Are Mosques Excluded from The Digital Snooping Dragnet?
An Investor's Business Daily opinion piece makes the claim that mosques are excluded from the massive dragnet surveillance operation of the US Government. "That's right, the government's sweeping surveillance of our most private communications excludes the jihad factories where homegrown terrorists are radicalized."
Considering that the pretense for all this "necessary" surveillance is to stop terrorism, it seems unusual to exclude mosques from examination. What is going on?
The piece explains that "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."
(Here is the unclassified version of the FBI Domestic Investigation and Operations Guide, head over to page 171ff )
Who is this review committee? "Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret."
Apparently, these limitations were set up from pressure by Islamic groups.
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.
IBD goes on to describe that "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."