Muslim-American Leader: NSA Fails US History Nihad Awad: Spying target says agency weak on checks and balances By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Jul 10, 2014 1:01 PM CDT 34 comments Comments Nihad Awad, national executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, speaks in this file photo. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Newser) – One of the recent Edward Snowden revelations is that the NSA spied on a group of top Muslim-American leaders. Nihad Awad happens to be one of them, a discovery that left him "saddened, but not surprised," he writes at Time. The co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations thinks the NSA and the FBI might need a primer on the Founding Fathers and the Bill of Rights, both of which value and protect dissent. In his role with CAIR, Awad has defended US policies at times and criticized it at others. "But if disagreement with government policy is viewed as subversive, no wonder the government has decided to vacuum up the communications of all Americans," he writes. "We are an opinionated nation." Awad recalls learning about US checks and balances years ago and says that the NSA is long overdue for a check on its tyrannical spying powers. "It is intolerable in a democratic society." Click to read his full post.