New York police investigators have been infiltrating Muslim student groups at colleges in the city, monitoring their Internet activity and placing undercover agents in their ranks, say police documents obtained by the Associated Press. Experts say the operation may have broken a 19-year-old pact with the colleges and violated U.S. privacy laws, jeopardizing millions of dollars in federal research money and student aid.
The infiltration was part of a secret intelligence-gathering effort that put entire Muslim communities under scrutiny. Police photographed restaurants and grocery stores that cater to Muslims and built databases showing where people shopped, got their hair cut and prayed. The AP reported on the secret campaign earlier. The majority of Islamic terrorism cases involve young men, and infiltrating student groups gave police access to that demographic. Alarmed professors and students say it smacks of the FBI spying conducted on college campuses in the 1960s. Last week, professors at the City University of New York’s Law School warned that the spying at CUNY campuses may have violated civil rights laws. The Brooklyn College Faculty Council has passed a similar measure.