Huff Post: NSA Monitored Porn Habits of Suspected Radicals

Nov 27, 2013 9:30 AM PST

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency (NSA) spied on suspected Muslims' porn site habits in an effort to expose them as radicals, The Huffington Post has reported.

Citing a document provided by former NSA contractor and leaker Edward Snowden, six Muslims the agency called “exemplars” of how “personal vulnerabilities” can be learned through electronic surveillance, were targeted in the investigation in an effort to undermine their credibility, reputation and authority.

“Viewing sexually explicit material online" and "using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls," were actions that according to the NSA document, dated Oct. 3, 2012, fit the definition of possible vulnerabilities.

None of the six people targeted by the NSA is accused of terrorism, although all live outside of the U.S. However, one suspect was described as a "U.S. person," that could mean he is either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident who would have greater legal protection against NSA surveillance than foreigners.

The Huff Post withheld the names and locations of the six people noting that it could not verify the NSA’s allegations about their online activities.

"Without discussing specific individuals, it should not be surprising that the U.S. Government uses all of the lawful tools at our disposal to impede the efforts of valid terrorist targets who seek to harm the nation and radicalize others to violence," Shawn Turner, director of public affairs for National Intelligence, told The Huff Post in an email Tuesday.

But Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union was concerned about NSA abuse. He said, "It's important to remember that the NSA’s surveillance activities are anything but narrowly focused — the agency is collecting massive amounts of sensitive information about virtually everyone.

"Wherever you are, the NSA's databases store information about your political views, your medical history, your intimate relationships and your activities online. The NSA says this personal information won't be abused, but these documents show that the NSA probably defines 'abuse' very narrowly."

This document is the latest in a series of leaked classified papers obtained by Snowden, who is now living under temporary asylum in Russia.

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