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Tags: FBI | NYPD | Muslims | Rights

FBI: New York Police Violate Muslims’ Rights

Ronald Kessler By Wednesday, 01 August 2012 10:41 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C. — The New York City Police Department’s surveillance of Muslims violates their rights and produces no intelligence of any value, the FBI has found.

The disclosure comes in an epilogue to the paperback edition of my book “The Secrets of the FBI,” to be published Aug. 7.

Under Director J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI not only trampled on Americans’ rights but often failed to focus effectively on real threats such as spies and terrorists. That was because Hoover did not distinguish between criminal conduct and constitutionally guaranteed expression of free speech.

Special Report: Obama’s Assault on Religion — Click Here Now

New laws and rigid oversight and guidelines put an end to these practices. But FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and other top FBI officials have been shocked to find that since 9/11, the New York City Police Department has been engaging in practices reminiscent of FBI abuses under Hoover.

In early 2012, the Associated Press began disclosing the NYPD Intelligence Division’s tactics. They include indiscriminate surveillance of mosques and businesses owned by Moslems and reporting on left-wing meetings throughout the country.

In an unprecedented move, Michael B. Ward, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark office, went public to say that the New York surveillance tactics were not an effective form of intelligence gathering and were in fact harming the fight against terrorism by fomenting distrust among New Jersey’s Muslims.

“When people pull back, when people pull back cooperation, it creates additional risk, it creates blind spots, it hinders our ability to have our finger on the pulse of what’s going on around the state,” Ward said at a news briefing.

Last March, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said the Justice Department would review the matter. What has never come out is that the FBI considers the NYPD’s intelligence gathering practices since 9/11 not only a waste of money producing no intelligence of any value but a violation of Americans’ rights.

Because the FBI and New York City police need to work together, Mueller has downplayed the issue and has made a point of commending the department for protecting the city. But within the bureau, Mueller has made it clear that FBI agents must adhere to their own guidelines and have nothing to do with the NYPD Intelligence Division headed by former CIA officer David Cohen.

“Cohen has none of the experience or training working in a domestic organization,” says a top FBI official. “Running an intelligence operation overseas is radically different from operating in a domestic, constitutional environment. Who is providing any oversight of the New York police?”

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If FBI agents violated Justice Department guidelines governing how they may conduct investigations, they could be fired or prosecuted. The problem is that no such guidelines apply to the New York City Police Department.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly has vigorously defended his agency’s practices as necessary. But while New York City has detected plots, it has not been because of these surveillance tactics, the FBI official notes.

“The NYPD has been sending undercover operatives to political meetings,” the official says. “The FBI would not be allowed to do those kinds of things. We stay away from the Intelligence Division because we know what they are doing would not pass the test with FBI oversight authorities.”

Instead, “The FBI has detected attacks with cooperation from the community and good liaison with law enforcement,” the agent says.

“We are not engaging in that kind of aimless intelligence gathering on mosques or political meetings without a predication that terrorist activities might be involved. We can develop informants and assets, but we can’t task them to do a fishing expedition, which is what the police are doing. It’s not targeted investigation, and it risks trust and cooperation being broken. We will not be a party to it,” the agent adds.

Besides disclosing the FBI’s view of NYPD tactics, as noted in my story "Russia Tried to Swap Spies Hanssen, Ames," “The Secrets of the FBI” reveals that Russia tried to include convicted American spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen in a swap of Russian spies arrested by the FBI.

The book discloses that contrary to the fictionalized portrayal in the movie “Breach,” it was FBI agent Mike Rochford who uncovered fellow agent Robert Hanssen as a spy.

The book reveals for the first time how FBI agents break into homes and offices to plant bugging devices without getting caught and shot as burglars. When planting bugs in the homes and offices of Mafia figures, spies, and terrorists, FBI agents tranquilize dogs, stage fake traffic accidents, and instruct police to stop occupants who try to return.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA. Read more reports from Ronald Kessler — Click Here Now.

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Wednesday, 01 August 2012 10:41 AM
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