We don’t call him Turban Durbin for nothing.
(Guardian) — Training materials used by the FBI for dealing with American Muslims and other Islamic communities have advised agents they can break the law and impinge on some of their targets’ civil rights.
The instructions were contained in confidential materials reviewed by the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of an internal FBI probe into what sort of training agents were exposed to when dealing with Islam.
The investigation uncovered 876 pages and 392 presentations that failed to meet standards or could be considered offensive amid more than 160,000 pages of FBI documents and slides.
Though that material has not been published — and senate staffers were not allowed to keep copies — committee member Senator Dick Durbin has revealed some of its contents in a letter written to FBI director Robert Mueller.
In the letter — first revealed by the Danger Room blog on wired.com — Durbin describes one slide that read: “Under certain circumstances, the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law and impinge on freedoms of others.”
That comment is sure to anger civil liberties groups and Muslim community organisations who have long complained that their community has been subject to undue harassment and racial profiling by law enforcement.
Durbin describes several other slides that apparently deal in broad cultural stereotypes but were also part of FBI training. “Never attempt to shake hands with an Asian,” said one slide under the heading “Establishing Relationships”.
Others advised FBI agents to “Never stare at an Asian” and “Never try to speak to an Arab female prior to approaching Arab male first”. Instructions were also given in slides that while the “Western mind” was an “even keel”, in the Arab world “outbursts and loss of control expected”. One slide even asked: “What’s wrong with frequent Jekyll and Hyde temper tantrums?”
In his letter Durbin asked for the materials to be made public, for the individuals who created it to be provided with retraining and for FBI agents exposed to it to also be retrained.