The NSA claims to have sweeping powers under the Patriot Act to conduct mass surveillance of Americans. That is
bad enough. But what's even worse is when it comes up with Orwellian euphemisms for what it is doing. That's the case with a creepy little program called the Shared Responsibility Committees that the FBI is currently beta testing. The program is being billed as a handy little way of empowering Muslim communities to flag prospective jihadis in their midst.
In reality, however, it will turn Muslim leaders into Stasi-like FBI informants against their own communities. I note in The Week today:
The program, which the FBI claims to be piloting in unnamed communities, would sign up community leaders, imams, mental health professionals, and teachers into committees, notes Georgetown University Law School's Arjun Sethi, whom the FBI asked for input. It would refer individuals it has flagged by unspecified means as "at risk" of going jihadi to the relevant committee, who would contact them and conduct a series of meetings. The committee would offer the FBI its recommendations — whether to drop or continue the investigation or arrange therapy — which the FBI would be free to reject. The whole time that the committee is doing its work, the FBI could simultaneously be conducting its own criminal investigation. Worse, although the FBI doesn't have to disclose its findings to the committee, it would be free to seize the committee's notes and proceedings and also subpoena its members to testify against the suspect.
Go here to read the whole thing.