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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

FBI Official Says NYPD Surveillance Damaged Public Trust

FBI Official Says NYPD Surveillance of N.J. Muslins Damaged Public Trust
NY 1 News - March 7, 2012 ---

The head of the FBI in New Jersey says the New York City Police Department's monitoring of Muslim groups damaged the public's trust in law enforcement across the Hudson. Michael Ward, who heads the FBI's Newark Division, says two NYPD investigators have been assigned to the New Jersey-based Joint Terrorism Task Force for years. While he did know they were working in the state, Ward says he was not briefed on the extent of the NYPD's operations outside the task force. He says the NYPD's secret surveillance of mosques, Muslim-owned businesses and college campuses jeopardized some of the relationships agents had built in the community over the last decade. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne says the department has established strong relations in the Muslim community. Browne added the NYPD's intelligence gathering led to the capture of radical converts in New Jersey. He also said the monitoring was within the FBI's guidelines. NYPD officials say they use many of the same tactics to arrest drug dealers and gang leaders. Muslim leaders in New York, New Jersey and other states have requested investigations into the NYPD's activities. Meanwhile, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani defended the NYPD over its controversial surveillance of the Muslim community. At the Bronx Chamber of Commerce's annual Irish heritage luncheon in Bronxdale on Wednesday, the former mayor stressed his respect for Islam and the rights of all Americans. But the former federal prosecutor said history shows threats have repeatedly emerged from within mosques and Muslim community groups and endorsed the NYPD's judgement and tactics. "We have without any doubt, the most responsible, the best police department in the country. We have in Ray Kelly, one of the best police commissioners in the history of the police department. I would tend to give them the benefit of the doubt before I would get too exaggerated about this," said Giuliani. Giuliani also commented on his party's Super Tuesday results, saying he would support any of the leading Republicans trying to defeat President Barack Obama.

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