From the Times Ledger:
City Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said he was shocked by a report that said the NYPD has sent undercover officers into Muslim neighborhoods in the city as a terrorist-prevention measure, even if there is no evidence of criminal activity.
The domestic surveillance operation was revealed in a report by the Associated Press last week.
“I really feel that that’s the role of the FBI and the CIA perhaps if, in fact, they have founded suspicions of terrorist activity,” said Dromm, who is chairman of the Council Immigration Committee.
The AP report said that under CIA veterans David Cohen and Larry Sanchez and with the approval of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the NYPD hired immigrant officers to monitor Muslim neighborhoods. The informants would monitor imams’ speeches but also locations such as ethnic bookstores, restaurants, cafés or hookah bars for any signs of radicalism, according to the AP.
Queens has large Muslim communities in Jackson Heights, Astoria and the Flushing area.
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said he believed the report was planted by federal agencies jealous of the NYPD’s success. He said the NYPD does not have the manpower to undertake phishing expeditions, but monitors chatter and websites that suggest terrorist activities and works from there. Vallone said the Council Public Safety Committee, which he chairs, also has oversight of all the NYPD’s activities except for those overseas.
“The NYPD is the most scrutinized police department in the world,” Vallone said.