Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Blog

According to a recent article by the Associated Press, Arab Americans and American Muslims may have a new reason to fear local law enforcement. The AP is reporting that the CIA has teamed up with the New York Police Department (NYPD) to conduct domestic spying operations: “Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, the NYPD has become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies, targeting ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government.” The AP reached this conclusion after interviewing some 40 current and former NYPD and federal officials, many of whom were directly involved in planning and carrying out these secret operations for the department.

The AP’s conclusions reveal startling abuses. Under the supervision of a CIA officer, secret police squads were developed to infiltrate Muslim neighborhoods based on racial and ethnic mapping techniques that likely violate the 4th amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure, as well as the 14th amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. Undercover officers known as “rakers” are dispatched into minority neighborhoods as part the program. They monitor daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclub, as well as mosques, sometimes with the help of secret informers – all absent any evidence of wrongdoing.

Moreover, just last month, the CIA sent a senior officer to work as a clandestine operative inside the New York police headquarters itself, and reports indicate that the CIA has already engaged in training NYPD officers at the CIA department known as the “Farm,” a move which blurs the lines between foreign and domestic spying.

The program, which is of questionable legality, has been so secretive that  neither the city council, who is responsible for financing the NYPD, nor the federal government which to date has given the NYPD more than 1.6 billion dollars, are even aware of the details of the investigations, and there may be good reason for that.

Since 1985 the NYPD has operated under a federal court order limiting the tactics it could use to gather intelligence. The department has agreed to follow guidelines that required “specific information” of criminal activity before police could monitor political activity.  Early reports even indicate that the CIA has pressured the NYPD to engage in warrantless searches that violate the legal requirements of probable cause, and skirt the judicial system in its entirety.

The erosion of our most fundamental civil liberties , those that declare us all equal, and protect us from the unwarranted intrusion of the government, is of great concern to all Americans regardless of their race or ethnicity. It seems that America is slowly but surely sacrificing its ideals in the name of national security, and with questionable results.

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