(WASHINGTON, DC, 5/12/06) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) has built a giant database of Americans’ phone records.
According to a USA Today article, the NSA “has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth”¦The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans – most of whom aren’t suspected of any crime.”
The phone records monitoring program, reportedly authorized by the president shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks, authorizes the NSA to bypass a secret court set up to provide warrants for such surveillance.
In its statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:
“The recent revelations of the secret domestic spying program should be an issue of concern for all Americans, but especially for American Muslims who have been previously targeted in other surveillance measures such as the mosque radiation monitoring, and the warrantless wiretapping program.
It is a moral, legal and political imperative for Congress to ensure that civil liberties and the right to privacy are maintained, even during times of international conflict and crisis. An independent investigator should be appointed to look into whether the NSA phone data surveillance program violated existing laws.”
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, has 32 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar, 202-488-8787 or 202-415-0799, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: email@example.com