NYPD Spent Years Spying On Muslims, Generated Exactly Zero Leads
from the security-theater dept
Of course, the FBI is not alone in its incredibly ham-fisted anti-terrorism efforts in which the focus seems to be much more about someone's religious leanings, rather than any actual interest in creating terror. The NY Police Department got plenty of attention for deciding to build their own local versions of the FBI and CIA to try to catch terrorists. That link describes the NYPD as a sort of new "elite" intelligence agency, hiring people out of other intelligence agencies and then placing agents around the globe to try to beat the FBI and CIA at their own game.
Back at home, apparently this included following on the FBI's tactic of assuming that "brown skin = terrorist." As such, they've spent the past few years spying on "Muslim neighbrhoods" throughout New York (with help from the CIA), sending undercover agents and informants into Muslim groups and organizations:
The Demographics Unit is at the heart of a police spying program, built with help from the CIA, which assembled databases on where Muslims lived, shopped, worked and prayed. Police infiltrated Muslim student groups, put informants in mosques, monitored sermons and catalogued every Muslim in New York who adopted new, Americanized surnames.How useful has it been? Apparently not at all. Not a single lead has come out of the program. Not one.
Police hoped the Demographics Unit would serve as an early warning system for terrorism. And if police ever got a tip about, say, an Afghan terrorist in the city, they'd know where he was likely to rent a room, buy groceries and watch sports.
I know this is a crazy thought, but perhaps violating the privacy of tons of people just because of the color of their skin or their religion, isn't the best (or even "a") way to stop terrorists.