NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York City Police Department, along with the CIA, is spying on Muslims, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The AP said that the police department, with “unprecedented” help from the CIA, “dispatched undercover officers, known as ‘rakers,’ into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program.”
In addition, the wire service said authorities used so-called “mosque crawlers,” who allegedly monitored sermons, even when there wasn’t evidence of wrongdoing.
Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne spoke with 1010 WINS Wednesday evening and said the story is “fiction.”
1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan With More On The Story
“We follow leads wherever they may happen to go. We don’t have any such thing as ‘mosque crawlers’ – people just willy nilly going to mosques for no reason,” Browne said.
The AP said its investigation was based on documents and interviews with over 40 “current and former New York Police Department and federal officials,” adding that many of those officials were “directly involved in planning and carrying out these secret operations.”
Calling it a “partnership that has blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying,” the article states that neither the City Council or federal government was made aware of operations.
Cyrus McGoldrick with the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the report reinforces what his organization has long suspected.
“It has created a lot of fear in the community. It’s planted a lot of seeds of distrust and it’s a difficult time,” he told 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan.
Faiza Patel of the Brennan Center for Justice told WCBS 880 that she hopes the article was a “wake-up call” for the City Council.
“We have the country’s largest police department with a ginormous budget, the largest intelligence gathering municipal authority in the U.S. and the City Council has never held a hearing on its intelligence gathering operations and I think it’s time they did,” Patel said.
Meanwhile, Browne said the NYPD was simply doing all it could to ensure there was not another terrorist attack. He added that undercover investigations have been the “subject of newspaper and television articles for the last ten years.”
“In one case we have an undercover in an Islamic bookstore because of the specific plot to blow up the Herald Square subway station,” he said.
However, some advocates were not convinced by the deputy commissioner’s words.
“I think that the report today was, really, only a confirmation of what a lot of us already knew or at least suspected,” McGoldrick said.
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