AP: The NYPD spied on its anti-terror partners

The Associated Press has published yet another stunning expose about the long and sinister reach of the New York Police Department’s COINTELPRO-style mosque surveillance program. After breaking the news that the NYPD has teamed up the CIA to spy on Muslims in and around New York City, that it created a secret Demographics Unit to oversee spying and hired “mosque crawlers” to infiltrate and “rakers” to eavesdrop, the AP now tells us that many of the people who were spied on thought they were working with the city to fight terrorism.

From the Associated Press:

Reda Shata considered himself a partner in New York’s fight against terrorism. He cooperated with the police and FBI, invited officers to his mosque for breakfast, even dined with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Despite the handshakes and photo ops, however, the New York Police Department was all the while watching the Egyptian sheik. Even as Shata’s story was splashed across the front page of The New York Times in a Pulitzer Prize-winning series about Muslims in America, an undercover officer and an informant were assigned to monitor him, and two others kept tabs on his mosque that same year.

“What did they find?” Shata asked through an interpreter at his current mosque in Monmouth County, N.J., after learning about the secret surveillance. “It’s a waste of time and a waste of money.”

Shata welcomed FBI agents to his mosque to speak to Muslims, invited NYPD officers for breakfast and threw parties for officers who were leaving the precinct during his time at the Islamic Center of Bay Ridge. As police secretly watched him in 2006, he had breakfast and dinner with Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion and was invited to meet with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Shata recalls.

“This is very sad,” he said after seeing his name in the NYPD file. “What is your feeling if you see this about people you trusted?”

This was life in America for Shata: a government partner in the fight against terrorism and a suspect at the same time.

In response to the AP’s earlier revelations, seven of New York’s Democratic State Senators called yesterday on the state’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, to investigate the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslim communities — and not a moment too soon. But since the CIA is also involved, why not go even higher? The CIA’s much-touted (by the CIA, that is) Inspector General investigation simply isn’t enough. It’s long past time for another Church Committee.

About Lizzy Ratner

Lizzy Ratner is a journalist in New York City. She is a co-editor with Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 10 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Elliot says:

    I nominate Reda Shata for a civic commendation. Not only did he provide photo-ops for Mayor Bloomberg, he also made law enforcement’s job easier by providing them easy access to a mosque. There must be a whole bunch of officers whose careers have been advanced by Shata’s kindness.

  2. Daniel Rich says:

    Does anyone raise a single eyebrow after what happened to Japanese-Americans during WWII? Welcome to the real ‘American Dream’ and what a nightmare it is in actuality and reality.

    • Antidote says:

      Wikipedia on Japanese Americans:

      “In 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed legislation which apologized for the internment on behalf of the U.S. government. The legislation said that government actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership”.[12] The U.S. government eventually disbursed more than $1.6 billion in reparations to Japanese Americans who had been interned and their heirs.[13]”

      No apologies and reparations for German American and Latin Americans internees

      link to gaic.info

  3. Les says:

    Is David Cohen, who started this, associated with a particular synagogue? If you think that’s an unfair question about Cohen, remind yourself of what he instigated against what particular religion.

  4. Citizen says:

    It’s a disgrace. Imagine if this happened to a pillar of the Jewish American community, say regarding abuse of tax exemption by NGOs funneling fungible cash to illegal settlements. Actually, unlike funds to any other country, all funds to Israel are fungible in Israel. No monitoring whatsoever.

  5. Chaos4700 says:

    …Demographics Unit? Is that the new double-speak for racial profiling?

    • Daniel Rich says:

      Hi Chaos4700,

      Q: …Demographics Unit?Is that the new double-speak for racial profiling?

      R: I’m ashamed to have to admit that your remark made me lol. Your words remains funny, the actual situation, of course, is everything but laughable.

  6. yourstruly says:

    sheik reda shata was treated by the nypd as both a partner and a suspect?

    let’s see, where was it that some members of a certain targeted ethnicity volunteered to assist their oppressors in keeping down the rest of this same ethnicity?

    oh yes, it was in those nazi concentration camps

    the lesson being?

    toadying up to one’s hangman ain’t gonna get one off the hook

  7. marc b. says:

    it’s now official. we live in east germany.