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NEW YORK – The NSA considered discrediting six people by revealing surveillance evidence of their online sexual activity, visits to pornography websites, and other personal information, according to a report today in The Huffington Post. The article cited documents leaked by former NSA contactor Edward Snowden. The targets of the NSA’s plan were all Muslims whom the NSA characterized as “radicals” but who were not believed to be involved in terrorism. The documents say one of the targets was a “U.S. person,” a term describing American citizens and legal permanent residents, but all of the targets were reportedly outside the United States.
American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer had this reaction:
“This report is an unwelcome reminder of what it means to give an intelligence agency unfettered access to individuals' most sensitive information. One ordinarily associates these kinds of tactics with the secret police services of authoritarian governments. That these tactics have been adopted by the world’s leading democracy – and the world’s most powerful intelligence agency – is truly chilling.”