Another wrinkle in New York City's controversial surveillance of Muslims -- money from the White House reportedly pays for part of the program.
The Associated Press reports that the NYPD is using some of the money designated for fighting drugs under the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) for the surveillance, including money for cars for undercover cops and computers to store information.
The AP writes:
The AP confirmed the use of White House money through secret police documents and interviews with current and former city and federal officials. The AP also obtained electronic documents with digital signatures indicating they were created and saved on HIDTA computers. The HIDTA grant program is overseen by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The city has gotten $135 million in HIDTA money over the past decade. It's not clear how much of that money went towards the surveillance program.
But the head of the HIDTA program in New York said most of it has gone towards the drug war. Just $1.3 million was spent on vehicles for the NYPD intelligence unit.
"Those cars are used to collect and analyze counterterrorism information with the goal of preventing a terrorist attack in New York City or anywhere else," Chauncey Parker said. "If it's been used for specific counterterrorism effort, then it's been used to pay for those cars."
The NYPD has come under fire for its program of conducting surveillance in Muslim neighborhoods, collecting information on Muslim college students, mosque services and other events.