or what they're doing with their lives or things of that nature. >> what happens now? >> what happens now? now it's basically you know, i
guess some time of form of a normal life and you just trying to live out the american dream or just make it. >> augustin now shares a small apartment with his stepfather in north miami. he sleeps in the living room he's looking for work after losing his job in a factory. >> hello, you want me to go over there? >> augustin doesn't blame anyone else for what has happened, not the fbi, not the justice department and not the informant who hut put him away. >> i'm age refor more myself not -- i'm angry for more myself, not getting myself out of the situation sooner than what i did. what you're trying to maim them to be, ream justice instead of relying on informants and all this type of craziness.
follow your own rules, don't bend and break your rules to try to catch the bad guy, you end up being crooked as the people you're chasing . >> peter ahern chased suspects for the fbi for 30 years. he believes that informant led sting operations are an essential counterterrorism tool. [ gun shots ] >> probably the one that had most of the questions was the liberty 7 and looking into that there was definite predication to do something. whether or not you believe they were just playing a game here and trying to steal the money, who knows? but again it's just let's take a run at them and see if they say yes. >> one of the criticisms that the fbi through the sting operations isn't finding the
truly dangerous guy, the guy who has the bomb or has connections to quealt. al qaeda. they are finding the low hanging fruit, the guys who are easily manipulated. >> what if on the bad day they decide i've had enough of this really became to that point that i'm going to do something about it. you have information that's coming. do you think the fbi should ignore it? i mean should they? no. >> the fbi turned down al jazeera's repeated requests to interview a current official for this investigation. ahern believes that following informants would -- >> don't close a case, that's not going anywhere. it's a dog case, the u.s. attorney's office is declining on the prosecution, but i tell them don't ever close a case by
>> back in throitd toledo where daifn griffin darrengriffin posed as the trainer. a vast intelligence network. >> i don't think that being an informant actually does a service to the community. my name is mustafa, i was recently approached by the fib to be an informant for them. >> mustafa hasil navi discovered he was on the fbi watch list when he took his car in, and found a device. >> they felt this was going to stay under my car for a long time. >> came out of there. and since this is the
transmitter, i didn't want to put them back in. >> until a recent federal court ruling, the fbi could place tracking devices on a vehicle without receiving a warrant. >> you believed it was a tracking device from the fbi? >> do i. i took it apart, it's got an -- i do. i took it apart, it's got an antenna, and some tracking device from verizon, it traction where you are and is constantly sending information back to the fbi. >> he took the device to the lawyer. nothing happened immediately. a couple of years later, fbi agents knocked on his door. he didn't open it. >> i was told they were interested in speaking to me. 50% of it was they had specific questions for me, and the other
50% was, they were interested in relationship-building. i spoke to my lawyer about what relationship-building meant exactly. and we agreed that they are looking for an informant. i don't know what -- what they look for when they recruit informants. but it seems that, to them everyone in the muslim community is one of two things. a potential informant or a potential terrorist. >> after the visit from the fbi, hasilil sunlt hadil suddenly had another friend. >> i didn't want to shake his hand and he asked me what's wrong and i told him i don't want to talk to you. >> it seems to be an open secret that mohamed is an fbi
informant? >> it's pretty much agreed if you are asked what do you think of mohamed, you'll get the same answer, vast majority know he's an informant. but i think his presence is tolerated just because people don't want to upset anyone. so he walks around toledo, he goes into our mosques. he talks to people. he pretends like nothing's happened. that he's just a regular person. >> rashid tried to develop a relationship with mohamed amawi during the fbi sting of darren griffin. a separate toledo case.
>> hi, mohamed rashed, i'm a report were al jazeera, my name is trevor aaronson. we're doing a story about informants with the fbi. we're trying to get your information about the fbi. >> sorry can't tell you. >> a lot of informants are coerced to work with the fbi. could you tell me whether you're coerced or did you volunteer? >> i can't give you any comments about this as we speak right now. i can't confirm, i can't deny. i'm not telling you anything about the fbi. >> okay. >> the fbi has more than 15,000 informants. many of them spying on u.s. muslim communities. like the closer, the body builder and the trainer, these spice lurk in the dark corners of -- spies lurk in the dark corners of the american justice system.
neighbor informing on neighbor. a nation spying on itself on orders from the fbi. .. >> i'm jonathan betz in new york. john seigenthaler has the night off. this is al jazeera america finding fault - why did g.m. order half a million replacement switches before telling regulators about the deadly problem. >> why didn't they contact their customers and say take all the keys off your key chain? >> mail fraud - hundreds of thousands caught up on cyber attacks. some call it espionage. >> taking a