FBI asked to investigate agents who allegedly intimidated Somali manby Brandt Williams, Minnesota Public Radio
MINNEAPOLIS — An advocacy group for Muslims in Minnesota has asked the FBI to investigate claims that some of its agents repeatedly tried to intimidate a Somali man.
Lori Saroya, executive director of the Minnesota chapter for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Somali accuser alleges that two FBI agents tried several times to enlist him as an undercover informant. When the man refused their offers, the agents allegedly threatened the man, Saroya said.
"They told him if he didn't work for them, if he did not become an informant, that the agents would delay his immigration — his immigration papers," Saroya said. "They told him they would spread a picture of him all over the community. And after they did that, everyone in the community would be scared to talk to him."
An FBI spokesman said the agency's Minneapolis branch is investigating the claim.
FBI Chief Division Counsel/Media Coordinator Kyle Loven said the agency enjoys a good working relationship with the city's Somali community and wants to maintain it.
"We consider that community to be a vital partner in some of our efforts," Loven said. "Obviously, we strive to maintain the strength of that relationship."
Loven would not comment on the nature of the allegations, but said the complaints were outlined in a letter the FBI received from the Council on American Islamic Relations.
Over the last several years the FBI has investigated links between local Somalis and the terrorist group al-Shabab. The government believes more than 20 Twin Cities men have traveled to Somalia to fight for al-Shabab.