SoCal Man Claims He Was FBI Spy Among Muslims

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A man who claims he spied on Orange County
mosques for the FBI says he wants to clear his name of suspicions
that he might have promoted terrorist activities.

Craig Monteilh, 46, of Irvine claimed in court documents filed
Wednesday that he infiltrated mosques while serving as an informant
from July 2006 to October 2007.

He said he was befriend by Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, a Tustin man
now charged with lying about his ties to a terrorist group on his
citizenship application.

Monteilh said he met Niazi at the Islamic Center of Irvine in
November 2006 and that over the next eight months Niazi talked
about jihad, gave him bomb-making lessons and discussed blowing up
buildings.

"He took me under his wing and began to radicalize me,"
Monteilh told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published
Thursday.

Niazi, 34, an Afghan native who gained U.S. citizenship in 2004,
is the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden's bodyguard. He was
arrested Friday on charges that he lied about ties with terrorist
groups on his citizenship and passport documents.

His bail was set at $500,000 at a federal court hearing on
Tuesday.

A Muslim advocacy group has demanded a federal investigation
into whether Niazi was arrested because he had refused to become an
FBI informant after telling the agency in 2007 about an extremist
Muslim convert.

Monteilh claimed he was acting as the convert while working as
an FBI informant.

In the papers filed in Orange County Superior Court on
Wednesday, Monteilh said he was contacted by FBI agents in 2006. He
said he began attending daily prayers at the Islamic Center of
Irvine three times a day and Friday prayers for 11 months and began
pushing an agenda that involved organizing terrorist activities at
the direction of FBI agents.

Monteilh said agents told him his work was part of a national
security directive called Operation Flex.

Monteilh said that he always carried electronic video and
listening devices and sent written reports daily to the FBI.

In June 2007, the Islamic Center won a court's temporary
restraining order barring Monteilh from the mosque, citing
complaints from Muslims that he was promoting terrorist plots and
trying to recruit others, making members feel threatened.

Monteilh, who said he was a self-employed fitness consultant, on
Wednesday asked the court to lift the order keeping him away from
the Islamic Center in order to clear his name. A hearing has been
set for March 20.

Niazi and another man said they were concerned because the
convert was talking about jihad and suggested planning a terrorist
attack, according to court documents and police reports.

The FBI has not specifically identified Monteilh as an FBI
informant. On Thursday, spokeswoman Cathy Viray declined to comment to The Associated Press about the newspaper report.


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