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article imageNSA spied on Martin Luther King, documents reveal

By Abdul Kuddus     Sep 26, 2013 in World
New York - Apparently, allegations of US spy agencies snooping on its citizens are not restricted to the controversial PRISM episode and goes back to the days of President Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, according to reports.
Newly released declassified NSA documents show that the security agency spied on Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, Sen. and even Washington Post humor columnist Art Buchwald at the height of Vietnam War protests, the Washington Post reported.
Buchwald, who died in 2007, was a fierce critic of the Vietnam War and possibly the reason why President Nixon put him on an NSA watch list.
Dr. Martin Luther King, another outspoken critic of the US war in Vietnam, was reportedly monitored up until his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.
The NSA also monitored the overseas phone records of two prominent US senators—Democrat Frank Church and Republican Howard Baker.
Others on the watch list included civil rights leader Whitney Young and New York Times journalist Tom Wicker.
The NSA watch list included more than 1,600 names and was active from 1967 to 1973, according to reports. Those on the ‘watch list’ had their overseas phone calls, telexes and cable traffic under surveillance targets, according to reports.
The targets of the six-year secret surveillance program named “Minaret” had not been known until Wednesday. A new portion of the declassified NSA history, released by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, contextualized more recent revelations about the agency’s monitoring of Americans’ communications.
According to Press TV, “At the height of the Vietnam War, anti-war criticism, public protests and movements were a thorn in the side of President Lyndon B. Johnson, and later Richard Nixon. So they started to develop conspiracy theories, trying to link civil rights leaders to foreign powers as they tasked intelligence agencies to provide fodder for their theories.”
NSA’s own layers who later reviewed the Minaret program opined that “the people involved seemed to understand that the operation was disreputable if not outright illegal,” the Independent reported.
Reportedly the spying continued after Richard Nixon entered the White House in 1969. US Attorney General Elliot Richardson closed the NSA programme in 1973, just as the Watergate scandal rocked the Nixon administration.
The recent revelations seems more shocking than the current-day PRISM controversy which continues to face stringent international criticisms and repercussions after the release of a torrent of classified information by the fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is now a guest in Russia.
More about nixon administration, mass surveillance, National security agency, Muhammad ali, Spying
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