NSA Spied On Porn Habits Of Muslim Radicals To Undermine Their Influence

The vulnerabilities of the six targets, according to an October 2012 document, range from "online promiscuity" to "pragmatic on the Arab Spring."

The NSA used its surveillance methods to spy on the online activities of radicals in an attempt to embarrass them and undermine their credibility. Documents relating to the electronic surveillance of the six Muslim radicals' "online sexual activity and proof of visits to pornographic websites" were revealed as part of the Edward Snowden cache of classified documents that has been leaking out over the past six months.

Some vulnerabilities of the six targets--one is a U.S. citizen, but they all reside abroad--are described in the document. They range from extraordinary descriptions like "online promiscuity," "charges exorbitant speaking fees," "attracted to fame," and "glamorous lifestyle" to more prosaic ones like "deceitful use of funds," "disagrees with Al Qaeda on some issues," "pragmatic on Arab Spring."

One journalist compared the NSA's activities to those of the FBI during J. Edgar Hoover's tenure as director, back in the 1960s. "The bureau used wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities, such as sexual activity, to 'neutralize' their targets," James Bamford told the Huffington Post. "Back then, the idea was developed by the longest serving FBI chief in U.S. history, today it was suggested by the longest serving NSA chief in U.S. history." However, a former Homeland Security adviser and general counsel to the NSA told the same publication he thought the M.O. was a pragmatic one. "If people are engaged in trying to recruit folks to kill Americans and we can discredit them, we ought to," Stewart Baker said. "On the whole, it's fairer and maybe more humane" than bombing a target, he said, describing the tactic as "dropping the truth on them."

[Image: Flickr user gruntzooki]

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  • Adam

    My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the UK, where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live.

  • Adams

    One journalist compared the NSA's activities to those of the FBI during J. Edgar Hoover's tenure as director, back in the 1960s. "The bureau used wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities, such as sexual activity, to 'neutralize' their targets," James Bamford told the Huffington Post. "Back then, the idea was developed by the longest serving FBI chief in U.S. history, today it was suggested by the longest serving NSA chief in U.S. history." However, a former Homeland Security adviser and general counsel to the NSA told the same publication he thought the M.O. was a pragmatic one. "If people are engaged in trying to recruit folks to kill Americans and we can discredit them, we ought to," Stewart Baker said. "On the whole, it's fairer and maybe more humane" than bombing a target, he said, describing the tactic as "dropping the truth on them."

  • Adams

    Some vulnerabilities of the six targets--one is a U.S. citizen, but they all reside abroad--are described in the document. They range from extraordinary descriptions like "online promiscuity," "charges exorbitant speaking fees," "attracted to fame," and "glamorous lifestyle" to more prosaic ones like "deceitful use of funds," "disagrees with Al Qaeda on some issues," "pragmatic on Arab Spring."

  • Adam

    Some vulnerabilities of the six targets--one is a U.S. citizen, but they all reside abroad--are described in the document. They range from extraordinary descriptions like "online promiscuity," "charges exorbitant speaking fees," "attracted to fame," and "glamorous lifestyle" to more prosaic ones like "deceitful use of funds," "disagrees with Al Qaeda on some issues," "pragmatic on Arab Spring."