Here’s a long read in the New York Times Magazine that will help you understand why, when interacting with Somali refugees and immigrants, the notion that you’re from the government and here to help might be viewed with deep suspicion.
The story, I Helped Destroy People, chronicles the story of Shakopee FBI agent Terry Albury, convicted for revealing documents that outline a systematic and highly questionable campaign that transformed the war on terror into broad-based harassment of local Somali families.
Asbury got four years in federal prison for his whistle-blowing revelations.
In the story, Hina Shamsi, director of the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, observes of Asbury, “For years we’ve been hearing from people who were surveilled or investigated or watchlisted with no apparent basis for the F.B.I. to suspect wrongdoing, but based primarily on their race or religion or political organizing and beliefs. And here’s someone (Asbury) who was trying to do the right things from inside government, and ended up either participating or being a witness or adjacent to a range of abuses that defined, and continue to define, the post-9/11 era. What are you supposed to do as a person of conscience when you see what your country is doing?”