ACLU fights US government’s attempt to block release of information about FBI mosque surveillance

The ACLU of Southern California is protesting the U.S. government’s attempt to block information from being released in a lawsuit over the FBI’s monitoring of Orange County mosques.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice are trying to invoke the seldom-used state secrets privilege to avoid talking about how the FBI paid at least one informant to monitor mosques in 2006. They want the judge to toss the lawsuit.

The ACLU said in a statement Friday that lawyers have filed a motion urging the court not to dismiss the case until it has ruled on whether the state secrets doctrine can properly be invoked.

In February, the ACLU and others accused the FBI of carrying out surveillance at mosques because the agency was targeting Muslims.

Associated Press, 5 August 2011

See also ACLU press release, 5 August 2011

Update:  See Hamed Aleaziz, “Want to sue the FBI for spying on your mosque? Sorry, that’s secret”, Mother Jones, 8 August 2011