Menu
Groups call for details on NSA surveillance of Muslim Americans

Groups call for details on NSA surveillance of Muslim Americans

Civil rights and privacy groups question the alleged email surveillance after a news report

More than 40 privacy, civil rights and religious groups have called on President Barack Obama's administration to provide a "full public accounting" of long-time email surveillance of prominent Muslims living in the U.S., following a news report detailing the spying by the U.S. National Security Agency and FBI.

The Intercept on Wednesday published a story showing surveillance records at the NSA targeting five prominent Muslim Americans, including a Rutgers professor, a lawyer and the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR], a Muslim civil rights group. The NSA and FBI are secretly snooping on several other Muslims living in the U.S., the story said.

More than 40 groups -- including CAIR, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Free Press, and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. -- sent a letter to Obama Wednesday and called for his administration to strengthen protections for civil liberties and human rights.

The U.S. government "has an obligation to explain the basis for its actions," the letter said.

The surveillance raises concerns about potential abuse, the letter added. "We cannot presume that the government acted without prejudice or bias," the letter said. "Too often, both in the past and the present, we have observed the government engaging in patterns of discriminatory and abusive surveillance."

The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Office of Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement saying that U.S. intelligence agencies do not conduct electronic surveillance as a way to "suppress criticism" of the government.

"It is entirely false that U.S. intelligence agencies conduct electronic surveillance of political, religious or activist figures solely because they disagree with public policies or criticize the government, or for exercising constitutional rights," the statement said. "Our intelligence agencies help protect America by collecting communications when they have a legitimate foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose."

U.S. intelligence agencies, in non-emergency cases, must have a court order to target any U.S. resident with electronic surveillance, the statement continued.

"These court orders are issued by an independent federal judge only if probable cause, based on specific facts, are established that the person is an agent of a foreign power, a terrorist, a spy, or someone who takes orders from a foreign power," the statement added. "The United States is as committed to protecting privacy rights and individual freedom as we are to defending our national security."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentprivacyinternetMailBarack Obamafbifree pressU.S. Department of JusticeInternet-based applications and servicesAmerican Civil Liberties UnionU.S. National Security AgencyAmnesty InternationalU.S. Office of Director of National IntelligenceCouncil on American-Islamic RelationsPresbyterian Church U.S.A.

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments