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
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
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 »
GAVE COMMITTEE A “ROAD MAP” OF NAMES, PLACES, AND LEADS
Fusion GPS Founder Alleges Trump-Mafia Connection
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.

Source:
RYAN SAYS HOUSE WILL VOTE TONIGHT
Senate Dems Say They Can Block Spending Measure
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."

Source:
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN SUSPICIOUS CHECKS FLAGGED
Mueller’s Team Scrutinizing Russian Embassy Transactions
13 hours ago
THE LATEST
PRO-TRUMP SPENDING COULD VIOLATE FECA
FBI Investigating Potential Russian Donations to NRA
13 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.

Source:
DISCLOSURES MORE THAN DOUBLED
Mueller Investigation Leads to Hundreds of New FARA Filings
13 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login