While there have been allegations in the past of government investigation of mosques on issues relating to terrorism, the recent report, first featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper, is said to be the first confirmation that surveillance is taking place.
An article in the Los Angeles Times (May 29) reports that information about the alleged spying surfaced in a case about classified files concerning terrorism that were stolen from a secure office used by military and civilian law enforcement officials at Camp Pendleton. Some of these classified records referred to the surveillance of Muslim communities in Southern California, specifically, the Islamic Center of San Diego. The records alleged that the mosque had been monitored as part of a federal surveillance program targeting Muslim groups, according to the Union-Tribune article.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service spokesman in Washington said an investigation was underway to determine “whether individuals connected to the military may have been involved in illegal activities.”
In a report from the Muslim Public Affair Council (June 3), the FBI Assistant Director John Miller was quoted as stating that “The FBI does not monitor the lawful activities of individuals in the United States, nor does the FBI have a surveillance program to monitor the constitutionally protected activities of houses of worship. We do not target or monitor legal activity of Muslim groups anywhere in the nation.”
In January 2006, similar reports surfaced of widespread surveillance and radiation monitoring of more than 100 Muslim American mosques, homes and businesses.
Corey Saylor, Washington spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said the article in the San Diego Union-Tribune “has again raised concerns that our community is being watched.” (MORE)