The NY Post reports:
The NYPD has teamed with the CIA to morph into a de facto domestic intelligence agency with undercover officers infiltrating mosques and other Muslim gathering centers nationwide to keep tabs on potential terror threats, according to a blockbuster report yesterday.
The department proclaimed it is “doing all we reasonably can to stop terrorists from killing even more New Yorkers.”
Among the revelations by The Associated Press:
* NYPD cops called “rakers” and “mosque crawlers” are assigned to a “Demographic Unit” to infiltrate Muslim neighborhoods.
* Cops flooded Pakistani neighborhoods to recruit informants, by first busting them on traffic stops and outstanding warrants, then using the arrests as leverage.
* The CIA trained a top NYPD detective at its famed Farm spy school in Virginia, and a top CIA officer, a former Middle East station chief, is assigned to One Police Plaza.
* NYPD intelligence officers have spied on people far beyond New York City borders.
Police spokesman Paul Browne ripped the report, saying it is “marked by outright fiction, denying the use of the term “mosque crawler.”
Still, he sharply defended the program.
“We don’t apologize for it, and we’re not deterred by petty jealousies that success sometimes breeds,” he said.
Even those involved have reservations about maintaining the balance between security and civil liberties.
“Some in the department, including lawyers, have privately expressed concerns about the program,” said the AP story, which was based on interviews of 40 current and former cops and feds.
Before 9/11, the NYPD’s intel team did little more than aid in security for dignitaries.
But Police Commissioner Ray Kelly determined the city couldn’t rely on the feds to protect the city and tapped a former CIA deputy commissioner for intelligence, David Cohen, in 2002 to create the anti-terror intel unit from scratch.