Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the story of National Security Administration whistle-blower Edward Snowden, has published a list of individuals targeted by the United States government for surveillance on his website, the Intercept.
The much-anticipated article had many wondering who would be on the list and whether or not the victims were related to terrorism, as reported at Liberty Unyielding.
Based on the article, it seems that politics could have played a role in at least some of the targeting. Greenwald highlights five targeted Muslim Americans in his report.
For example. Faisal Gill was on the list, who Greenwald described as “a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush.” Gill’s “AOL and Yahoo! email accounts were monitored while he was a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates.”
“I was a very conservative, Reagan-loving Republican,” Gill says. “If somebody like me could be surveilled, then [there are] other people out there I can only imagine who are under surveillance.
According to a former Justice Department official involved in FISA policy in the Obama Administration, “the process contains too many internal checks and balances to serve as a rubber stamp on surveillance of Americans.” Greenwald observes that this likely explains why the targeting of “high-profile Muslim-Americans” occurs. “[N]ot because the agency breaks the law,” Greenwald explains, “but because it is able to exploit the law’s permissive contours.”
The NSA responded to the report by saying in part,
“No U.S. person can be the subject of FISA surveillance based solely on First Amendment activities, such as staging public rallies, organizing campaigns, writing critical essays, or expressing personal beliefs…”
Greenwald writes, “despite being subjected to what appears to be long periods of government surveillance, none has been charged with a crime, let alone convincingly linked to terrorism or espionage on behalf of a foreign power.”
The article delves into the Americans targeted, along with interviews.