FBI Accused of National-Origin Discrimination

     (CN) — A former FBI surveillance specialist claims in court that the agency fired him because he is an Arab-American, not because he racked up debt on a government credit card.
     Raymond Jamal Tahir, who began working for the FBI in 1986, was fired in 2013 after an internal investigation allegedly found that he used his government-issued credit card for more than 200 personal purchases, according to court records.
     Tahir says this was a “vicious sanction,” however, and that investigators disregarded his exemplary work history because of his Turkish descent.
     He claims in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Eastern North Carolina Federal Court that he and other non-white workers were treated as “second-class employees” by their white supervisor, Jennifer McMillan.
     The complaint alleges Tahir and a number of black employees were denied advanced training and singled out for disciplinary matters and counseling sessions.
     The FBI began its investigation into Tahir after receiving notice that his government credit card had an outstanding balance of more than $9,000.
     Tahir admits to some of the purchases on the card, but says he could not have made others — such as three purchases from Dearborn, Mich., including the purchase of a candy bar.
     Tahir’s alleged ties to Dearborn were especially significant to internal agency
     investigators due to the city’s large Arab population and history of terrorist activity, the complaint states.
     He insists he couldn’t have made the purchases, however, as they appear to have been made in person while he was in North Carolina.
     Tahir was previously suspended in 2000 for unauthorized government credit card use. He now cites a 2010 case in which another employee was disciplined for violating the same offense a second time, but it resulted in a 15-day suspension, not termination.
     The investigating unit recommended his firing while his national origin was “paraded in front of them,” based on alleged misconduct in Dearborn, “the nation’s most notorious Arab terrorist breeding ground,” according to the lawsuit.
     Tahir seeks a declaration that Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the FBI violated his rights, as well as full back pay, benefits and undetermined damages. He is represented by J. Denton Adams of Bratcher & Adams in Raleigh, N.C.
     The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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