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A civil rights groups is making a formal request for information from government agencies about files that were stolen detailing surveillance on San Diego Muslims.
“If the government is spying on law-abiding Muslims merely because of their religion, without any evidence of criminal activity, any group could be next,” said David Blair-Loy, legal director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial counties.
The ACLU’s request focuses on reports of a major security breach at the Strategic Technical Operations Center at Camp Pendleton. The organization says the center’s staff operated a ring that stole surveillance files and gave them to local law enforcement agencies.
“This breech of the government’s top security systems shows just how lawless and out of control this program was,” said Kevin Keenan, executive director of the ACLU in San Diego. “What kind of security can this agency actually be giving us if it can’t even protect its own security systems, said Keenan.
“We need to know what surveillance was done, who authorized it, and why,” said Edgar Hopida, Public Relations Director of the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The local chapter of the ACLU filed Freedom of Information requests with the FBI, the Department of Defense, The San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The chapter is requesting all records the law enforcement groups have that refer to the Islamic Center, the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR’s San Diego staff.
Several Islamic groups are also requesting a Congressional investigation of activities at Camp Pendleton’s Strategic Technical Operations Center.