Police spies on Pakistani communities in the U.S.

August 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

A report released today by the Associated Press shows that the New York Police Department has been spying on Pakistani and Muslim communities in New York City:

The Demographics Unit, a squad of 16 officers fluent in a total of at least five languages, was told to map ethnic communities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and identify where people socialize, shop and pray.

Once that analysis was complete, according to documents obtained by the AP, the NYPD would “deploy officers in civilian clothes throughout the ethnic communities.”

The architect of this and other programs was a veteran CIA officer who oversaw the program while working with the NYPD on the CIA payroll. It was an unusual arrangement for the CIA, which is prohibited from spying inside the U.S.

The spying clearly appears to be illegal, not just because it has racially profiled specific communities but also because the spying program has been carried out in conjunction with the CIA. The CIA is prohibited from domestic operations under U.S. law.

You should read the entire story, but here’s just a taste of how disgusting this program seems to be:

After CIA drone attacks in Pakistan for instance, current and former officials said, undercover officers would move through Pakistani neighborhoods to listen for angry rhetoric or anti-American comments.

So now anger is out of bounds? Criticizing the state is out of bounds? Instead of spying to look for such comments, shouldn’t this exercise make the CIA and NYPD wonder whether drone strikes themselves are the problem?

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