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22 Aug, 2012

NYPD Muslim Spying Admission Reveals: Millions Spent, No Leads Generated


(NEW YORK, NY, 8/21/12, CAIR Press release) — The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today said that a recent admission by the New York Police Department (NYPD) that its program of spying on the Muslim community produced no criminal leads and did not result in a single terror-related case demonstrates the need for immediate policy changes to protect minority communities.

According to a report today by The Associated Press:

“In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloging mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday.

“The Demographics Unit is at the heart of a police spying program, built with help from the CIA, which assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and cataloged every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames.”

The revelation came from a June 28 deposition (on page 124) by Assistant Chief Thomas Galati, who said: “I never made a lead from rhetoric that came from a Demographics report.”

(Editor’s Note: The deposition offers a detailed look at how the NYPD conducted these investigations, the procedures followed and the objectives it hoped to meet. Many of these same procedures are also now being used globally by U.S. intelligence and security agencies and their counterparts in other countries, all directed at Muslim communities.)

In a statement, CAIR-NY Executive Director Muneer Awad said:

“The admission that after more than six years of the most intense and unconstitutional surveillance possible by the world’s most sophisticated law enforcement agencies, that not one criminal lead was uncovered or one terror-related case was initiated, reaffirms our concerns that the NYPD was engaged in discriminatory policing based only on race, ethnicity, and religion, rather than suspicion of criminal activity.

“It should now be abundantly clear to all unbiased individuals that the NYPD spying program was unproductive, counterproductive and discriminatory, in that it did not make our nation more secure and only served to harm relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

“It also wasted uncounted taxpayer dollars illegally spying on Americans without evidence of wrongdoing. Those, like Representative Peter King, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who have unapologetically defended the discriminatory policies of the NYPD, should apologize for the harm they have caused to New York and its citizens.”

CAIR-NY also urged elected officials to implement policy changes, including the proposed “Community Safety Act,” to protect minority communities from discriminatory policing, and to provide independent oversight for the NYPD in the future.

CAIR-NY is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.