Religious Group Demands NSA Documents in Ethnic-Slur Probe

The National Security Agency's Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah The National Security Agency's Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah Rick Bowmer/AP File Photo

 Sikh organization is asking intelligence authorities to disclose internal communications that contain ethnic epithets.

The Sikh Coalition on Thursday filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the National Security Agency and the FBI for employee emails sent from Sept. 11, 2001, until the present that contain the slurs "raghead" or "towelhead."

The move is in response to a new Edward Snowden leak published last week that revealed the NSA and the FBI have spied on the emails of five high-profile Muslim-Americans who are not publicly known to be guilty of any terrorist activity. In the same leak, one disclosed file from 2005 shows an unidentified target's name being logged in a spreadsheet as "Mohammed Raghead."

"As Americans, we expect law-enforcement officials to behave like adults," said Amardeep Singh, program director of the Sikh Coalition, in a statement. "The Sikh Coalition will not tolerate the use of racial or religious slurs by people who are supposed to protect us."

Shortly after the report's publication, a White House spokeswoman said it had asked James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, to "undertake an assessment of intelligence community policies, training standards, or directives that promote diversity and tolerance, and as necessary, make any recommendations changes or additional reforms."

The White House and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not immediately respond Thursday to a request for a status update on the internal review.

The Sikh Coalition is a nonprofit organization formed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Last week, Jason Leopold, a well-known and prolific open-records reporter, also filed a request with the FBI asking for similar documents.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.