July 09, 2014

Wyden Statement on The Intercept Report on the Surveillance of U.S. Muslims

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued the following statement in response to new allegations about surveillance of U.S. Muslims:

“I am unfamiliar with the individuals named in this story, so I will let them speak for themselves.

It is clearly appalling to see an ethnic slur used in what appears to be an internal NSA memo, but it would be even more troubling if that kind of prejudice were actually informing US surveillance activities. I appreciate the NSA spokeswoman’s statement that racial and ethnic stereotypes and slurs are unacceptable. However, our intelligence leadership must make clear not just that racial and ethnic slurs are unacceptable, but that targeting Americans based on their religion is unacceptable as well.  The suggestion that all Muslims are terrorists, or that all violent extremists are Muslim, is both flat wrong and offensive. 

Given their extraordinary capabilities, U.S. intelligence agencies must behave at all times in a way that is beyond reproach. This story raises new questions about agencies’ internal oversight of domestic surveillance activities and the adequacy of protections for the privacy of law-abiding Americans. I am committed to ending the ongoing domestic surveillance dragnet and enacting strong protections for Americans’ privacy. I am also committed to an America where tolerance and respect prevail, and where all Americans can freely assemble, speak, and worship in confidence that they are not being surveilled solely on the basis of their religion or associations.”