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Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On 223

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the electric-eye dept.
Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes The National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans — including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers — under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies. From the article: "The individuals appear on an NSA spreadsheet in the Snowden archives called 'FISA recap.' Under that law, the Justice Department must convince a judge with the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that there is probable cause to believe that American targets are not only agents of an international terrorist organization or other foreign power, but also 'are or may be' engaged in or abetting espionage, sabotage, or terrorism. The authorizations must be renewed by the court, usually every 90 days for U.S. citizens. ... The five Americans whose email accounts were monitored by the NSA and FBI have all led highly public, outwardly exemplary lives. All five vehemently deny any involvement in terrorism or espionage, and none advocates violent jihad or is known to have been implicated in any crime, despite years of intense scrutiny by the government and the press. Some have even climbed the ranks of the U.S. national security and foreign policy establishments."
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Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On

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  • Probable cause (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qbast (1265706) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:10PM (#47416123)
    Apparently being Muslim is good enough for probable cause. So much for freedom of religion.
    • To be honest, in the presence of taqiyya, a fanatic jihadist could be easily expected to lead an exemplary public life provided that he considered it important for the cause.
      • Re:Probable cause (Score:4, Insightful)

        by thaylin (555395) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:33PM (#47416357)
        So it is ok to profile people because they may be lying about who and what they are? Sounds like a police state to me.
        • It is my understanding that police forces are doing this everywhere. You just can't arrest all the grannies in the area whenever someone gets mugged. You'd have to wait for a utopia for this to end.
        • Islam has a problem (Score:2, Informative)

          by Bruce66423 (1678196)
          The traditional understanding of the faith is that it is a military organisation, committed to the conquest of the world to establish the kingdom of Allah by force. Many Muslims have abandoned this belief - but there is an important element in Islam which allows a Muslim to lie if it will advance the cause of Islam. Therefore it is impossible to trust what Muslims say about their beliefs - because they are free to lie. In this context being a muslim could be argued to be 'probable cause' for surveillance. H
      • by MRe_nl (306212)

        To be honest, under duress, any fanatic could easily be expected to lead an exemplary public life provided that he considered it important for the cause.

        • That's obviously the case. The religious motivation adds an additional impetus, thought. But you're right that the "exemplary citizen" defense doesn't apply to anyone.
      • And there were "Commernists hiding under every beadstead" in the 50's.

        Your neo-Macarthyism is based in pure irrational hate/bias. As such, you will always find an unassailable, self-justification for insisting on your views.

        • And there were "Commernists hiding under every beadstead" in the 50's.

          Except that he was at least partly right. That doesn't justify his actions, of course, but he was by no means a pure paranoic.

          Your neo-Macarthyism is based in pure irrational hate/bias.

          Wouldn't I have to be a right-winger to be able to be a "neo-Macarthyist"? I know I get labeled as a "godless commie" by Americans. Also, my opposition to ludicrous fairy tales with no foundation in reality hardly seems irrational. It's a waste of time at best times, and oftentimes it gives some people stupid ideas.

          • OK. To de-escalate, and in the interest of trying an educational dialogue, I will attempt to clarify what appears to be an assumption in the posting to which I responded.

            You mention "taqiyya" as a point of doctrine, or an approved mode for action, by those who profess a "witnessing" of Islam ("tashud").

            This is in most was incorrect. Certainly, it is misleading, as a generalization. Al-Taqiyya is usually translated as "dissimulation". There are numerous arguments about the permissibility of this specific

            • This is all fine and dandy, but even if all that is true and correct, 1) doesn't that assume that all Muslims are theologians of your calibre to interpret things correctly (and I see them bickering how this and that should be interpreted with a frequency hardly lesser than that of Christians of various denominations arguing over parts of the Bible), and 2) given that it seems that virtually any provision in "holy books" has been misused at least once in history in the way described by the proverb "give the
              • There is still an instrument for guiding one's evaluation of claims and conundrums: Cui Bono?

                In matters of human affairs, it is generally less erring than application of Occam's razor.

