Probe launched into NYPD Muslim spying

Comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu says he is auditing NY's surveillance camera network

By Natasha Lennard

Published August 29, 2013 2:23PM (EDT)

As the AP has diligently reported over the last year, the NYPD has been carrying out a sprawling and invasive surveillance program since 9/11 on New York and New Jersey's Muslim communities, including -- as was revealed this week -- designating entire mosques as terror organizations.

In response (and, it's worth noting, just in time to garner some mayoral race leverage), New York's Comptroller John Liu has launched a new probe, auditing the 3,000-plus surveillance cameras installed by the NYPD. Liu said he fears the cameras have been disproportionately and wrongly used to target muslim communities.

"To put religious worship and religious leaders under surveillance without evidence is a rank betrayal of our country's founding principles," Liu said at a press conference in lower Manhattan. "The NYPD should not spy on people simply because of where they study or worship or what neighborhood they live in."

New York's recently updated network of surveillance cameras -- the Domain Awareness System -- was installed in contract with Microsoft and announced last year originally for counterterror purposes. With a now all-too-common mission creep, the camera system has been expanded to local law enforcement use.

"We're going to determine if this technology, which allows the police to watch almost every New Yorker's move, is safeguarded from abuse or misuse by those entrusted to control it," said Liu. "Does the NYPD have procedures in place to ensure against unconstitutional profiling?"

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

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Ap Comptroller Islam John Liu Muslims Nypd Police Spying Surveillance