Unlike virtually all the media reports on this story (video below), the blog Sweetness & Light does a BNI-style commentary on it, which I happily post here.
From an outraged Associated Press: NYPD designates mosques as terrorism organizations
By ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO | August 28, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance.
Sanity, from Mayor Bloomberg? But why is the AP so incensed? They don’t seem to mind it when Obama monitors the rest of us.
Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like…
Think of it as a kind of preemptive ‘stop and frisk.’
The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files…
Boo hoo. By the way, let’s see some proof of this assertion. (We don’t get it anywhere in this article.)
The strategy has allowed the NYPD to send undercover officers into mosques and attempt to plant informants on the boards of mosques…(sometimes they don’t have to look in mosques, when potential terrorists are banging their heads on the streets of NYC –BNI)
How horrible. Still, if only they had done this in Boston.
The revelations about the NYPD’s massive spying operations are in documents recently obtained by The Associated Press and part of a new book, “Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America.”
The book by AP reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman is based on hundreds of previously unpublished police files and interviews with current and former NYPD, CIA and FBI officials…
The “Enemies” in the title probably turn out to be the NYPD, CIA and FBI.
The American Civil Liberties Union and two other groups have sued, saying the Muslim spying programs are unconstitutional and make Muslims afraid to practice their faith without police scrutiny.
And never mind all the things the ACLU has done to make Christians afraid to practice their faith.
Both Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have denied those accusations. They say police do not unfairly target people; they only follow leads.
“As a matter of department policy, undercover officers and confidential informants do not enter a mosque unless they are following up on a lead,” Kelly wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal…
Oh, come on. Mosques should be sanctuaries for terrorists. Fair is fair.
Before the NYPD could target mosques as terrorist groups, it had to persuade a federal judge to rewrite rules governing how police can monitor speech protected by the First Amendment.
The rules stemmed from a 1971 lawsuit, dubbed the Handschu case after lead plaintiff Barbara Handschu, over how the NYPD spied on protesters and liberals during the Vietnam War era…
NYPD lawyers proposed a new tactic, the TEI, that allowed officers to monitor political or religious speech whenever the “facts or circumstances reasonably indicate” that groups of two or more people were involved in plotting terrorism or other violent crime.
The judge rewrote the Handschu rules in 2003. In the first eight months under the new rules, the NYPD’s Intelligence Division opened at least 15 secret terrorism enterprise investigations, documents show. At least 10 targeted mosques.
Doing so allowed police, in effect, to treat anyone who attends prayer services as a potential suspect. Sermons, ordinarily protected by the First Amendment, could be monitored and recorded…
Gosh that’s horrible, Still, ‘live by the federal judge, die by the federal judge.’ According to the FBI (and probably the AP), it’s all right to spy on all American citizens through their phone calls and e-mails, if it helps protect the nation. But we can’t monitor a group of people who has been responsible for countless terrorist attacks?