                "Someone" is interested in getting you to think that the biggest potential for catastrophe, in your daily life and for your way of living, is impending Muslim ideological violence. They wish you to believe an absurdity.

                What group or party benefits from this? Why have they chosen this from other possible alternatives? What ot

                • There may be such people, but given my general suspicion of ideologies, I don't even need to listen to them to be wary of anything that comes out of any religion, regardless of the pathway such damage to the society takes. But obviously, the fact that there might be yet another group with an agenda is independently worrisome.
      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        And of course you could be such a fanatic jihadist pretending to not even be muslim. So you want mind if the FBI goes through all your communications and belongings anytime they feel like it. And of course you won't mind the occasional week long questioning session..

        • I have no communications FBI might want or be able to intercept, my belongings are physically removed from the nearest US territory by at least seventy miles (plus thousands of miles away from the continental US), and I'd be perfectly happy to chat with them in a local café on fascinating international topics, but I suspect the café owner would throw us out before midnight.
          • by fizzer06 (1500649)
            The Feds kidnapped a "suspected" Russian hacker (Roman Valerevich Seleznev) in the Maldives the other day and flew him to Guam. I wouldn't feel too safe.
    • Re:Probable cause (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:37PM (#47416385) Journal

      What a Muslim American Said to Defend His Patriotism
      http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/07/what-a-muslim-american-said-to-defend-his-patriotism/374137/ [theatlantic.com]

      -"You should be active in your community. And I have done that. The fact that I was surveilled in spite of doing all thatâ"it just goes to show you the hysteria that everybody feels."
      -"I've never given a speech where I've said any ill feelings toward the United States."
      -"I was a very conservative, Reagan-loving Republican."
      -"I watch sports. I watch football. My kids are all raised here. My kids at that time went to Catholic school. It isn't as if I was raising them in a different way ..."

      Gill correctly perceives that we'll all know what he means when he invokes the characteristics he possesses that would seem to make him less suspicious. The fact that most people internalize these judgments to some degree illustrates how chilling effects work: Americans, especially those who belong to minority groups, formulate a sense of what speech and actions will cast suspicion on or away from them.

      Chilling Effects.

    • Apparently being Muslim is good enough for probable cause. So much for freedom of religion.

      I'm pretty sure that the agencies in question did not tell these people they aren't free to be Muslims.

    • by brianerst (549609)

      To be fair, at least one of the targets (Nihad Awad of CAIR) appears to have been targeted only during the period that his organization was labelled an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism trial. When the label was removed (by court order), the surveillance stopped. (This assumes that the data released by Greenwald is complete and the lack of surveillance after January 2008 is real.)

      Awad has some questionable associations in his background but that alone shouldn't be cause to put

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:12PM (#47416151)

    Yeah, it's a good thing they are monitoring civil rights activists because the last thing we want in America is civil liberties and rights. Civil rights and freedoms are unAmerican and have no business here.

    Why yes, I do watch Fox News. why do you ask?

    • Why yes, I do watch Fox News. why do you ask?

      Because citizens who do not watch Fox News are threats to national security, and are therefore placed under surveillance. No need for you to be concer...oh wait, you're posting on a known subversive site that is part of our selector set. I guess we'll be watching you after all.

    • Some things don't change. The spooks payed a lot of attention to black folks when civil rights were blooming as an issue.. Apparently they still seek to spy upon the NAACP and other civil rights workers. Quite a bit of this twisted behavior comes from the second half of the law and order mission. Any thoughts or actions that cause change also generate a certain amount of disorder. And that gets the covert agents excited. Protest is seen as a threat to the establishment. Even a quiet life
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:17PM (#47416211) Homepage

    Until they incorporate they're not entitled to free speech or religious exemptions.

    • Not just that, they have to be heavy donors to a SuperPAC in order to have basic rights...

      • by idontgno (624372)

        See? The perfect marriage of American Patriotic Capitalism and American Freedom! Bid for rights! You have every right you can afford!

    • by chispito (1870390)

      Until they incorporate they're not entitled to free speech or religious exemptions.

      Non sequitur.

      One is a case involving employer responsibilities for health care, in light of the religious views of the employers. The other is an article about individuals being surveiled for their religious views.

  • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:18PM (#47416221)

    Back in the 50s and 60s, when the Civil Rights Movement was starting to pick up, the FBI had files on most of the major civil rights leaders, even those that advocated purely peaceful resistance. I recall reading an interview with a high-ranking FBI official at the time who said that J. Edgar Hoover was particularly proud of the file he had on Martin Luther King. They tracked relationships between civil rights groups, and tried to watch them all. I'm fairly certain that there were also secret wiretaps done on some of the people they were tracking, though I don't remember if that was the case with MLK or not.

    If you look on the list, the agency responsible for maintaining the surveillance against the Muslim-Americans targeted in this case is the FBI. They haven't changed much since 1960, and it shows.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:34PM (#47416361) Journal
      If memory serves, the ostensible logic was that civil rights groups were pawns of International Communism(because clearly only sinister foreign influences could have given the negro the crazy idea that certain aspects of American life were less than ideal) and thus a terrifying internal threat. That, and Hoover just didn't feel alive if he wasn't wiretapping somebody.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm fairly certain that there were also secret wiretaps done on some of the people they were tracking, though I don't remember if that was the case with MLK or not.

      Not only did they wiretap MLK, they bugged his hotel room and then used the recordings to try to blackmail him. [firedoglake.com]

  • No Warrant? (Score:5, Informative)

    by weilawei (897823) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:18PM (#47416223) Homepage

    Under the heading “Nationality,” the list designates 202 email addresses as belonging to “U.S. persons,” 1,782 as belonging to “non-U.S. persons,” and 5,501 as “unknown” or simply blank. The Intercept identified the five Americans placed under surveillance from their email addresses.

    It is unclear whether the government obtained any legal permission to monitor the Americans on the list. The FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment for this story. During the course of multiple conversations with The Intercept, the NSA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence urged against publication of any surveillance targets. “Except in exceptional circumstances,” they argued, surveillance directly targeting Americans is conducted only with court-approved warrants. Last week, anonymous officials told another news outlet that the government did not have a FISA warrant against at least one of the individuals named here during the timeframe covered by the spreadsheet.

    So, for all the idiots arguing that we have FISA to make sure mass surveillance isn't abused: it looks like they've decided to skip that step entirely.

  • Incorporate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:21PM (#47416251) Homepage Journal

    Every American should incorporate themselves. It's the only way to guarantee you have rights. If you are a closely held corporation, your religious rights cannot be infringed, your property cannot be confiscated, you can commit heinous crimes and only face a fine (no jail time for CEOs); and furthermore, NSA "spying" can be sued over as industrial espionage or as copyright violations under intellectual property rights laws.

    Basically you have way more rights as a corporation. If you're an individual or "citizen", you're screwed.

    • by GlennC (96879)

      ^^^ THIS ^^^

      Since I don't have any mod points, please accept a virtual +10 from me.

    • by ADRA (37398)

      Generally speaking, if you're a major shareholder with inside knowledge of wrongdoing and the power to change it, you can be personally held accountable for the actions of ' the corporation'. Since you're a 1 man band, you'd be guaranteed to meet the two conditions and be thrown in jail regardless of the veil of a 'corporate shield' or not.

    • About that.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @12:58PM (#47416619)

      Every American should incorporate themselves. It's the only way to guarantee you have rights. If you are a closely held corporation, your religious rights cannot be infringed, your property cannot be confiscated, you can commit heinous crimes and only face a fine (no jail time for CEOs); and furthermore, NSA "spying" can be sued over as industrial espionage or as copyright violations under intellectual property rights laws.

      Basically you have way more rights as a corporation. If you're an individual or "citizen", you're screwed.

      I'm going to go out on a limb and guess you're someone who hates the recent hobby lobby decision; nonetheless, the opinion delivered by Alito directly addresses this 'corporations are treated like people and it's wrong!!!' outrage perpetuated by the left.

