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Is The Surveillance Of US Mosques Off Limits?

Two related pieces. First we have this, via National Review:

Sensenbrenner: Obama Administration’s NSA Assurances ‘a Bunch of Bunk’

By  Lindsey Grudnicki | June 12, 2013

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the PATRIOT Act on the House floor in 2001, has declared that lawmakers’ and the executive branch’s excuses about recent revelations of NSA activity are “a bunch of bunk.”

In an interview on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Wednesday morning, the Republican congressman from Wisconsin reiterated his concerns that the administration and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court have gone far beyond what the PATRIOT Act intended. Specifically, he said that Section 215 of the act “was originally drafted to prevent data mining” on the scale that’s occurred.

Which is almost certainly the case, since NSA had the capability to do this data mining before 2001. And, in fact, was undoubtedly doing it. Since the government considers phone records to be public information that is not protected by the Fourth Amendment.

Sensenbrenner, the current chairman on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, suggested that the secret nature of the FISA court has prevented appropriate congressional oversight over the NSA’s activities.

When asked whether he agreed with those in Washington calling leaker Edward Snowden a traitor, Sensenbrenner responded, “No, I don’t agree,” and said that he would not have known the extent of abuse by the FISA court and the NSA without Snowden’s disclosures.

Not to quibble, but Mr. Snowden’s ‘revelations’ so far have had nothing to do with the abuses of the the FISA court and ‘Section 215’ requests. That information was exposed with the Verizon (et alia) revelations before Snowden came along.

The congressman has earlier said he believes the PATRIOT Act needs to be amended to protect Americans’ privacy.

Well, at least some Americans have nothing to worry about.

From editorial from Investors Business Daily:

Obama’s Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers

June 12, 2013 

Homeland Insecurity: The White House assures that tracking our every phone call and keystroke is to stop terrorists, and yet it won’t snoop in mosques, where the terrorists are…

Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.

Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.

This is certainly true. And it was even mentioned during the aftermath of the Boston Bomber that the FBI was prohibited from going into mosques.

But we are not sure if this prohibition is just against physical surveillance, or if it carries over to NSA-like surveillance as well. We have tried to look at the unclassified version of the FBI’s ‘Domestic Investigation and Operations Guide.’ (A pdf file.) But it is so heavily redacted as to be unreadable.

But this is certainly is something that we should be asking about.

We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.

Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.

If only they were allowed to continue, perhaps the many victims of the Boston Marathon bombings would not have lost their lives and limbs. The FBI never canvassed Boston mosques until four days after the April 15 attacks, and it did not check out the radical Boston mosque where the Muslim bombers worshipped.

The bureau didn’t even contact mosque leaders for help in identifying their images after those images were captured on closed-circuit TV cameras and cellphones.

One of the Muslim bombers made extremist outbursts during worship, yet because the mosque wasn’t monitored, red flags didn’t go off inside the FBI about his increasing radicalization before the attacks.

This is particularly disturbing in light of recent independent surveys of American mosques, which reveal some 80% of them preach violent jihad or distribute violent literature to worshippers.

What other five-alarm jihadists are counterterrorism officials missing right now, thanks to restrictions on monitoring the one area they should be monitoring?

To put it in Orwellian terms, Is Big Brother being trumped by Animal Farm, where ‘some people are more equal than others’?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, June 13th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “Is The Surveillance Of US Mosques Off Limits?”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    I’ll betcha every Southern Baptist Church, Church of Christ, evangelical non-denominational church and John Hagee’s Four Square Gospel church are under intense surveillance.

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