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FBI: Food monitoring report false

Nov. 26, 2007 at 8:06 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- The FBI, saying the story is "too ridiculous" to be believed, denies a report it is monitoring the sale of Middle Eastern food in San Francisco.

The so-called Falafel Investigation was the subject of a Congressional Quarterly article about a "supposed FBI program to monitor the sales of Middle Eastern food products in the San Francisco Bay area in support of counterterrorism intelligence-gathering," John Miller, assistant director of the FBI's Office of Public Affairs, wrote in a letter the agency made public Monday.

He said he never heard of the initiative, so he talked to counterterrorism managers and others who could have some knowledge about such a program.

"Nobody did," he said.

The alleged food monitoring plan, tagged by the article's author as ridiculous-sounding, really is "too ridiculous to be true," Miller said.

"While the story may have been the source of some amusement," he said, "I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight on something that touches on something so important as national security and civil liberties."

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