The post 9-11 world is a complex one fraught with suspicions, paranoia and real threats. In addition to inflicting immediate pain and death upon the nation, the attacks have had a sometimes detrimental longterm effect on the nation’s psyche and have pushed us into countless, aggressive debates about privacy. And, there is a legitimate argument for surveillance of some type being a necessary evil in these days of terrorist threats. But, how is spying balanced with the ideal of privacy and freedom which the actions are taken to protect? And, lest you think that monitoring one group that looks a certain way will protect us against terrorist threat, where was the surveillance on Frazier Glenn Close earlier this week in Kansas City?
Police Unit That Spied on Muslims Is Disbanded
By MATT APUZZO and JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN
The decision represents the first sign that William J. Bratton, the Police Department’s new commissioner, is backing away from some of the post-9/11 intelligence-gathering practices of his predecessor. Credit Richard Perry/The New York Times
The New York Police Department has abandoned a secretive program that dispatched plainclothes detectives into Muslim neighborhoods to eavesdrop on conversations and built detailed files on where people ate, prayed and shopped, the department said.
The decision by the nation’s largest police force to shutter the surveillance program represents the first sign that William J. Bratton, the department’s new commissioner, is backing away from some of the post-9/11 intelligence-gathering practices of his predecessor. The move comes as the federal government reconsiders and re-evaluates some of its post-9/11 policies, including the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection.
The Police Department’s tactics, which are the subject of two federal lawsuits, drew criticism from civil rights groups and a senior official with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who said they harmed national security by sowing mistrust for law enforcement in Muslim communities.