The National Security Agency proposed smearing supposed terrorist sympathizers by publicizing their visits to porn sites, according to a new report.
The NSA document provided by Edward Snowden and released late Tuesday reveals that the agency had targeted six Muslims who could be undermined by highlighting the hypocrisy of their “personal vulnerabilities,” according to the new story in the Huffington Post
The report does not identify the targets, who the NSA dubs “radicalizers” — people who allegedly incite terrorist activity through rhetoric.
Information that could damage the targets’ reputations includes “viewing sexually explicit material online” and “using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls,” the Huffington Post reported
, citing the documents dated Oct. 3, 2012.
The six targets live outside the U.S., though one is classified as a “U.S. person,” meaning he is either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and entitled to greater legal protections, according to the report.
None of the targets were accused of terrorism — rather, they allegedly inspired others by expressing “controversial ideas” through social media, the Huffington Post reported
The information was gleaned mostly through “Sunni extremist communications,” according to the top-secret documents.
One of the targets allegedly spread the message that “non-Muslims are a threat to Islam” — a claim that could be countered by highlighting his “online promiscuity,” according to documents.
The latest disclosure from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the agency targeted six Muslims — including two who had tendencies for ‘online promiscuity.’
The NSA said the same accusation of raunchy browsing history could be used against a “respected academic” who says that “offensive jihad is justified.”
It is unclear if the NSA actually carried out the smear campaigns, or if the agency initiated contact with the targets. Their names were redacted by the Huffington Post
. The Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency were listed as recipients of the NSA documents.
The article was co-written by Glenn Greenwald, one of the reporters who broke the first of numerous stories on Snowden’s leaks on June 5.
Snowden, a former NSA defense contractor, is living in Russia under temporary asylum. He has been charged with violations of the U.S. Espionage Act.
The ongoing disclosures have rocked the secretive NSA and spurred a debate about the balance between national security and privacy.
Among the revelations are that the NSA collects call data on essentially all phone calls made within the U.S., that it has direct access to the servers of major Internet companies, and that it also broke into the internal data streams of companies such as Google and Yahoo.
On Tuesday the Washington Post reported
that Microsoft was preparing to aggressively pursue new encryption of traffic through its servers following revelations about NSA spying.