Tuesday, March 27, 2012

FOIA Documents Show FBI Using “Mosque Outreach” for Intelligence Gathering

By ACLU | ACLU.org | March 27, 2012 | [Original Article]

"NEW YORK – For several years, the FBI’s San Francisco office conducted a “Mosque Outreach” program through which it collected and illegally stored intelligence about American Muslims’ First Amendment-protected beliefs and religious practices, according to government documents released today by the American Civil Liberties Union from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Northern California, Asian Law Caucus and the San Francisco Bay Guardian...

...“Everyone understands that the FBI has a job to do, but it is wrong and counterproductive for the bureau to target American Muslim religious groups for secret intelligence gathering and place innocents at risk of investigation as national security threats,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “The FBI is casting a cloud of suspicion on American Muslim religious organizations based on their faith alone, which raises grave constitutional concerns. The bureau’s documentation of religious leaders’ and congregants’ beliefs and practices violates the Privacy Act, which Congress passed to protect Americans’ First Amendment rights.”...

...“The FBI can only be successful if the American public supports its mission and methods, and community outreach plays an essential role in building the trust and mutual understanding to ensure the FBI is effectively and appropriately protecting both our security our civil rights,” said Mike German, ACLU senior policy counsel and a former FBI agent. “By exploiting the good faith of Muslim groups and their members, the FBI is undermining community support for the government’s legitimate law enforcement activities.”..."

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