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.

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