Numerous reports have emerged that after the 9/11 attacks, various government agencies responded by treating all Muslims as suspect.
In April, the NYPD suspended what the ACLU described as a 12-year program of “suspicionless surveillance of Muslims in New York City and beyond.” According to the Associated Press, the operation relied on “unprecedented help from the CIA in a partnership that has blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying.”
In 2011, Wired reported that the FBI was training its “counterterrorism agents that ‘main stream’ [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a ‘cult leader’; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a ‘funding mechanism for combat.'”
Today, Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain report for The Intercept that the NSA and the FBI were also surveilling a number of prominent Muslim-Americans, including members of the US national security establishment.
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.
According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the list of Americans monitored by their own government includes:
• Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;
• Asim Ghafoor, a prominent attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases;
• Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University;
• Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University who champions Muslim civil liberties and Palestinian rights;
• Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country….
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.
It comes on the heels of new revelations about the breadth of NSA surveillance that emerged over the Fourth of July weekend.