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NYPD and CIA Operations Conducted in Secret for Years


Douglas Caddy
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/24/nypd-cia-terrorism_n_934923.html

NYPD CIA Anti-Terror Operations Conducted In Secret For Years

By MATT APUZZO and ADAM GOLDMAN

08/24/11 06:10 AM ET

AP

NEW YORK -- In New Brunswick, N.J., a building superintendent opened the door to apartment No. 1076 one balmy Tuesday and discovered an alarming scene: terrorist literature strewn about the table and computer and surveillance equipment set up in the next room.

The panicked superintendent dialed 911, sending police and the FBI rushing to the building near Rutgers University on the afternoon of June 2, 2009. What they found in that first-floor apartment, however, was not a terrorist hideout but a command center set up by a secret team of New York Police Department intelligence officers.

From that apartment, about an hour outside the department's jurisdiction, the NYPD had been staging undercover operations and conducting surveillance throughout New Jersey. Neither the FBI nor the local police had any idea.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the NYPD has become one of the country's most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies. A months-long investigation by The Associated Press has revealed that the NYPD operates far outside its borders and targets ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. And it does so with unprecedented help from the CIA in a partnership that has blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying.

Neither the city council, which finances the department, nor the federal government, which contributes hundreds of millions of dollars each year, is told exactly what's going on.

The department has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as "rakers," into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They've monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even when there's no evidence of wrongdoing. NYPD officials have scrutinized imams and gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims.

Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD's intelligence unit.

A veteran CIA officer, while still on the agency's payroll, was the architect of the NYPD's intelligence programs. The CIA trained a police detective at the Farm, the agency's spy school in Virginia, then returned him to New York, where he put his new espionage skills to work inside the United States.

And just last month, the CIA sent a senior officer to work as a clandestine operative inside police headquarters.

While the expansion of the NYPD's intelligence unit has been well known, many details about its clandestine operations, including the depth of its CIA ties, have not previously been reported.

The NYPD denied that it trolls ethnic neighborhoods and said it only follows leads. In a city that has repeatedly been targeted by terrorists, police make no apologies for pushing the envelope. NYPD intelligence operations have disrupted terrorist plots and put several would-be killers in prison.

"The New York Police Department is doing everything it can to make sure there's not another 9/11 here and that more innocent New Yorkers are not killed by terrorists," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. "And we have nothing to apologize for in that regard."

But officials said they've also been careful to keep information about some programs out of court, where a judge might take a different view. The NYPD considers even basic details, such as the intelligence division's organization chart, to be too sensitive to reveal in court.

One of the enduring questions of the past decade is whether being safe requires giving up some liberty and privacy. The focus of that debate has primarily been federal programs like wiretapping and indefinite detention. The question has received less attention in New York, where residents do not know for sure what, if anything, they have given up.

The story of how the NYPD Intelligence Division developed such aggressive programs was pieced together by the AP in interviews with more than 40 current and former New York Police Department and federal officials. Many were directly involved in planning and carrying out these secret operations for the department. Though most said the tactics were appropriate and made the city safer, many insisted on anonymity, because they were not authorized to speak with reporters about security matters.

The story begins with one man.

___

David Cohen arrived at the New York Police Department in January 2002, just weeks after the last fires had been extinguished at the debris field that had been the twin towers. A retired 35-year veteran of the CIA, Cohen became the police department's first civilian intelligence chief.

Cohen had an exceptional career at the CIA, rising to lead both the agency's analytical and operational divisions. He also was an extraordinarily divisive figure, a man whose sharp tongue and supreme confidence in his own abilities gave him a reputation as arrogant. Cohen's tenure as head of CIA operations, the nation's top spy, was so contentious that in 1997, The New York Times editorial page took the unusual step of calling for his ouster.

He had no police experience. He had never defended a city from an attack. But New York wasn't looking for a cop.

