(Photo via ArabianBusiness.com)
A senior Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official called the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) intelligence activities “felonious” and a “violations of US citizen’s rights” in an e-mail message sent last November.
The message, revealed by Truthout’s Jason Leopold and Matthew Harwood, was part of a trove of 5 million emails that the hacker group Anonymous obtained from the well-connected intelligence firm Stratfor and then turned over to WikiLeaks. The FBI official’s e-mail was sent to Fred Burton, the vice president for intelligence at Stratfor.
Truthout notes that the full e-mail message “hints at even worse civil liberties violations not yet disclosed.” The senior FBI official also says that the NYPD’s activities would make “[former FBI Director J. Edgar] Hoover, COINTEL[PRO], [and the] Red Squads” look like “rank” amateurs.
The NYPD’s intelligence division is responsible for the department’s widespread practice of spying on Muslims in the Northeast with no probable cause. NYPD informants infiltrated mosques, Muslim student groups and Middle Eastern-owned restaurants, eavesdropped on conversations and recorded what they heard in police files. The Associated Press began revealing the NYPD’s surveillance program last August.
It is the latest instance of the FBI voicing criticism of the NYPD’s activities. Back in March, the head of Newark’s FBI division said that the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims was harming counter-terrorism efforts. But it’s important to note that the FBI routinely engages in similar practices that the NYPD is being criticized for.
Since 9/11, the FBI has entrapped young Muslim men and conducted widespread surveillance of mosques. Speaking to Truthout, Mike German, senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, called the FBI email “ironic.” More from German:
The FBI has engaged in widespread spying on the Muslim American community as well, including counting mosques and mapping Muslim neighborhoods, infiltrating mosques with informants, and using the guise of community outreach to spy on Muslim religious and advocacy organizations…
This agent suggests the FBI knew the NYPD Intelligence agents were involved in widespread ‘felonious’ activity in violation of Americans’ civil rights, yet the FBI does not appear to have opened a civil rights investigation or done anything to stop this illegal activity. Our laws are designed to apply equally to protect all of us, including to protect us from illegal police activity. When the FBI abdicates this responsibility, all Americans suffer