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Judge to review records of FBI inquiries into Muslim groups

April 21, 2009|Associated Press

A federal judge in Santa Ana said Monday that he will review records of FBI inquiries into several Muslim groups and activists who claim they have been unfairly spied on and questioned.

U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney ordered the FBI to turn over more than 100 pages of documents the agency holds on 11 Muslim activists and organizations, to determine whether the information should be released to the public or protected under federal law.

The decision comes amid a nearly three-year battle by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Muslim groups to obtain records they say would prove the FBI is unlawfully targeting Muslims in Southern California.

Carney also said the FBI must broaden its search for records on the Council on American-Islamic Relations to include electronic surveillance, as the agency did for the other plaintiffs.

Marcia Sowles, an attorney for the Department of Justice, told the court the FBI may seek to keep some information private because of national security or privacy concerns once Carney's review is complete.

The records "do concern investigations of others because they were identified through cross-references and the plaintiffs were not the subjects of those investigations," Sowles told the judge.

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