"Post-9/11, we needed someone in there who knew how to really gather intelligence," said John Cutter, a retired NYPD official who served as one of Cohen's top uniformed officers.

At the time, the intelligence division was best known for driving dignitaries around the city. Cohen envisioned a unit that would analyze intelligence, run undercover operations and cultivate a network of informants. In short, he wanted New York to have its own version of the CIA.

Cohen shared Commissioner Ray Kelly's belief that 9/11 had proved that the police department could not simply rely on the federal government to prevent terrorism in New York.

"If anything goes on in New York," one former officer recalls Cohen telling his staff in the early days, "it's your fault."

Among Cohen's earliest moves at the NYPD was making a request of his old colleagues at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. He needed someone to help build this new operation, someone with experience and clout and, most important, someone who had access to the latest intelligence so the NYPD wouldn't have to rely on the FBI to dole out information.

CIA Director George Tenet responded by tapping Larry Sanchez, a respected veteran who had served as a CIA official inside the United Nations. Often, when the CIA places someone on temporary assignment, the other agency picks up the tab. In this case, three former intelligence officials said, Tenet kept Sanchez on the CIA payroll.

When he arrived in New York in March 2002, Sanchez had offices at both the NYPD and the CIA's station in New York, one former official said. Sanchez interviewed police officers for newly defined intelligence jobs. He guided and mentored officers, schooling them in the art of gathering information. He also directed their efforts, another said.

There had never been an arrangement like it, and some senior CIA officials soon began questioning whether Tenet was allowing Sanchez to operate on both sides of the wall that's supposed to keep the CIA out of the domestic intelligence business.

"It should not be a surprise to anyone that, after 9/11, the Central Intelligence Agency stepped up its cooperation with law enforcement on counterterrorism issues or that some of that increased cooperation was in New York, the site of ground zero," CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said.

Just as at the CIA, Cohen and Sanchez knew that informants would have to become the backbone of their operation. But with threats coming in from around the globe, they couldn't wait months for the perfect plan.

They came up with a makeshift solution. They dispatched more officers to Pakistani neighborhoods and, according to one former police official directly involved in the effort, instructed them to look for reasons to stop cars: speeding, broken tail lights, running stop signs, whatever. The traffic stop gave police an opportunity to search for outstanding warrants or look for suspicious behavior. An arrest could be the leverage the police needed to persuade someone to become an informant.

For Cohen, the transition from spying to policing didn't come naturally, former colleagues said. When faced with a decision, especially early in his tenure, he'd fall back on his CIA background. Cutter said he and other uniformed officers had to tell Cohen, no, we can't just slip into someone's apartment without a warrant. No, we can't just conduct a search. The rules for policing are different.

While Cohen was being shaped by the police department, his CIA background was remaking the department. But one significant barrier stood in the way of Cohen's vision.

Since 1985, the NYPD had operated under a federal court order limiting the tactics it could use to gather intelligence. During the 1960s and 1970s, the department had used informants and undercover officers to infiltrate anti-war protest groups and other activists without any reason to suspect criminal behavior.

To settle a lawsuit, the department agreed to follow guidelines that required "specific information" of criminal activity before police could monitor political activity.

In September 2002, Cohen told a federal judge that those guidelines made it "virtually impossible" to detect terrorist plots. The FBI was changing its rules to respond to 9/11, and Cohen argued that the NYPD must do so, too.

"In the case of terrorism, to wait for an indication of crime before investigating is to wait far too long," Cohen wrote.

U.S. District Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. agreed, saying the old guidelines "addressed different perils in a different time." He scrapped the old rules and replaced them with more lenient ones.

It was a turning point for the NYPD.

___

With his newfound authority, Cohen created a secret squad that would soon infiltrate Muslim neighborhoods, according to several current and former officials directly involved in the program.

The NYPD carved up the city into more than a dozen zones and assigned undercover officers to monitor them, looking for potential trouble.

