WASHINGTON (AP) — A media account reports that the National Security Agency and the FBI covertly scanned the emails of five prominent Muslim-Americans under the government's secret surveillance program aimed at foreign terrorists and other national security threats.
The report in The Intercept, an online magazine, said the targets included an attorney, a Republican political operative, a university professor and two civil rights activists. The Intercept said all five denied any involvement in terrorism or espionage and had not been accused of any crimes. The magazine questioned whether the government obtained legal permission for its surveillance.
National Security Agency and Justice officials denied Wednesday that American activists are targeted for criticizing the government. While not discussing the individual cases, officials said Americans are only targeted for email surveillance if there is probable cause.