The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday accused the FBI of profiling Muslims and other minorities and targeting them for investigation, allegations that FBI officials quickly disputed.
Unveiling a new project called “Mapping the FBI,’’ the ACLU used internal bureau documents to portray the FBI as linking criminal behavior to racial and ethnic groups and using U.S. census data to “map” those communities so they can be investigated.
The civil liberties group posted the documents on the Internet and vowed to further expose what it called unconstitutional FBI tactics.
In one document that was highlighted, a 2009 memo in the FBI’s Detroit field office sought permission to collect information on Middle East terrorist groups in Michigan, noting that: “Because Michigan has a large Middle Eastern and Muslim population, it is prime territory for attempted radicalization and recruitment by these terrorist groups.’’
But the same memo pointed out that the terrorist groups “use an extreme and violent interpretation of the Muslim faith,’’ appearing to make a distinction between extremists and other Muslims. And each document was heavily redacted, leaving unclear what agents did with any information they collected.