AP investigation reveals CIA links to widespread monitoring of Muslim communities
(NEW YORK, NY, 8/24/11) — A coalition of civil rights and advocacy organizations Wednesday called on the U.S. Department of Justice to open an investigation into allegations that the New York City Police Department (NYPD), with support from the CIA, is conducting a massive covert program to monitor the Muslim communities in New York and New Jersey.
More than a dozen concerned leaders — including a state senator, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, and representatives of rights organizations — gathered for a news conference at the Manhattan office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ New York chapter (CAIR-NY) this afternoon, expressing outrage at the potentially illegal program.
Speakers at the news conference included:
- Cyrus McGoldrick, CAIR-New York
- James Yee, CAIR-New Jersey
- Gadeir Abbas, CAIR’s national office
- Ramzi Kassem, CUNY Law: CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility)
- Udi Ofer, New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)
- Gideon Oliver, National Lawyers Guild – NYC
- Fahd Ahmed, Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM)
- Aisha Al-Adawiya, Women in Islam, Inc.
- New York State Senator Bill Perkins
- Rev. Chloe Breyer, Interfaith Center of New York
- Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, Majlis Ash-Shura of New York
Representatives from Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and International Action Center (IAC) also joined the news conference.
A major media report this morning exposed the NYPD spy program, which is allegedly being conducted with the assistance of individuals linked to the CIA.
Following a months-long investigation, The Associated Press (AP) revealed that the NYPD is using covert surveillance techniques “that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government” and “does so with unprecedented help from the CIA in a partnership that has blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying.”
According to the AP investigative report:
“The [NYPD] 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. Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD’s intelligence unit.”
SEE: With CIA Help, NYPD Built Secret Effort to Monitor Mosques, Daily Life of Muslim Neighborhoods (AP)
“The responsibility of the NYPD is to protect all New Yorkers equally, and to investigate crimes not communities,” said CAIR-NY Civil Rights Manager Cyrus McGoldrick. “Programs like this are a violation not only of the civil rights of American Muslims, but are a violation of the trust we place in our law enforcement.”
CAIR is 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.
CONTACT: CAIR-NY Civil Rights Manager Cyrus McGoldrick, 203-206-6883, 212-870-2002, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;