Ellison: NSA’s Targeting of Muslim-Americans Is ‘Wrong’

The first Muslim-American elected to Congress says he’s requesting more information on why five men were “targeted because of their faith.”

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) speaks during a news conference January 16, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House Democrats held a news conference to announce new legislation to eliminate the federal debt ceiling.
National Journal
Sarah Mimms
July 9, 2014, 10:41 a.m.

Rep. Keith El­lis­on, the first Muslim-Amer­ic­an mem­ber of Con­gress, re­spon­ded to a new re­port Wed­nes­day that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment spied on five Amer­ic­an cit­izens who are Muslim and have ap­par­ently com­mit­ted no acts of wrong­do­ing, call­ing such ac­tions “troub­ling” and “wrong.”

“Sus­pi­cious be­ha­vi­or in­dic­at­ing crim­in­al be­ha­vi­or should be the basis for at­tract­ing law en­force­ment sur­veil­lance — not a per­son’s re­li­gion. Pro­fil­ing based on re­li­gion breeds dis­trust and re­sent­ment in com­munit­ies that are po­ten­tial part­ners in the fight against crime,” the Min­nesota Demo­crat said in a state­ment.

El­lis­on also re­spon­ded to an eth­nic slur that se­cur­ity of­fi­cials used as a place­hold­er for a po­ten­tial Muslim tar­get, which was in­cluded in The In­ter­cept‘s re­port: “Mo­hammed Ra­g­head.” El­lis­on called the “use of hate­ful anti-Muslim train­ing ma­ter­i­als” evid­ence of re­li­gious pro­fil­ing by the U.S. gov­ern­ment and warned of severe con­sequences. “Un­due sur­veil­lance has a chilling ef­fect in all com­munit­ies. It tells young boys and girls who want to serve their coun­try in the mil­it­ary or in elec­ted of­fice to stay out of the pub­lic space. This is wrong. We can­not al­low fear and hatred to drown the in­clus­ive prom­ise of our na­tion,” he wrote.

In re­sponse, El­lis­on said he would re­quest a “full ex­plan­a­tion” as to why the five Amer­ic­ans were tar­geted. It wasn’t im­me­di­ately clear who El­lis­on would ap­peal to for fur­ther in­form­a­tion, but a let­ter is ex­pec­ted to be draf­ted in the next few days.

The Na­tion­al Se­cur­ity Agency and the FBI tar­geted email ac­counts be­long­ing to the five Amer­ic­an cit­izens between 2002 and 2008. The tar­geted Amer­ic­ans are Fais­al Gill, a Re­pub­lic­an op­er­at­ive who worked at the Home­land Se­cur­ity De­part­ment un­der Pres­id­ent George W. Bush; As­im Gha­foor, an at­tor­ney who has worked on ter­ror­ism cases; Hooshang Amirah­madi, an Ir­a­ni­an-Amer­ic­an pro­fess­or; Agha Saeed, a former pro­fess­or; and Ni­had Awad, the ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Coun­cil on Amer­ic­an-Is­lam­ic Re­la­tions. All five men have denied any ties to ter­ror­ist or­gan­iz­a­tions, have clean re­cords (as far as is pub­licly known), and have not ad­voc­ated for “vi­ol­ent ji­had,” ac­cord­ing to the ori­gin­al In­ter­cept re­port.

Aside from El­lis­on’s state­ment, re­sponse to the re­port on Cap­it­ol Hill has been al­most nonex­ist­ent. Even mem­bers who are typ­ic­ally highly crit­ic­al of the NSA’s activ­it­ies have not yet is­sued state­ments on the re­port, which con­firms that the agency spied on Amer­ic­an cit­izens with no ap­par­ent ties to ter­ror­ism.

What We're Following See More »
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
1 days ago
THE LATEST
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
QUESTIONS OVER IMMIGRATION POLICY
Trump Cancels Rallies
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Source:
‘STRATEGY AND MESSAGING’
Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
4 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Source:
×