The New York Police Department realizes a serious threat to the United States remains from extremist Islamists, despite the department's termination of a secretive program that spied on Muslims in their community, Rep. Peter King said.
King explained NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio "made commitments" during his campaign to end the practice. Launched after the 9/11 attacks, the program used plainclothes detectives in Muslim neighborhoods to seek information about possible attacks.
"I'm confident that they realize the serious threat is in New York," the New York Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday.
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King defended the practice, comparing it to the city's previous detective work in Italian and Irish communities. While "99 percent of Muslims are good Americans," King said detectives had to investigate problems where they initiated.
"The fact is the Islamic terrorist threat comes from the Muslim community. And, good detective work means knowing who is in that community.
"If you're looking for the Ku Klux Klan, you don't go to Harlem. If you're looking for Black Panthers, you don't go to a white citizen's council meeting. You go to where the potential threat is," King said.
The possibility of attacks against the United States from al-Qaida and splinter groups still exist, King said, calling current threats "more dangerous" than after 9/11.
Whatever detective work had occurred, King stressed the intelligence programs "do comply with the Constitution." He said the practice that investigated the Muslim community was just one of many used to keep the city safe.
"You have to look at the entire network of programs that have been set up. And they do work. And I believe they have tremendous respect for constitutional rights," he said.
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