The FBI demanded that Ahmad Chebli, a U.S. citizen, become an informant on the Lebanese community. The agents threatened to punish him and his family with specious investigations, false arrest and personal surveillance. They even threatened to take away his children and interfere with his wife's naturalization application. And when he refused, they put him on the No Fly List after he took a flight abroad to visit family. Chelbi, with the ACLU, is now suing to force the government to say why he is on the No Fly List—in essence, an effort to end use of the No Fly List as a form of extralegal punishment for Arabs who refuse to become secret informants.
I repeatedly insisted I did not want to work for the FBI, but they kept increasing the pressure. I was shocked when the FBI agents accused me of affiliation with a terrorist group. I vehemently denied their false accusations, but it didn't seem to matter. My anxiety level rose even more when the agents threatened my family and me. They said that if I didn't agree to become an informant, my family would be investigated, my wife and I could be arrested, my children could be taken away, and my wife's immigration status could be at risk.
Eventually, the FBI agents told me I faced a choice: I could stay in America and become an informant — and their suspicions about me would "go away" — or I could leave the country. If I stayed and did not become an informant, my family and I would be subjected to more surveillance and investigation, specifically threatening to reach out to my family, friends, and employer.