In their latest covert and racially-biased move, the NYPD have now classified mosques as terrorist organizations and will now have the power to collect surveillance, “use informants to record sermons and spy on imams” without any probable cause.
Terrorism enterprise investigations, or TEI, are when the NYPD set up deep intelligence investigations into “terrorist cells.” There have been “at least a dozen” TEIs launched since the 9/11 attacks. It has been confirmed that the invasiveness of TEIs is so high that federal authorities, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have never used them, allegedly.
For well over a decade, the anti-Muslim craze that followed after the tragedy of 9/11 has resulted in the NYPD wrongfully infiltrating and spying on innocent Americans who so happen to follow Islam. One way that the NYPD has spied on American Muslims is by sending informants go into mosques and Muslim groups in the city.
This paranoia and over-extension of power has left some city officials unsettled.
“Deeply troubled” by the NYPD’s tactics, former NYC mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio noted his discontentedness that the “NYPD has labelled entire mosques & Muslim orgs [as] terror groups with seemingly no leads.” He continued by saying that “Security AND liberty make us strong.”
The NYPD was able to legally monitor mosques by convincing a federal judge to rewrite a law that allowed the police department to spy “on protesters and liberals during the Vietnam War.” The Handschu rule, named after the plaintiff in a 1971 lawsuit, gave the NYPD the ability to use collect intel on groups by using otherwise constitutionally protected speech.
After a federal judge rewrote the law in 2003, the NYPD began 15 new TEIs. Ten of which were focused on mosques.
Behind the Muslim-targeting spy tactics is ex-CIA executive turned NYPD deputy intelligence commissioner David Cohen. Cohen went to extreme measures to conduct surveillance on mosques in New York City. At one point, he requested the FBI to bug a city mosque, but the FBI denied the request.
Cohen then had his snitches resort to James Bond-type gadgetry, going to mosques while wearing microphoned wristwatches and key fobs.
Now, civil rights group, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), has a lawsuit pending against the NYPD for its extreme intelligence-gathering measures, which it manipulated the system to do so.
“These new NYPD spying disclosures confirm the experiences and worst fears of New York’s Muslims,” said ACLU lawyer Hina Shamsi. “From houses of worship to a wedding, there’s no area of New York Muslim religious or personal life that the NYPD has not invaded through its bias-based surveillance policy.”