Information is continuing to leak about the extent of NSA spying on Americans. Al Jazeera reported on Sept. 26, 2013, "NSA spied on Martin Luther King, other Vietnam War critics." In a secret program the National Security Agency eavesdropped on civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali along with other leading critics of the Vietnam War.
This six-year spying program was named "Minaret," and had been exposed in the 1970s. However, the targets of the surveillance were kept secret until this time. It has been revealed in documents that the NSA kept a close eye on King and his colleague Whitney Young, boxing star Muhammad Ali, several journalists from The New York Times and The Washington Post, and even two members of Congress, Senator Frank Church of Idaho and Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee.
Due to the intensity of anti-war dissent at home President Lyndon Johnson asked U.S. intelligence agencies in 1967 to find out if some protests were being set off by foreign powers. This lead to NSA "watch lists" of anti-war critics. The Guardian reported Operation Minaret was set up in 1960s in order to monitor anti-Vietnam critics.
Operation Minaret has been seen as disreputable if not outright illegal. What is really shaking emotions up regarding this matter have been reports that the U.S. federal government is at this moment continuing to spy on activist Americans from every walk of life, and has even advanced to the stage of using drones and satellites for this spying and associated badgering.