September 2nd, 2011 17:22 EST
CIA Sponsors Domestic Spying Activities By The NYPD?
A coalition of a dozen civil rights and advocacy organizations is calling on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Justice to take action in response to revelations that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) is engaged in widespread religious and ethnic profiling and monitoring of Muslim communities and houses of worship in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The revelations are contained in documents obtained by the Associated Press (AP) showing that undercover NYPD officers in a so-called "Demographics Unit" targeted the Muslim communities with the assistance of individuals linked to the CIA. NYPD officials denied the Demographics Unit ever existed, despite the AP`s publication of an NYPD presentation that described the mission and makeup of the unit.
AP: Inside the Spy Unit That NYPD Says Doesn`t Exist
AP: NYPD Demographics Unit Presentation
Editorial: The CIA and the NYPD are worrisome bedfellows (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
A coalition letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee requests that the committee conduct "an immediate investigation into this affair and hold formal hearings on the civil rights implications of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sponsoring domestic spying activities by the NYPD and its legality."
The coalition letter to the U.S. Marshals Service requests that the organization "withdraw its deputization of those special unit police officers involved in the above mentioned NYPD intelligence gathering activities, taking into account their safety and liability, the legality of such activities, and the civil rights implications of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sponsoring domestic spying activities by the NYPD."
A similar coalition letter to the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section requests "an immediate investigation into this apparent pattern of profiling by the New York City Police Department."
Coalition members include:
- Afghans for Peace
- Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund
- Asian Law Caucus
- Bill of Rights Defense Committee
- Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
- Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR)
- Demand Progress
- Defending Dissent Foundation
- Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM)
- Jews Against Islamophobia
- South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
When the revelations of NYPD profiling were first published, CAIR`s New York chapter joined a coalition of civil rights and advocacy organizations in calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to open an investigation into the initial AP allegations.
At the news conference, more than a dozen concerned leaders -- including a state senator, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, and representatives of rights organizations -- expressed outrage at the potentially illegal program.
Earlier this week, CAIR called on the New York City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to enforce the law that prohibits the use of racial or ethnic profiling by law enforcement officers.
CAIR is America`s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.