WASHINGTON (Reuters)- U.S. officials have secretly monitored radiation levels at Muslim sites, including mosques and private homes, since September 11, 2001 as part of a top secret program searching for nuclear bombs, U.S. News and World Report said on Friday.
"In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program," the magazine said.
An FBI spokesman declined to confirm or deny the U.S. News and World Report article and said, "We can't talk about a classified program."
"The FBI's overriding priority is to prevent, disrupt and defeat terrorist operations in the U.S. All investigations and operations conducted by the FBI are intelligence driven and predicated on specific information about potential criminal acts or terrorist threats, and are conducted in strict conformance with federal law," he added.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group said the report, coupled with news of the domestic eavesdropping, "could lead to the perception that we are no longer a nation ruled by law, but instead one in which fear trumps constitutional rights."
"All Americans should be concerned about the apparent trend toward a two-tiered system of justice, with full rights for most citizens, and another diminished set of rights for Muslims," it said in a statement.
Vice President Dick Cheney was among those briefed on the monitoring program, the publication said.