At the CIA, one of the biggest obstacles has always been that U.S. intelligence officials are overwhelmingly white, their mannerisms clearly American. The NYPD didn't have that problem, thanks to its diverse pool of officers.

Using census data, the department matched undercover officers to ethnic communities and instructed them to blend in, the officials said. Pakistani-American officers infiltrated Pakistani neighborhoods, Palestinians focused on Palestinian neighborhoods. They hung out in hookah bars and cafes, quietly observing the community around them.

The unit, which has been undisclosed now, became known inside the department as the Demographic Unit, former police officials said.

"It's not a question of profiling. It's a question of going where the problem could arise," said Mordecai Dzikansky, a retired NYPD intelligence officer who said he was aware of the Demographic Unit. "And thank God we have the capability. We have the language capability and the ethnic officers. That's our hidden weapon."

The officers did not work out of headquarters, officials said. Instead, they passed their intelligence to police handlers who knew their identities.

Cohen said he wanted the squad to "rake the coals, looking for hot spots," former officials recalled. The undercover officers soon became known inside the department as rakers.

A hot spot might be a beauty supply store selling chemicals used for making bombs. Or it might be a hawala, a broker that transfers money around the world with little documentation. Undercover officers might visit an Internet cafe and look at the browsing history on a computer, a former police official involved in the program said. If it revealed visits to radical websites, the cafe might be deemed a hot spot.

Ethnic bookstores, too, were on the list. If a raker noticed a customer looking at radical literature, he might chat up the store owner and see what he could learn. The bookstore, or even the customer, might get further scrutiny. If a restaurant patron applauds a news report about the death of U.S. troops, the patron or the restaurant could be labeled a hot spot.

The goal was to "map the city's human terrain," one law enforcement official said. The program was modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank, a former police official said.

Mapping crimes has been a successful police strategy nationwide. But mapping robberies and shootings is one thing. Mapping ethnic neighborhoods is different, something that at least brushes against what the federal government considers racial profiling.

Browne, the NYPD spokesman, said the Demographic Unit does not exist. He said the department has a Zone Assessment Unit that looks for locations that could attract terrorists. But he said undercover officers only followed leads, disputing the account of several current and former police and federal officials. They do not just hang out in neighborhoods, he said.

"We will go into a location, whether it's a mosque or a bookstore, if the lead warrants it, and at least establish whether there's something that requires more attention," Browne said.

That conflicts with testimony from an undercover officer in the 2006 trial of Shahawar Matin Siraj, who was convicted of planning an attack on New York's subway system. The officer said he was instructed to live in Brooklyn and act as a "walking camera" for police.

"I was told to act like a civilian – hang out in the neighborhood, gather information," the Bangladeshi officer testified, under a false name, in what offered the first narrow glimpse at the NYPD's infiltration of ethnic neighborhoods.

Officials said such operations just made sense. Islamic terrorists had attacked the city on 9/11, so police needed people inside the city's Muslim neighborhoods. Officials say it does not conflict with a 2004 city law prohibiting the NYPD from using religion or ethnicity "as the determinative factor for initiating law enforcement action."

"It's not profiling," Cutter said. "It's like, after a shooting, do you go 20 blocks away and interview guys or do you go to the neighborhood where it happened?"

In 2007, the Los Angeles Police Department was criticized for even considering a similar program. The police announced plans to map Islamic neighborhoods to look for pockets of radicalization among the region's roughly 500,000 Muslims. Criticism was swift, and chief William Bratton scrapped the plan.

"A lot of these people came from countries where the police were the terrorists," Bratton said at a news conference, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. "We don't do that here. We do not want to spread fear."

In New York, current and former officials said, the lesson of that controversy was that such programs should be kept secret.

Some in the department, including lawyers, have privately expressed concerns about the raking program and how police use the information, current and former officials said. Part of the concern was that it might appear that police were building dossiers on innocent people, officials said. Another concern was that, if a case went to court, the department could be forced to reveal details about the program, putting the entire operation in jeopardy.

