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C.I.A. Helping N.Y.P.D. Spy in Muslim Areas, even Outside New York

The Central Intelligence Agency is helping the New York Police Department spy on Muslim-Americans, even outside N.Y.P.D. jurisdiction, the Associated Press reports.

The C.I.A. is banned from spying on American citizens, but at least one Agency operative has been covertly embedded with the N.Y.P.D. while still on the C.I.A. payroll.

Sometimes the snooping takes place outside of the N.Y.P.D.’s jurisdiction. An undercover operation was accidentally uncovered in New Brunswick, New Jersey by the manager of an apartment building near the campus of Rutgers University.

The AP found that the N.Y.P.D. has become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies in the wake of the September 11, 2001 Islamic terror attacks on New York and Washington, DC. By enlisting the help of the C.I.A., the department has blurred the line between domestic and foreign spying.

Neither the New York City council, which funds the N.Y.P.D., or the federal government, which has given the department more than $1.6 billion since 9/11, has been fully informed about the program.

The N.Y.P.D. has sent undercover operatives into Muslim areas, even outside its jurisdiction, to monitor mosques, bookstores, cafes, bars and nightclubs. Known as “rakers,” these officers often have the cultural and linguistic capabilities to blend into Muslim areas. The N.Y.P.D. also relies upon informants known as “mosque crawlers” to attend and monitor mosque sermons and report what they find back to the department.

N.Y.P.D. officers have also received espionage training at ‘The Farm,’ the C.I.A.’s spy school in Virginia.

The N.Y.P.D. claims its aggressive efforts have disrupted terrorist plots and landed terror suspects behind bars.

“The New York Police Department is doing everything it can to make sure there’s not another 9/11 here and that more innocent New Yorkers are not killed by terrorists,” N.Y.P.D. spokesman Paul Browne told the AP. “And we have nothing to apologize for in that regard.”

But Gadeir Abbas, an attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), calls the spying program “potentially illegal” and has called on the Justice Department to investigate.

The N.Y.P.D. has dismissed claims that the spying program amounts to racial or ethnic profiling. “It’s not a question of profiling,” retired N.Y.P.D. intelligence officer Mordecai Dzikansky told the AP. “It’s a matter of going where the problem could arise.”

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