Newly disclosed leaks from Edward Snowden have identified five innocent Americans who were spied on by the National Security Agency. The news website The Intercept reports all five are Muslim Americans: Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights group; Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative; two professors, Hooshang Amirahmadi of Rutgers University and Agha Saeed, formerly of California State University; and a prominent attorney, Asim Ghafoor, who has represented clients in terror-related cases. The five were among thousands of names in a database listing email accounts monitored between 2002 and 2008. None of the five have been charged with any crime. All appear to have been targeted for their Muslim backgrounds and ties to various Muslim causes or individual cases involving Muslims. In a video from The Intercept, Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations expressed outrage at being spied on by his government.
Nihad Awad, CAIR: “I was not aware that I was under surveillance, except recently. And I’m outraged that as an American citizen, my government, after decades of civil rights struggle, still the government spies on political activists and civil rights activists and leaders. It is outrageous, and I’m really angry that despite all the work that we have been doing in our communities to serve the nation, to serve our communities, we are treated with suspicion.”
Tune into Democracy Now! on Thursday when we’ll speak with the lead reporter on this story, Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept.