It’s past time I highlighted the incredible, and now Polk Award-winning, reporting of the Associated Press’ Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, as well as Chris Hawley and Eileen Sullivan, who over the past several months have systematically revealed that the New York Police Department gathered intelligence on Muslim communities in and around New York City with painfully little regard for whether there were any indications that these individuals and groups were likely to be harboring terrorists—other than their ethnicity or religion. To take just one memorable example: The NYPD requested information on every Pakistani cab driver in New York. If all this sounds illegal, that’s because had it been the federal government it probably would have been (and indeed, the CIA’s reported involvement raises just one of many thorny questions). There is a “Jewish angle,” so to speak: In once instance, the NYPD monitored Persian Jews in Long Island, just to be on the safe side. But surely Jews can identify with another religious minority being spied on by the people supposed to protect them precisely because of the way they pray to God? I strongly urge everyone even to browse the dozens of articles the AP has published continuing to drive this story.
The latest revelation, earlier this week, is that the NYPD was “monitoring” Muslim students at Columbia, Yale, Syracuse, the University of Pennsylvania, and elsewhere in the northeast. (Tablet contributor David Fine has an excellent op-ed on the subject in the Columbia Spectator: “I was appalled that a fellow student would hold such views,” he writes of one student who defended terrorist tactics, “but I would have been more appalled if that student had left her ideas unexpressed for fear of being filed away as a potential threat by the NYPD.”) At a press conference yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg’s Press Secretary Stu Loeser, compared the NYPD’s actions to earlier such programs that involved watching the Jewish Defense League and groups affiliated with the Irish Republican Army. But of course, the JDL and the IRA were—with some room for nuance—terrorist groups (hell, the JDL may have killed 2pac!). The groups the NYPD has recently been spying on are … just Muslims. Muslims in the land of the free.
Highlights of AP’s Probe Into NYPD Intelligence Operations [AP]
Speak Now for Peace [Columbia Spectator]
Bloomberg Blasts Questions from the Yale President [Capital]