A federal review has concluded that New Jersey counterterrorism agents filed 140 intelligence reports into a crime-fighting database with no grounds for suspicion other than the suspects’ Muslim faith, the Newark Star-Ledger says. The report backs State Police contentions that the computer entries made by New Jersey’s Office of Counter-Terrorism amounted to improper profiling of suspects. Because of this concern, State Police had barred counterterrorism agents from making entries into the database and on Monday removed 14 troopers who had been assigned to that office.
The findings will be used by state Attorney General Peter Harvey in a report he is expected to issue by Oct. 17 on standards for identifying potential terrorists. Harvey and State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes believe the federal review affirms their decision to distance the State Police from Counter-Terrorism, according to top law enforcement officials. The State Police move to reassign the troopers drew an angry response from acting Gov. Richard Codey, who said he was tired of a “turf battle” being waged between the state’s top terror-fighting units. Codey issued an executive order removing Harvey’s authority over the day-to-day operations of the Office of Counter-Terrorism.