Police investigators, prosecutors, and mayors nationwide say the New York Police Department is putting its chances of getting good tips from Muslim sources at risk by conducting clandestine surveillance of Muslims in the city and across the Northeast, the Associated Press reports. The AP’s sources cite their experience in serving communities that are home to large Muslim communities and other minority populations that have become isolated by events.
“It only takes one perceived mistake, whether it’s a mistake or not, where the confidence of the community will be temporarily shattered or damaged,” said former FBI agent Ted Wasky. Others said the New York police secret spying and its defense against suggestions it might be a mistake is a misguided approach that will hinder the department’s efforts to uncover potential attacks for years, if not decades. That critique has been forcefully rejected by the police department and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has praised the department’s tactics as ones that have kept the city safe in the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks.