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Thursday, August 25, 2011

  • With CIA Help, New York Police Secretly Monitored Mosques, Muslim Communities Post-9/11

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    A new investigation by the Associated Press reveals how, after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the New York City Police Department decided it could no longer trust other agencies to prevent terrorism and started expanding its own intelligence gathering. In the process, it became "one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies," targeting ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. The report, titled "With CIA Help, NYPD Moves Covertly in Muslim Areas," also finds that these operations "benefited from unprecedented help from the CIA, a partnership that has blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying." The report details how police used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even without any evidence of wrongdoing. Also falling under NYPD’s scrutiny were imams, taxi cab drivers and food cart vendors — jobs often done by Muslims. We speak with Matt Apuzzo, co-author of the Associated Press investigative report, and get response from Gadeir Abbas, staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. [includes rush transcript]

  • "Terrorists for the FBI:" How the FBI Uses Informants to Surveil and Entrap Americans

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    The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic terrorist attack. But are they busting plots—or leading them? That’s the question addressed by a year-long investigation in Mother Jones magazine. It suggests FBI informants are not only busting terrorist plots, they are actually leading them so the FBI can later claim victories in the so-called "war on terror." In collaboration with the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California, Berkeley, reporter Trevor Aaronson examined more than 500 terrorism-related cases and found that nearly half the prosecutions involved the use of informants, many of them incentivized by cash rewards up to $100,000 per assignment. We speak with Aaronson and are also joined by James Wedick, a retired FBI agent who worked for the Bureau for 35 years, and Gadeir Abbas, staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. [includes rush transcript]