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Fear, terror and the mosques

March 07, 2009

Re "Muslims say FBI spying is causing anxiety," March 1

If the teaching in mosques is about love, compassion and doing good deeds, why are Muslims fearful?

Discussions about jihad, killings and destruction of lives and property should be reported to authorities.

Muslims who are pure of heart -- honest, law-abiding citizens -- have nothing to fear.

Herbert J. Young

Beverly Hills

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Unfortunately, it's much more difficult to catch real terrorists than it is to catch mosque-goers.

It's hard to prevent a determined terrorist such as Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph or Oklahoma federal building bomber Timothy McVeigh. It took 18 years for the FBI to correctly identify the "Unabomber," Ted Kaczynski. And it didn't help to round up immigrants after 9/11; it just diverted resources.

The FBI's investigative guidelines used to require some level of factual justification. But that quaint notion has been replaced with the "Bush doctrine," which allows the FBI to do the easy thing and send infiltrators and provocateurs into protest groups and churches.

We learned that this didn't work after the FBI wasted years on communist witch-hunt surveillance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders. But it's amazing how silly people can become when the government scares them.

Injecting fear into the FBI's mission is not going to make any American safer. It only sets the stage for repeating the stupid mistakes of the past.

Coleen Rowley

Apple Valley, Minn.

The writer is a former FBI agent and whistle-blower.

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