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The NSA Spied on MLK, Muhammad Ali

LBJ, Nixon kept tabs on Vietnam War protesters
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2013 10:10 AM CDT
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. acknowledges the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington, DC, in this Aug. 28, 1963 file photo.   (AP Photo/File)

(Newser) – The NSA once spied on no lesser Americans than Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali, newly declassified documents reveal. They were targeted along with a pair of US senators, as well as journalists from the New York Times and Washington Post, as part of a six-year effort to investigate Vietnam War opponents, dubbed "Project Minaret," al-Jazeera explains.

The Minaret program came to light in the 1970s, but a court finally ordered the names of its targets declassified yesterday, after a long legal battle from George Washington University. The program was green-lighted under Lyndon Johnson and continued under Richard Nixon, under the theory that foreign agents might be fomenting anti-war protests. "As shocking as the recent revelations about the NSA's domestic eavesdropping have been, there has been no evidence so far of today's signal intelligence corps taking a step like this, to monitor the White House's political enemies," write researchers with George Washington University's National Security Archive. (Read more Martin Luther King Jr. stories.)

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