The Intercept published an article last night describing secret foreign intelligence surveillance targeting American citizens. One of those citizens, Nihad Awad, is the executive director and founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s leading Muslim advocacy and civil rights organization and a long-time client of EFF.
In response, EFF Staff Attorney Mark Rumold stated:
EFF unambiguously condemns government surveillance of people based on the exercise of their First Amendment rights. The government’s surveillance of prominent Muslim activists based on constitutionally protected activity fails the test of a democratic society that values freedom of expression, religious freedom, and adherence to the rule of law.
Today’s disclosures – that the government has actively targeted leaders within the American Muslim community – are sadly reminiscent of government surveillance of civil rights activists and anti-war protesters in the 1960s and 70s. Surveillance based on First Amendment-protected activity was a stain on our nation then and continues to be today. These disclosures yet again demonstrate the need for ongoing public attention to the government’s activities to ensure that its surveillance stays within the bounds of law and the Constitution. And they once again demonstrate the need for immediate and comprehensive surveillance law reform.
We look forward to continuing to represent CAIR in fighting for its rights, as well as the rights of all citizens, to be free from unconstitutional government surveillance.
EFF represents CAIR Foundation and two of its regional affiliates, CAIR-California and CAIR-Ohio, in a case challenging the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ call records. More information about that case is available at: First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA.