Racial Mapping: The Secret Behind the FBI's Invasive Program

02/13/2013 02:09 pm ET

The American Civil Liberties Union recently challenged the FBI over a secret racial and ethnic mapping program, which allegedly gathers intelligence on specific American communities. According to the ACLU, the program profiles Muslims and Arab-Americans in Michigan, African-Americans in Georgia, Chinese and Russian-Americans in California and broad swaths of Latino-American communities in multiple states.

Nusrat Choudhury, a staff attorney at the ACLU National Security Project, spoke about the program in a segment on HuffPost Live.

"What we've uncovered through over 15,000 documents from 34 states around the country already shows, as you mentioned, that communities of diverse backgrounds -- racial, ethnic and religious communities -- are being targeted for intelligence collection and investigation, based on nothing more than bias and stereotypes about what communities have a propensity to commit certain crimes," she told host Ahmed Shahib-Eldin.

Rana Abbas, executive director of the Arab-American Civil Rights League in Dearborn, Mich., added that many of the targets of these investigations have recently immigrated to the U.S.

"Being recent immigrants, they're unfamiliar with the laws of the land that they live in, unfamiliar with the rights that they do have living here in this country, and so that fear just is compounded with that lack of information that they have," she said. "It translates to this sitting duck syndrome that these individuals have, who have this fear against the very entities that they believe are in place to protect and serve them."

Also in the conversation were Adra Nomani, a journalist and author, Sarah Mehta, a Staff Attorney at ACLU Michigan, and Andy Stepanian, from The Sparrow Project.

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