      "As we will show, Congress provided protection for people like the Hahns and Greens by employing a familiar legal fiction: It included corporations within RFRA’s definition of “persons.” But it is important to keep in mind that the purpose of this fiction is to provide protection for human beings. A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends. An established body of law specifies the rights and obligations of the people (including shareholders, officers, and employees) who are associated with a corporation in one way or another. When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people. For example, extending Fourth Amendment protection to corporations protects the privacy interests of employees and others associated with the company. Protecting corporations from government seizure of their property without just compensation protects all those who have a stake in the corporations’ financial well-being. And protecting the free-exercise rights of corporations like Hobby Lobby, Conestoga, and Mardel protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control those companies.

      In holding that Conestoga, as a “secular, for-profit corporation,” lacks RFRA protection, the Third Circuit wrote as follows: “General business corporations do not, separate and apart from the actions or belief systems of their individual owners or employees, exercise religion. They do not pray, worship, observe sacraments or take other religiously-motivated actions separate and apart from the intention and direction of their individual actors.” 724 F. 3d, at 385 (emphasis added).

      All of this is true—but quite beside the point. Corporations, “separate and apart from” the human beings who own, run, and are employed by them, cannot do anything at all."

  • This kind of behavior by the US government has the unintended consequence of creating more terrorists than it catches. The result is a vicious circle of rebellion and crackdown. It has already happened in the middle east with the constant meddling of the USA, and it is going to happen more and more at home. The country is already starting to divide into Patriots and Tories.

    As an example, the feds raid Waco, yada yada, Oklahoma City gets bombed. This is not to say that all was well with the Branch Davidi

    • by CountZer0 (60549)

      Other examples are Prohibition and the War on Drugs. We know how they turned out.

      Your usage of the past tense implies that you think either of these two things are over...

  • Many of the comments on First Look and even here are disturbing, both in their rancor and in their bigotry. These kind of haters represent a tiny but vocal minority of the US population but they seem seem to swarm to the comments sections of any story that touches on one of their hot button issues. This is especially true at "mainstream" media sites like Yahoo News, CNN, etc. Clearly their intent is to disguise their minority status and make it appear as if their radical opinions are mainstream.

    Do they h

    • Do they have RSS feeds or Twitter Bots or something that tell them "Muslim story on First Look - Troll Force GO!" or something? It's fkn amazing.

      I always wonder the same thing...and the answer is "maybe:"

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • These kind of haters represent a tiny but vocal minority of the US population but they seem seem to swarm to the comments sections of any story that touches on one of their hot button issues.

      This is true of many issues out there. There are techies that jump on everything they slightly disagree with. Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc ... they all have their vocal minority. Seems there will always be a group within any cause or idea that lets out the vitriol at the slightest opportunity.

      It's the price o
  • Hot Damn! A republican political candidate! This could not be better. I don't like either party, but the democrats will never address the NSA. It's just not part of their psyche to get up in arms about the government getting into their business.

    The republicans however? Their paranoid reactionary, "Government is bad" attitude could very well serve to light this fuse. This is probably the most helpful thing to come out of that archive. Everyone, get out there and start telling all your conservative friends ho

    • Naw, he's still an a-rab, and terreristy trumps republican.

      This is, however, part of what I've been waiting for for a year. I've always wanted Snowden through Greenwald to name names. They say they pick up everything but it's only the targets who get their emails read and their phone calls listened to. Okay, who are the targets? Names.

      So first they told us it wasn't Americans, it was only foreign terrorists. Now we find out they were targeting Americans. Now the Fox News crowd is going to say "yeah but it w

  • The Linux users are acremely fanatic in their believe. At least they do not spy on linux users [itworld.com] because that would be wrong. Right?
    And if it goes wrong, the USofA can just not elect those who do wrong. Right?
    I also hear people quoting some papers written several decades ago, so that is worth something as well. Right?

    (Not sure if people can detect sarcasm. Not even sure if this IS sarcasm or just really, really sad.)

  • Is this really news? Are we going to have an exposé entitled "Meet the model railroad enthusiasts the FBI and NSA have been spying on" ?

  • It spreads distrust and destroys social standards in common.

    Thus, paranoia is an inevitable reaction.

  • Sounds like a freakin witch hunt to me.... Salem all over again?

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