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FBI confirms radiation monitoring of Muslim mosques, businesses, homes

[JURIST] An FBI official Friday confirmed a US News and World Report article claiming that since 9/11 the US government has been clandestinely monitoring radiation levels at over 100 Muslim locations in the Washington DC area - including mosques, businesses and honmes - in search of nuclear bombs. Monitoring had also been conducted in Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York and Seattle in association with elevated threat levels. The magazine reported that the FBI, in conjunction with the US Department of Energy's Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) [DoE order], was monitoring 120 DC sites per day using three vehicles, most of the targets being Muslim sites identified by the FBI. According to one official involved in the searches, "the targets were almost all U.S. citizens. A lot of us thought it was questionable, but people who complained nearly lost their jobs. We were told it was perfectly legal." The FBI has said that because the air monitoring was done from publicly accessible areas, no warrants were needed, and none were requested. In 2001, however, the US Supreme Court held 5-4 in Kyllo v. US [opinion syllabus; full text] that using a thermal imaging device from a publically acessible area to search the home of a person suspected of growing marijuana was an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. A US Department of Justice spokesperson responded to disclosure of the FBI program by saying that the Bureau "monitors the air for imminent threats to health and safety, but acts only on specific information about a potential attack without targeting any individual or group." A federal official speaking on condition of anonymity indicted said he understood that the monitoring program "had been stopped or significantly rolled back" as early as eight months ago. AP has more.

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