Creepy: NYPD and CIA Collaborate to Snoop In Muslim Communities

Ah, our law enforcement agencies, those respecters of civil liberties and gainers of trust.

The AP has an explosive report today about how the NYPD is operating potentially outside the bounds of its jurisdiction, with CIA training, to infiltrate and conduct surveillance in Muslim communities.

Here are three key grafs in the lengthy and important story:

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the NYPD has become one of the country's most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies. A months-long investigation by The Associated Press has revealed that the NYPD operates far outside its borders and targets ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. And it does so with unprecedented help from the CIA in a partnership that has blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying.

Neither the city council, which finances the department, nor the federal government, which contributes hundreds of millions of dollars each year, is told exactly what's going on.

The department has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as "rakers," into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They've monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even when there's no evidence of wrongdoing. NYPD officials have scrutinized imams and gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims.

This information comes on the heels of a devastating, must-read investigation by Mother Jones about the FBI's use of informants, questioning whether the agency was coaxing suspects into terrorist plots as much as catching them in the act.

One has to wonder whether all this spying, secrecy and infiltration cultivates the kind of trust in authority that leads people to actually come forward with information when it's needed.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at August 24, 2011, 5:36am

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