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Spying on American Muslims Has Resulted in No Terrorism Leads

Spying on American Muslims Has Resulted in No Terrorism Leads

The New York Police Department may be taking some pretty extreme measures to spy on its Muslim and Middle Eastern residents in order to collect counterterrorism intelligence, but it has nothing to show for its efforts. In the past six years, the Demographics Unit, the secretive program tasked with snooping on local Muslims, has failed to produce a single lead or terrorism investigation, reports the Washington Post.

This news comes directly from an NYPD officer, Assistant Chief Thomas Galati. In June, Galati delivered a recently unsealed deposition on the Demographics Unit, confessing that all of NYPD’s eavesdropping had failed to discover substantial information.

Even after journalists exposed the program in 2011, the NYPD denied that the Demographics Unit existed. With the unsealing of Galati’s testimony, there is now not only confirmation of the Demographics Unit existence, but a better understanding of how it operates.

According to testimony, the NYPD spied on Muslims and Middle Easterners constantly in the hope that an overheard conversation may lead to helpful information. Undercover agents would eavesdrop on people in mosques, restaurants, stores and residential neighborhoods based on no suspicion other than their ethnicity and the language they spoke.

While the NYPD has touted its intelligence program for helping to keep the city safe against terrorism, critics point out that — since no leads have been discovered – the Demographics Unit should not be given any credit. They also contend that the program’s methods are a violation of Muslim New Yorkers’ civil rights.

In 1971, NYPD was sued for spying on college students they believed may be Communists. As a result, new regulations forbid the NYPD from spying on people because of political speech, except in cases of suspected terrorism. The NYPD has used this terrorist exemption to conduct its investigation on Muslims.

Ever since the Demographics Unit has been revealed, it appears that the NYPD has been struggling to justify its unorthodox tactics. Mitchell Silber, who previously held a leading role in the department, asserted that the program was responsible for uncovering a tip that led to the arrest of the attempted Herald Square bomber. However, while under oath, Galati admitted that he saw no evidence that the Demographics Unit had anything to do with obtaining that information.

Eric Holder, the Attorney General, says he is concerned with the report, while some members of Congress have called the Justice Department for an investigation of the NYPD. However, they are not likely to get any support from the Commander-in-Chief considering that John Brennan, the leading counterterrorism consultant to President Barack Obama, has praised the NYPD’s actions for maintaining safety in the nation’s largest city.

One man who will be taking action is Jethro Eisenstein, the lawyer who questioned Galati on the stand. Eistenstein intends to have the Demographics Unit terminated through a lawsuit of his own. “This is a terribly pernicious set of policies,” he said. “No other group since the Japanese Americans in World War II has been subjected to this kind of widespread public policy.”

Related Stories:

NYPD Spied on Muslim Allies

A Mosque? Not in this New Jersey Town

Muslim-Americans Are the Most Optimistic Religious Group

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Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee

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51 comments

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3:32PM PDT on Oct 28, 2012

Do you really think they would burn their sources and tell anything about what they got from them?

4:35AM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

Anytime anyone pokes the slightest criticism at the overwhelmingly hypersensitive followers of Islam, why must they act like a bunch of crybabies of a mob mentality, burning American embassies, sodomizing, torturing and killing innocent people? Why must I respect Islam or any other religious beliefs? I respect your right to have your religious beliefs. I respect your right to express them. I respect you so long as you respect me. I do not respect your “right” to tell me that I am an evil person. I do not respect your “right” to tell me that I am going to hell. I do not respect your “right” to impose your beliefs on me. I do not respect ignorance. I do not respect brainwashing. I do not respect cults. I do not respect hatred, bigotry, misogyny, sexism, or tyranny. I do not respect your religion and I don’t have to. And I'm not going to.

7:11AM PDT on Sep 3, 2012

given that the (face) veil was not originally a muslim thing, but adopted from a group of Lebanese Christains, it's a real pity the custom didn't spread. Sandra L's face would be much improved by its addition.

8:41PM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

In the long history of Man, I have found being paranoid and delusional has NEVER brought results.

IT HAS gave you many religious cults, but nothing of real value.

5:34PM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

Oh, are the mulisms afraid we are going to rip the veils of their ugly faces? Is that what "islamaphobia" means? The should be afraid, very afraid. The truth has been revealed and their evil secrets are out. You can't close the barn door after the pigs have broken free. They've already crashed into the twin towers. We aren't going to patiently wait for anymore swinely shenanigans. The veils shall be torn asunder! The burkhas shall be pierced and the hijabs will become garottes before we will pretend that mulisms are worthy of any consideration, whatsoever! Mulism is a LIE.


4:32PM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

A short, but excellent take on this week in the world of Islam.

This week in islamophobia - 2012-09-01

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-xsxMMKjKU&feature=player_embedded

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/aftermath-of-israeli-attack-on-palestinian-teens.html#ixzz25MHChyeW

12:05PM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

I'm sorry--this just isn't accurate.

Najibullah Zazi, Adis Medunjanin and others were involved in a recent plot to bomb New York City subways. Medunjanin said he "wanted to shake Obama".

Mohamad Mamdouh and others were involved in a plot to bomb Synagogues in New York City.

I'm glad that both these plots were foiled.

Of course most Muslims are not terrorists--but it is also clear that there are Muslims who do want to carry out Jihad violence, and New York City is a prime target.

8:46AM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

Fear Fear Fear Fear Fear

That seems to be the only thing America is good at anymore, creating and stoking fear anymore.

8:05AM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

Sounds like CAIR got the best NYPD off of the Muslim spying case.

Instead CAIR and their paid lackeys, who have infiltrated the NYPD and the U.S. government, made sure the lowest IQ, morally-compromised part of the NYPD bungled the job. Hence, nothing found. What a surprise……

There are none so blind as those who have been ordered and paid to be, especially when their livelihoods are at stake.


7:40AM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

Surprise, surprise. Criminals are criminals no matter what their religion. People who justify killing and destruction are dangerous no matter what their religion or other excuse/justifications. Track people who deserve to be tracked!

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