Human Rights

The NYPD Embedded Four CIA Officers After 9/11

One analyst says he was bound by “no limitations.”


In the decade after 9/11, the New York Police Department embedded four Central Intelligence Agency Officers, including one who assisted with surveillance in the United States, reports the New York Times.

The revelations come from a newly declassified inspector general’s report obtained by the Times in a Freedom of Information Act request. In the report, CIA Inspector General David Buckley lists concerns with the agency partnership, including “irregular personnel practices” and “lack of formal documentation.” He concludes, however, that there is “insufficient basis to merit a full investigation” of the CIA’s collaboration with the NYPD.

According to the report, one analyst says he was bound by “no limitations” due to working on an unpaid leave of absence. That means he was immune from certain CIA prohibitions, including restrictions on domestic spying. The Times has more details:

The report shows that the first of the four embedded agency officers began as an adviser in 2002 and went on an unpaid leave from the agency from 2004 to 2009. During that latter period, it said, he participated in — and directed — “N.Y.P.D. investigations, operations, and surveillance activities directed at U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons.”

The official received a Police Department paycheck. He told the inspector general that he “did not consider himself an agency officer and believed he had ‘no limitations’ as far as what he could or could not do.” C.I.A. lawyers said that officials on unpaid leave who are “acting in a personal capacity and not subject to C.I.A. direction” are not constrained by the law barring the agency from domestic security functions, the report said.

Another officer, this one on payroll, claims that he was granted “unfiltered” access to police reports, most of which “dealt with criminal activity and were not of potential [foreign intelligence] value.”

The disclosures come amid a lawsuit against the NYPD over domestic surveillance operations targeting Muslim communities. As reported by the Associated Press in a Pulitzer-winning investigation, the NYPD used a host of tactics to monitor Muslims after 9/11, even paying informants to keep tabs on mosques, student associations, and elsewhere. An AP report from that same series on the NYPD-CIA partnership originally sparked the inspector general’s probe.

According to the NYPD, the last embedded CIA analyst left the department in 2012.

Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.

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