Tags: Feds | After | Terrorists | Michigan

Feds Go After Terrorists in Michigan

Tuesday, 12 November 2002 12:00 AM

Federal investigators also have stepped up their surveillance of the Detroit area's many Muslims to try to run down links to the al-Qaeda terrorist network.

Agents are asking drivers for their citizenship and demanding documentation for non-citizens. Every car is being stopped, the U.S. Border Patrol said.

Rolling traffic stops are being conducted in the Port Huron and Trenton areas of Michigan, but not in Detroit itself because of the high volume of traffic.

Federal law allows stops within 25 miles of the border. Such stops have long been the practice along the U.S. border with Mexico.

The Michigan anti-terrorist effort includes increased undercover infiltration of Muslim groups, creation of a network of street informants and increased Internal Revenue Service examination of charities and businesses, Muslim leaders and attorneys said.

Ibrahim Hooper of Council on American-Islamic Relations said the increased scrutiny unfairly targeted Muslims and Arabs.

Self-described civil liberties advocates accuse authorities of approaching Muslims indiscriminately when they enter the United States, especially people coming from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Canada has warned its citizens born in those countries against traveling to the United States as a result of the increased scrutiny.

But many Americans point out that all the Sept. 11 terrorists were Muslims and that most terrorists in recent years were from such Arab nations as Saudi Arabia, Yemen and other countries mentioned above.

"A lot of work that's being done here deals with the financial aspect of support for terrorism, not only with collections at mosques but with criminal activity," John Bell Jr., the retired head of Detroit's FBI office, told Tuesday's Detroit Free Press. Similar federal activity is reported in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo said such investigations often lead back to Michigan.

"It's the largest investigation in the history of the United States," Corallo said.

As a result, the size of the Detroit FBI office has doubled and agents have won wider powers to wiretap, read e-mail and seize records, Bell said.

FBI spokeswoman Dawn Clenney told the Free Press the FBI believes al-Qaeda operatives, as well as operatives from other terrorist groups, remain in Michigan.

Hundreds of the 8,000 Arab and Muslim men sought for questioning in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have stayed in touch with federal investigators, the Free Press said. The result, Arab leaders complained, has been widespread paranoia within the Muslim "community."

Copyright 2002 by United Press International.

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Federal investigators also have stepped up their surveillance of the Detroit area's many Muslims to try to run down links to the al-Qaeda terrorist network. Agents are asking drivers for their citizenship and demanding documentation for non-citizens. Every car is being...
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2002-00-12
Tuesday, 12 November 2002 12:00 AM
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