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Whistleblower: Racial profiling continues amongst FBI agents

How does the FBI decide who to investigate? Does nationality, religion or ethnicity enter into the calculation? It shouldn't, but a former agent has raised alarm bells that possible racial profiling practices are ongoing at the federal agency.

A plea agreement reached by the only African-American agent once working counterintelligence out of the Minnesota field office reveals that he leaked documents to the press regarding racial and ethnically influenced investigatory parameters set forth by internal Bureau documents. The agent could spend years in prison for his role in calling attention to this issue.

Intimidation of minority communities

He allegedly shared documents with the press related to his concerns that FBI directives "profiled and intimidated minority communities...." And many of the counterintelligence investigations in Minnesota focused on the state's minority Somali-American community.

One of the documents classified as "secret," was titled "relating to threats posed by certain individuals from a particular Middle Eastern country." A news organization published an entry in its "FBI's Secret Rules" series on a related topic - use of nationality and ethnicity in determining who to investigate.

The FBI looked back at a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Intercept, an online "adversarial journalism" organization, that referenced secret documents. Researching the agent's activity on FBI information systems showed he had accessed two-thirds of the documents that later ended up online. After he attempted to address his concerns through internal channels, he has been criminally and internally punished for going a more public route.

Discriminatory investigations and you

Because the FBI has and potentially continues to rely on questionable profiling policies, people of color, religious minorities and other unfairly targeted groups could find themselves facing federal investigation.

If the FBI contacts you, you should immediately seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Doing so will help protect your rights and could prevent you from inadvertently jeopardizing your freedom.

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