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Thursday, October 30, 2008

NYT: Inquiry Targeted 2,000 Foreign Muslims in 2004

An operation in 2004 meant to disrupt potential terrorist plots before and after that year’s presidential election focused on more than 2,000 immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries, but most were found to have done nothing wrong, according to newly disclosed government data....

[D]ocuments show that more than 2,500 foreigners in the United States were sought as “priority leads” in the fall of 2004 because of suspicions that they could present threats to national security in the months before the presidential election and the inauguration. Some of those foreigners were detained and ultimately deported because they had overstayed their visas, but many were in this country legally, and the vast majority were not charged....

“This was profiling,” said Michael Wishnie, a professor at Yale Law School who helped lead the research effort. He added that the findings raised questions about both the effectiveness and the propriety of the program.

“The resources devoted to this were enormous,” he said, “but the results clearly were not.” [Link]

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