The Department of Homeland Security improperly gathered intelligence on the Nation of Islam for eight months in 2007 when the leader of the black Muslim group, Louis Farrakhan, was in poor health and appeared to be yielding power, according to government documents released Wednesday.
The intelligence gathering violated domestic spying rules because analysts took longer than 180 days to determine whether the U.S-based group or its American members posed a terrorist threat. Analysts also disseminated their report too broadly, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group.
The disclosure was included in hundreds of heavily redacted pages released by the Justice Department as part of long-standing FOIA lawsuits about the government’s policies on terrorist surveillance, detention and treatment since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It marks the latest case of inappropriate domestic spying under rules that were expanded after the terror attacks to give intelligence agencies more latitude. [continued…]