According to a recently declassified document, CIA operatives have worked extensively with New York Police Department counter-terrorism forces since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Here is what is troubling about the report: CIA agents are forbidden by federal law from engaging in domestic spying.
The document is part of an investigation report that was completed in 2011 by inspector General David Buckley. The document was declassified in accordance with a Freedom of Information Act request by the New York Times.
The report discusses “irregular personnel practices” and “inadequate direction and control” by CIA managers that were in charge of the relationship between NYPD and CIA forces.
Buckley wrote that the lack of proper oversight from CIA officials would bring negative criticism of the CIA from the public.
“While negative public perception is to be expected from the revelation of the agency's close and direct collaboration with any local domestic police department, a perception that the agency has exceeded its authorities diminishes the trust place in the organization," Buckley said.
A story published in 2011 by the Associated Press alleged that the NYPD was using CIA officers to survey minority neighborhoods, mosques, cafes and bars. The story said that NYPD informants are instructed to keep tabs on clerics, taxi cab drivers and food vendors that are often Muslim as well.
The report did not directly address allegations from the AP’s story, choosing to vaguely describe “irregular personnel practices” instead. But while the NYPD called the AP story “fictional”, we might soon find out just how involved the CIA was in the NYPD’s surveying programs.
A group of New York Muslims have filed a lawsuit against the NYPD’s alleged Muslim surveillance programs.
Here’s an excerpt from the complaint: "Through the Muslim surveillance program, the NYPD has imposed an unwarranted badge of suspicion and stigma on law-abiding Muslim New Yorkers, including plaintiffs in this action.”
The group has some big names backing them in their lawsuit. They will be represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility project at CUNY School of Law and the New York Civil Liberties Union.