Internal Islamophobia and racism are costing the FBI its vital, tiny cohort of Muslim and Arab agents

FBI agents have described the 83% white Bureau as "Trumpland," where conspiracy theories about Sharia law takeovers of America are taken seriously; the far-right, racist nature of so many agents has resulted in the loss, firing, and purging of many of the Bureau's tiny, dwindling minority of Arab and Muslim agents, who have been identified as crucial to the Bureau's counterterrorism mission.

Spencer Ackerman tells the story of Said "Sam" Barodi, who was fired from the Bureau last month. Barodi was a decorated cybersecurity specialist who scrupulously informed his bosses of his movements when he travelled overseas to visit family, including family in Morocco. Somehow, his 2016 travel itinerary was accessed by the DHS, who dispatched an agent to intercept and question Barodi in a public area of Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport; the DHS agent violated many of the core rules of public conduct, including loudly declaring Barodi to be a US intelligence officer in a public space. Barodi refused to cooperate with the agent and flew home, only to be detained and questioned by Customs agents, who, once again, demanded that Barodi break with FBI procedures by unlocking his devices and providing them to the agents. He refused. Eventually, he was released, disciplined by the Bureau, sidelined, and then, ultimately, fired — though the last thing the Bureau did before showing him the door was give him his final performance review, in which he was "excellent" and "outstanding."

All known internal threats to the FBI during its history were white, Christian employees.

Abdel-Hafiz does not believe the FBI is purging Muslims as a deliberate strategy. For him, the bureau leadership is blind to the fears of non-white officials, particularly Muslims, who cannot seem to escape internal suspicion.

"Comey, in my opinion, he's a politician. He wants to ride the wave and look good. That was my opinion then, and what he did with Hillary, the Hillary investigation, sealed the deal. He just cares about how he looks," said Abdel-Hafiz, now a private investigator in Houston.

He continued: "They harass the Muslims within the bureau, and then they beg for help within the Muslim community. How hypocritical is this? At the same time they put me in the Parm program, they were asking me to recruit people for them."

Muslims inside FBI describe culture of suspicion and fear: 'It is cancer'
[Spencer Ackerman/The Guardian]

(Image: Eric Kruszewski for the Guardian)

(via Naked Capitalism)