Saudi Arabia: New York Police Department use of Covert Intelligence Teams to Target Muslim Communities



  The Associated Press carried an interesting and lengthy article on how the New York Police Department has increased and built up its use of Covert Intelligence teams and sources to target heavily populated Muslim communities.  I enjoyed reading the article but must confess that I did not find anything profound or unusual.  I guess this is perhaps due to my own previous intelligence background on how information is collected, gathered and processed.  I do not think it is unusual or out of minds reach to read that the CIA has cooperated with the NYPD and helped assimilate and coordinate their initiatives.  However I do concede that the activities can raise the question on violation of civil rights and liberties if individuals under observation are either US citizens or US green card holders.  A green card holder should know that he or she does have the rights –and- protections as a US citizen.  Yet at the same time Homeland Security regulations since 9/11 have allowed law enforcement and intelligence to bypass and get around what many will perceive as some of these liberties and rights.  Is the NYPD racial profiling by having a specialized unit focused on Muslim communities?


It is unusual to hear of the extensive scope and breadth of activities which are taken by a police department rather than the FBI but as we are well aware life has not been the same in America since 9/11.  The activities of the NYPD are not uncommon.  Within Saudi Arabia the police department has its own leverage and investigation capabilities, some which would not pass muster in the United States.  Yet who can fault a country, any country, which wants to ensure its citizens are safe and secure and acts of terrorism are prevented.  We will always hear of bungled attempts and faults of failed operations.  The successes and highlights, regardless of whether in Saudi Arabia or America are typically kept silent to maintain the protection of sources and methods.  The general public will not hear readily of these activities.


Do Muslim Communities in the United States require targeting?  My answer is yes but do not exclusively focus on solely Muslim communities.  In fact there are other units in law enforcement which do focus on many groups categorized as high interest and/or with threat potentials.  I think a sensitive aspect the NYPD has with its covert teams is to ensure that no data on US citizens or green card holders is maintained in any kind of data base or files without cause.  Information can be maintained but sanitized so identities are removed and protected.  


What do you think?  The article is worth reading and discussing from both the aspect of having such a team within a police department in the United States and compared to methods applied in Saudi Arabia.  I look forward to your comments.


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