Muslim radicals searching for something more than virgins on the Internet might be getting their secrets spilled by the National Security Agency.
But so might everybody else.
The NSA’s “meta-data” collection of phone and Internet use included documenting the online sexual proclivities of prominent recruiters and promoters of violent Islam, according to documents made public by former NSA contract employee Edward Snowden.
According to the Huffington Post, the goal was to use the information to embarrass six high-profile personalities whose speeches and other Internet presence was being used to bring in recruits.
One document Snowden leaked from the NSA from Oct. 3, 2012, refers to using charges of hypocrisy to make the targets look bad in the allegedly abstemious world of radical Islam. It refers to an earlier “assessment report on radicalization [that] indicated that radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent,” the Huffington Post reported.
The “behaviors” included “viewing sexually explicit material online” and “using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls.”
The American Civil Liberties Union didn’t take kindly to the news. If the NSA can use that kind of information to embarrass Muslim terrorists, it can use it for anyone with political views the government doesn’t like, it argues.
“Wherever you are, the NSA’s databases store information about your political views, your medical history, your intimate relationships and your activities online,” the group’s deputy legal director, Jameel Jaffer, told HuffPo.
“The NSA says this personal information won’t be abused, but these documents show that the NSA probably defines ‘abuse’ very narrowly.
Overheated comparisons to J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI’s extensive files on domestic political figures are inevitable, of course, and the Huffington Post isn’t shy about bringing them up. But this is one area where conservatives and liberals outside of the administration should be able to find some common ground.
If the NSA defines “abuse” narrowly, as Jaffer said, the Obama administration defines its foes pretty broadly.
Just ask the IRS.
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