Friday, October 1, 2010 at 12 p.m.
Remember Craig Monteilh? The convicted con artist and OC Weeklycover story subject
who claims he helped the FBI foil an OC terrorist cell operating inside local mosques only to be abandoned by the agency after they stopped believing his stories? The guy who claimed he was a hero for helping the feds fight terror, but whose activities led only to the arrest of an Afghan immigrant named Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, who allegedly lied on his visa application about one of his in-laws being involved with Al Qaeda? The guy who promised that Niazi's arrest was just the tip of the iceberg and that soon the feds would be taking down an entire terrorist cell in Orange County?
Well, surprise, surprise, no big terror plot was ever uncovered. And as the OC Register
reported yesterday, federal prosecutors have just asked a judge to drop all charges against Niazi, who they charged with immigration fraud last year after he refused to become an informant for the FBI. Refused is a bit of a misnomer, because in fact, Niazi did have a brief stint as a a federal informant.
To wit: after Monteilh, posing as a Muslim convert, began talking terror plots with Niazi, the latter approached the FBI with the help of lawyers with the Council on American Islamic Relations, (CAIR) and told them all about Monteilh's scary rhetoric, which as it turned out was just a ruse to attract supposed jihadis. Of course, the feds already knew about Monteilh, since he was busy telling them that Niazi was a terrorist.
After going to the feds with information about someone he assumed was a potential terrorist, Niazi had the misfortune of being pressured for months to become an informant himself. When he rebuffed those efforts, the feds, allegedly armed with an audiotape made by Monteilh in which Niazi said nice things about Osama bin Laden, raided Niazi's house at gunpoint and charged him with immigration fraud.
Other than lining the pockets of a con artist, all the FBI managed to accomplish was setting off a national controversy on the use of informants inside mosques. And Monteilh? He's now suing the FBI for allegedly violating his civil rights by finally waking up and not intervening when cops busted him for grand theft. So much for probably the dumbest operation ever carried out in the name of the U.S. war on terror except for--maybe, just maybe--the U.S. invasion of Iraq.