NYPD secretly labeled mosques as terror groups

Documents show how designation allowed police to spy on entire Muslim communities

Topics: NYPD, Muslims, Surveillance, Spying, Islam, Terrorism, Police,

NYPD secretly labeled mosques as terror groups (Credit: shutterstock)

Last year, the AP reported in a Pulitzer Prize-winning series that the NYPD has been carrying out a vast and covert surveillance operation on New York and New Jersey’s Muslim communities. The NYPD were shown to have investigated and surveilled thousands of innocent Muslims.

New documents reveal that the police department specifically designated a number of entire mosques as “terror organizations,” to enable greater surveillance. Lawsuits from the ACLU and other civil liberties groups contend that the tactics are at base unconstitutional, since a person can be treated as a potential terror suspect simply by virtue of attending a designated mosque.

Via the AP:



Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen “terrorism enterprise investigations” into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. The TEI, as it is known, is a police tool intended to help investigate terrorist cells and the like.

Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise.

The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that, while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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