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Muslim-Americans Caught in NSA Web, Slashed Tesoro Fines and Fake Spinal Screws (MuckReads Weekly)

Some of the best #MuckReads we read this week. Want to receive these by email? Sign up to get this briefing delivered to your inbox every weekend. 

Who else has NSA been spying on? Several prominent Muslim-Americans, including a longtime GOP operative who served in the Department of Homeland Security under George W. Bush, according to a spreadsheet of emails found in documents leaked by Edward Snowden and reported by The Intercept this week. — The Intercept

In related news, an analysis of 22,000 surveillance reports collected between 2009 and 2012 found that 9 in 10 accounts intercepted by the NSA weren’t the intended targets. See what the NSA collected. — The Washington Post

A deadly explosion, and a $2.39 million fine that got whittled to $685,000 - Seven workers died in the April 2010 refinery explosion, Washington state’s worst industrial accident in nearly 50 years. But while Tesoro Corp. has agreed to pay millions in settlements to families of the victims, it has escaped criminal penalties and minimized a record workplace safety fine."It's about your national reputation," said one former safety inspector. "Any time you get cited for a penalty, that becomes a public record, and anyone in the world can see all of the penalties listed, the fact that they were willful violations, not just serious. So it's the worst category.”Tesoro offered no comment. — KUOW via @heyjohnryan

California doctors putting fake screws to their patients, lawsuits say - The counterfeit screws and rods have been used in spinal implants, exposing patients to possible harm from infection or bad reactions from non-surgical quality parts, a lawsuit alleges. Meanwhile, several doctors are accused of taking kickbacks and hospitals of profiting from inflated prices on the counterfeit pieces. Ouch. — Center for Investigative Reporting via @JewettCIR

How Texas has allowed property tax lending scheme to flourish at homeowners’ expense - The high-interest property tax loans are "part of a multibillion-dollar industry native only to Texas and Nevada," the Texas Observer reports. While many states allow the sale of tax liens to private companies, Texas lets homeowners contract directly with lending companies to settle their debts. The terms generally aren’t in a homeowners’ favor. — Texas Observer via @ContrarianDave

More mucks: Bloomberg investigates the impacts of uranium mining in Jadugara, India, on thousands of poor villagers living in the toxic shadows of India’s nuclear power boom. The Washington Examiner publishes a list of bonuses paid to 64 Department of Veterans Affairs officials in wake of the agency’s wait list scandal. And we’ve got a roundup of some of the best in-depth reporting on immigration. Have something to add? Send a link to muckreads@propublica.org

 

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