NSA Spies on Porn Habits to Undermine Muslim ‘Radicalizers’

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The National Security Agency keeps a close eye on the dirty online proclivities of its targets just in case it needs to make them look bad. According to a new report based on the Edward Snowden documents, co-authored by Glenn Greenwald at the Huffington Post, an NSA document from last year details the strategy of smear tactics against Muslim “radicalizers” who “appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent.” That includes, for example, “viewing sexually explicit material online” and “using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls.”

It’s unclear if the porn-based hypocrisy move has actually been put into practice by the NSA, but the document reveals that it’s another weapon in the arsenal against an ambiguous, ever-shifting enemy. “Without discussing specific individuals, it should not be surprising that the U.S. government uses all of the lawful tools at our disposal to impede the efforts of valid terrorist targets who seek to harm the nation and radicalize others to violence,” a spokesperson for National Intelligence told the Huffington Post.

Exactly zero of the six people mentioned in the NSA document, who the government believes use social media to spread extremism, are actually accused of any terrorism, but at least one is a likely a U.S. citizen or resident who may have been living abroad at the time of the surveillance.

“The NSA says this personal information won't be abused, but these documents show that the NSA probably defines 'abuse' very narrowly,” said an ACLU representative. Alternatively, “On the whole, it's fairer and maybe more humane” than dropping a bomb, offered a former Bush administration security official, calling it “dropping the truth on them.”

While HuffPost references the secret FBI files logged against activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., the whole thing also calls to mind the posthumous smearing of Osama bin Laden, as if that were necessary, following the fatal raid on his Pakistani compound. Of the many anonymous nuggets leaked to the media, like that there was weed growing on the property, was the claim that bin Laden had a massive stash of porn, leading to the classic New York Post headline, “Osama bin Wankin’!”