That's why, former officials said, police regularly shredded documents discussing rakers.

When Cohen made his case in court that he needed broader authority to investigate terrorism, he had promised to abide by the FBI's investigative guidelines. But the FBI is prohibited from using undercover agents unless there's specific evidence of criminal activity, meaning a federal raking program like the one officials described to the AP would violate FBI guidelines.

The NYPD declined to make Cohen available for comment. In an earlier interview with the AP on a variety of topics, Police Commissioner Kelly said the intelligence unit does not infringe on civil rights.

"We're doing what we believe we have to do to protect the city," he said. "We have many, many lawyers in our employ. We see ourselves as very conscious and aware of civil liberties. And we know there's always going to be some tension between the police department and so-called civil liberties groups because of the nature of what we do."

The department clashed with civil rights groups most publicly after Cohen's undercover officers infiltrated anti-war groups before the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. A lawsuit over that program continues today.

During the convention, when protesters were arrested, police asked a list of questions which, according to court documents, included: "What are your political affiliations?" "Do you do any kind of political work?" and "Do you hate George W. Bush?"

"At the end of the day, it's pure and simple a rogue domestic surveillance operation," said Christopher Dunn, a New York Civil Liberties Union lawyer involved in the convention lawsuit.

___

Undercover agents like the rakers were valuable, but what Cohen and Sanchez wanted most were informants.

The NYPD dedicated an entire squad, the Terrorist Interdiction Unit, to developing and handling informants. Current and former officials said Sanchez was instrumental in teaching them how to develop sources.

For years, detectives used informants known as mosque crawlers to monitor weekly sermons and report what was said, several current and former officials directly involved in the informant program said. If FBI agents were to do that, they would be in violation of the Privacy Act, which prohibits the federal government from collecting intelligence on purely First Amendment activities.

The FBI has generated its own share of controversy for putting informants inside mosques, but unlike the program described to the AP, the FBI requires evidence of a crime before an informant can be used inside a mosque.

Valerie Caproni, the FBI's general counsel, would not discuss the NYPD's programs but said FBI informants can't xxxxx mosques looking for leads. Such operations are reviewed for civil liberties concerns, she said.

"If you're sending an informant into a mosque when there is no evidence of wrongdoing, that's a very high-risk thing to do," Caproni said. "You're running right up against core constitutional rights. You're talking about freedom of religion."

That's why senior FBI officials in New York ordered their own agents not to accept any reports from the NYPD's mosque crawlers, two retired agents said.

It's unclear whether the police department still uses mosque crawlers. Officials said that, as Muslims figured out what was going on, the mosque crawlers became cafe crawlers, fanning out into the city's ethnic hangouts.

"Someone has a great imagination," Browne, the NYPD spokesman, said. "There is no such thing as mosque crawlers."

Following the foiled subway plot, however, the key informant in the case, Osama Eldawoody, said he attended hundreds of prayer services and collected information even on people who showed no signs of radicalization.

NYPD detectives have recruited shopkeepers and nosy neighbors to become "seeded" informants who keep police up to date on the latest happenings in ethnic neighborhoods, one official directly involved in the informant program said.

The department also has a roster of "directed" informants it can tap for assignments. For instance, if a raker identifies a bookstore as a hot spot, police might assign an informant to gather information, long before there's concrete evidence of anything criminal.

To identify possible informants, the department created what became known as the "debriefing program." When someone is arrested who might be useful to the intelligence unit – whether because he said something suspicious or because he is simply a young Middle Eastern man – he is singled out for extra questioning. Intelligence officials don't care about the underlying charges; they want to know more about his community and, ideally, they want to put him to work.

Police are in prisons, too, promising better living conditions and help or money on the outside for Muslim prisoners who will work with them.

Early in the intelligence division's transformation, police asked the taxi commission to run a report on all the city's Pakistani cab drivers, looking for those who got licenses fraudulently and might be susceptible to pressure to cooperate, according to former officials who were involved in or briefed on the effort.

