Chicago-Based Nation of Islam Wrongly Targeted

Chicago Sun-Times, December 17, 2009

Newly released government papers show homeland security officials improperly gathered intelligence on the Nation of Islam.

The 2007 report–titled “Nation of Islam: Uncertain Leadership Succession Poses Risks”–was created by an intelligence group within the Bush administration’s Department of Homeland Security, according to documents made public Wednesday.

Hours after the report was issued in 2007, officials recalled it, deciding it violated intelligence rules against collecting or disseminating information on U.S. citizens.

A top official in the Chicago-based Nation of Islam declined comment. DHS spokesman Matt Chandler said the Obama administration “has implemented a strong and rigorous system of safeguards and oversight to ensure similar products are neither created nor distributed.”

According to the documents, while government rules were “unintentionally and inadvertently violated,” only publicly available information was collected. One official wrote that “the organization despite its highly volatile and extreme rhetoric has neither advocated violence nor engaged in violence” and should not have been the subject of intelligence gathering.

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