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Edward Snowden’s latest leak: NSA monitored online porn habits of ‘radicalizers’ to discredit them

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 0:48 EDT
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An image grab taken from a video released by Wikileaks on October 12, 2013 shows Edward Snowden (AFP)
 
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A document provided by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden explains the agency’s plan to discredit Islamic “radicalizers” by monitoring their online habits for indications they visited pornographic websites or used “sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls,” the Huffington Post reported Tuesday night.

“Radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent,” the document states. The Post reported that the Oct. 12 missive was sent to the Drug Enforcement Association (DEA) and the Commerce, Customs, Justice and Transportation Departments.

The document Snowden provided identifies six Muslim “globally-resonating radicalizers,” one of them a “U.S. person,” the agency term for an American citizen or permanent resident. Under the listing for the subjects’ “vulnerabilities,” two are described as engaging in “online promiscuity.” Another subject, described as a “well-known media celebrity” who targets an Arabic-speaking audience, has a “glamorous lifestyle” listed as a possible point of attack.

“Examining how the six radicalizers establish and maintain access with different pools of people susceptible to their message — and their perceptions of the difficulties in doing so — suggests that there are vulnerabilities that can be exploited in terms of this access,” the document states. “Emerging radicalizers may be vulnerable on this point as well.”

Journalist James Bamford, who has covered the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) searches for American public figures’ “vulnerabilities,” told the Post the NSA’s apparent activities brought to mind the tactics employed by former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

“Back then, the idea was developed by the longest serving FBI chief in U.S. history,” Bamford told the Post. “Today it was suggested by the longest serving NSA chief in U.S. history. And back then, the NSA was also used to do the eavesdropping on King and others through its Operation Minaret. A later review declared the NSA’s program ‘disreputable if not outright illegal.’”

However, former NSA general counsel Stewart Baker defended the tactic, saying that concerns over the agency’s surveillance being used as a political deterrent were not enough to justify abandoning it.

“If people are engaged in trying to recruit folks to kill Americans and we can discredit them, we ought to,” Baker told the Post. “On the whole, it’s fairer and maybe more humane” than bombing a target, he said, describing the tactic as “dropping the truth on them.”

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
 
 
 
 
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