- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 13, 2013

An editorial posted in the Investor’s Business Daily on Wednesday had some scathing remarks for the Obama administration, after claiming that despite the NSA’s sweeping PRISM program, mosques have been off-limits by FBI surveillance since October 2011.

“That’s right, the government’s sweeping surveillance of our most private communications excludes the jihad factories where homegrown terrorists are radicalized,” the editorial reads.

High-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department, dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee, is needed in order to surveil a mosque, and the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret, IBD claims.

“We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques,” it said.

In Feb. 2011, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the ACLU sued the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to pose a worshipper to monitor mosques there.

“Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists — inside mosques — and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland,” the editorial claims.

SEE ALSO: LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Big Brother lives in NSA surveillance

“If only they were allowed to continue, perhaps the many victims of the Boston Marathon bombings would not have lost their lives and limbs. The FBI never canvassed Boston mosques until four days after the April 15 attacks, and it did not check out the radical Boston mosque where the Muslim bombers worshipped… One of the Muslim bombers made extremist outbursts during worship, yet because the mosque wasn’t monitored, red flags didn’t go off inside the FBI about his increasing radicalization before the attacks.”

The Associated Press reported in February that the Boston mosque that marathon co-bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev attended had to threaten to ban him because of his repeated outbursts.

“What other five-alarm jihadists are counterterrorism officials missing right now, thanks to restrictions on monitoring the one area they should be monitoring?” the editorial concluded.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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