Arab-American Agent Files Discrimination Lawsuit against F.B.I.

July 19, 2003

Source: The New York Times

On July 19, 2003 The New York Times reported that "the F.B.I.'s highest-ranking Arab-American agent has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the bureau, charging that he was kept out of the investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackings because of his ancestry... The agent, Bassem Youssef, filed the lawsuit on Friday in Federal District Court for the District of Columbia. Mr. Youssef, a naturalized American citizen born in Egypt, said in his complaint that 'no other non-Arab F.B.I. employee with similar background and experience was willfully blocked from working 9/11-related matters...' Some of the actions against him had broader implications, Mr. Youssef said in his complaint, undermining important counterterrorism investigations prior to the attacks. 'The F.B.I. permitted racism to interfere with national security,' Mr. Youssef said in an earlier filing with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's equal opportunity office."