The New York City Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims violates their rights and produces no intelligence of any value, the FBI has found.
Under Director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI not only trampled on Americans’ rights but often failed to focus effectively on real threats such as spies and terrorists. That was because Hoover did not distinguish between criminal conduct and constitutionally guaranteed expression of free speech.
New laws and rigid oversight and guidelines put an end to these practices. But FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and other top FBI officials have been shocked to find that since 9/11, the New York City Police Department has been engaging in practices reminiscent of FBI abuses under Hoover.
In early 2012, the Associated Press began disclosing the NYPD Intelligence Division’s tactics. They include indiscriminate surveillance of mosques and businesses owned by Moslems and reporting on left-wing meetings throughout the country.
In an unprecedented move, Michael B. Ward, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office, went public to say that the New York surveillance tactics were not an effective form of intelligence gathering and were in fact harming the fight against terrorism by fomenting distrust among New Jersey’s Muslims.
“When people pull back, when people pull back cooperation, it creates additional risk, it creates blind spots, it hinders our ability to have our finger on the pulse of what’s going on around the state,” Ward said at a news briefing.
Last March, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said the Justice Department would review the matter. What has never come out is that the FBI considers the NYPD’s intelligence gathering practices since 9/11 not only a waste of money producing no intelligence of any value but a violation of Americans’ rights.