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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/10/2014 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Agency's claims it never spies on Americans without probable cause

The National Security Agency has even more to answer for. According to former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, both the NSA and the FBI monitored emails of at least five prominent Muslim Americans. These law-abiding citizens were spied upon using a program intended only to monitor communications of suspected terrorists and foreign spies.

Of the prominent Muslim Americans targeted by the NSA was Faisal Gill, a Republican Party operative who was employed by the Department of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush administration.

Of the prominent Muslim Americans targeted by the NSA was Faisal Gill, a Republican Party operative who was employed by the Department of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush administration.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/10/2014 (9 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Muslim Americans, NSA, racial slurs, emails


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The documents, list numerous email addresses for surveillance targets. As first reported on by journalist Glenn Greenwald on The Intercept, while most of the thousands of email addresses appear to belong to foreign nationals, 202 are listed as belonging to "U.S. persons." These include five that belong to Muslim Americans who are well known for their advocacy work in the U.S.

Training material leaked to the Web site reportedly uses the racial slur "Mohammed Raghead" to refer to Muslims. The White House says it doesn't tolerate racist language and as such was looking into the allegation.

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Meanwhile, the Department of Justice said it was "entirely false" that U.S. agencies would monitor individuals on the sole basis that they criticize the government.

"As the NSA has said, the use of racial or ethnic stereotypes, slurs, or other similar language by employees is both unacceptable and inconsistent with the country's core values," spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

"The Administration takes all such allegations extremely seriously, and upon learning of this matter the White House immediately requested that the Director of National Intelligence undertake an assessment of Intelligence Community policies, training standards or directives that promote diversity and tolerance, and as necessary, make any recommendations, changes or additional reforms."

Of the five prominent targeted Muslim Americans were:

Asim Ghafoor, an attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases; Hooshang Amirahmadi, a professor at Rutgers University; Faisal Gill, a Republican Party operative who was employed by the Department of Homeland Security during the George W. Bush administration; Nihad Awad, the executive director of the most prominent Muslim American rights organization in the U.S., the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); and Agha Saeed, an activist for Muslim and Palestinian civil rights and a former professor.

As expected - many have ties to the U.S. government -- all five have vehemently deny being connected to any terrorist or spy organizations. The incident raises questions over the legal justification under which the NSA and FBI could have obtained warrants to spy on the individuals.

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