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U.S. Attorney General Holder Invokes State Secrets Rule in Lawsuit by California Muslims

Audio

Aired 8/3/11

Imam at Islamic Center of San Diego says surveillance is not moral.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is blocking release of details about the government’s surveillance of mosques in a lawsuit by Southern Californian Muslims.

Holder invoked the state secrets privilege to avoid disclosing the subject of government spying at mosques. He said revealing that information could damage national security. A group of Southern California Muslims sought the information in a lawsuit alleging indiscriminate surveillance. News reports in 2008 cited FBI files that referred to surveillance of the Islamic Center of San Diego. Imam Hassane Taha said that news troubled worshippers.

“ I don’t think this is something moral," Taha said. "We have nothing to hide here as Muslims. We are open to all people.”

Many Muslims felt targeted because of their religion. Local FBI spokesman Darrell Foxworth disputed that claim.

“The FBI does not focus its surveillance on mosques or places of worship. If we’re conducting surveillance, it is focused on individuals that may be involved in criminal activity.”

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