That strategy has been rejected in other cities.

Boston police once asked neighboring Cambridge for a list of Somali cab drivers, Cambridge Police Chief Robert Haas said. Haas refused, saying that without a specific reason, the search was inappropriate.

"It really has a chilling effect in terms of the relationship between the local police department and those cultural groups, if they think that's going to take place," Haas said.

The informant division was so important to the NYPD that Cohen persuaded his former colleagues to train a detective, Steve Pinkall, at the CIA's training center at the Farm. Pinkall, who had an intelligence background as a Marine, was given an unusual temporary assignment at CIA headquarters, officials said. He took the field tradecraft course alongside future CIA spies then returned to New York to run investigations.

"We found that helpful, for NYPD personnel to be exposed to the tradecraft," Browne said.

The idea troubled senior FBI officials, who saw it as the NYPD and CIA blurring the lines between police work and spying, in which undercover officers regularly break the laws of foreign governments. The arrangement even made its way to FBI Director Robert Mueller, two former senior FBI officials said, but the training was already under way and Mueller did not press the issue.

___

NYPD's intelligence operations do not stop at the city line, as the undercover operation in New Jersey made clear.

The department has gotten some of its officers deputized as federal marshals, allowing them to work out of state. But often, there's no specific jurisdiction at all. Cohen's undercover squad, the Special Services Unit, operates in places such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, officials said. They can't make arrests and, if something goes wrong – a shooting or a car accident, for instance – the officers could be personally liable. But the NYPD has decided it's worth the risk, a former police official said.

With Police Commissioner Kelly's backing, Cohen's policy is that any potential threat to New York City is the NYPD's business, regardless of where it occurs, officials said.

That aggressiveness has sometimes put the NYPD at odds with local police departments and, more frequently, with the FBI. The FBI didn't like the rules Cohen played by and said his operations encroached on their responsibilities.

Once, undercover officers were stopped by police in Massachusetts while conducting surveillance on a house, one former New York official recalled. In another instance, the NYPD sparked concern among federal officials by expanding its intelligence-gathering efforts related to the United Nations, where the FBI is in charge, current and former federal officials said.

The AP has agreed not to disclose details of either the FBI or NYPD operations because they involve foreign counterintelligence.

Both Mueller and Kelly have said their agencies have strong working relationships and said reports of rivalry and disagreements are overblown. And the NYPD's out-of-state operations have had success.

A young Egyptian NYPD officer living undercover in New Jersey, for example, was key to building a case against Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte. The pair was arrested last year at John F. Kennedy Airport en route to Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabab. Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Cohen has also sent officers abroad, stationing them in 11 foreign cities. If a bomber blows himself up in Jerusalem, the NYPD rushes to the scene, said Dzikansky, who served in Israel and is the co-author of the forthcoming book "Terrorist Suicide Bombings: Attack Interdiction, Mitigation, and Response."

"I was there to ask the New York question," Dzikansky said. "Why this location? Was there something unique that the bomber had done? Was there any pre-notification. Was there a security lapse?"

All of this intelligence – from the rakers, the undercovers, the overseas liaisons and the informants – is passed to a team of analysts hired from some of the nation's most prestigious universities. Analysts have spotted emerging trends and summarized topics such as Hezbollah's activities in New York and the threat of South Asian terrorist groups.

They also have tackled more contentious topics, including drafting an analytical report on every mosque within 100 miles of New York, one former police official said. The report drew on information from mosque crawlers, undercover officers and public information. It mapped hundreds of mosques and discussed the likelihood of them being infiltrated by al-Qaida, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.

For Cohen, there was only one way to measure success: "They haven't attacked us," he said in a 2005 deposition. He said anything that was bad for terrorists was good for NYPD.

___

Though the CIA is prohibited from collecting intelligence domestically, the wall between domestic and foreign operations became more porous. Intelligence gathered by the NYPD, with CIA officer Sanchez overseeing collection, was often passed to the CIA in informal conversations and through unofficial channels, a former official involved in that process said.

By design, the NYPD was looking more and more like a domestic CIA.

"It's like starting the CIA over in the post-9/11 world," Cohen said in "Protecting the City," a laudatory 2009 book about the NYPD. "What would you do if you could begin it all over again? Hah. This is what you would do."

Sanchez's assignment in New York ended in 2004, but he received permission to take a leave of absence from the agency and become Cohen's deputy, former officials said.

Though Sanchez's assignments were blessed by CIA management, some in the agency's New York station saw the presence of such a senior officer in the city as a turf encroachment. Finally, the New York station chief, Tom Higgins, called headquarters, one former senior intelligence official said. Higgins complained, the official said, that Sanchez was wearing both hats, sometimes acting as a CIA officer, sometimes as an NYPD official.

The CIA finally forced him to choose: Stay with the agency or stay with the NYPD.

Sanchez declined to comment to the AP about the arrangement, but he picked the NYPD. He retired last year and is now a consultant in the Middle East.

Last month, the CIA deepened its NYPD ties even further. It sent one of its most experienced operatives, a former station chief in two Middle Eastern countries, to work out of police headquarters as Cohen's special assistant while on the CIA payroll. Current and former U.S. officials acknowledge it's unusual but said it's the kind of collaboration Americans expect after 9/11.

Officials said revealing the CIA officer's name would jeopardize national security. The arrangement was described as a sabbatical. He is a member of the agency's senior management, but officials said he was sent to the municipal police department to get management experience.

At the NYPD, he works undercover in the senior ranks of the intelligence division. Officials are adamant that he is not involved in actual intelligence-gathering.

___

The NYPD has faced little scrutiny over the past decade as it has taken on broad new intelligence missions, targeted ethnic neighborhoods and partnered with the CIA in extraordinary ways.

The department's primary watchdog, the New York City Council, has not held hearings on the intelligence division's operations and former NYPD officials said council members typically do not ask for details.

"Ray Kelly briefs me privately on certain subjects that should not be discussed in public," said City Councilman Peter Vallone. "We've discussed in person how they investigate certain groups they suspect have terrorist sympathizers or have terrorist suspects."

The city comptroller's office has audited several NYPD components since 9/11 but not the intelligence unit, which had a $62 million budget last year.

The federal government, too, has done little to scrutinize the nation's largest police force, despite the massive federal aid. Homeland Security officials review NYPD grants but not its underlying programs.

A report in January by the Homeland Security inspector general, for instance, found that the NYPD violated state and federal contracting rules between 2006 and 2008 by buying more than $4 million in equipment through a no-bid process. NYPD said public bidding would have revealed sensitive information to terrorists, but police never got approval from state or federal officials to adopt their own rules, the inspector general said.

On Capitol Hill, where FBI tactics have frequently been criticized for their effect on civil liberties, the NYPD faces no such opposition.

In 2007, Sanchez testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee and was asked how the NYPD spots signs of radicalization. He said the key was viewing innocuous activity, including behavior that might be protected by the First Amendment, as a potential precursor to terrorism.

That triggered no questions from the committee, which Sanchez said had been "briefed in the past on how we do business."

The Justice Department has the authority to investigate civil rights violations. It issued detailed rules in 2003 against racial profiling, including prohibiting agencies from considering race when making traffic stops or assigning patrols.

But those rules apply only to the federal government and contain a murky exemption for terrorism investigations. The Justice Department has not investigated a police department for civil rights violations during a national security investigation.

"One of the hallmarks of the intelligence division over the last 10 years is that, not only has it gotten extremely aggressive and sophisticated, but it's operating completely on its own," said Dunn, the civil liberties lawyer. "There are no checks. There is no oversight."

The NYPD has been mentioned as a model for policing in the post-9/11 era. But it's a model that seems custom-made for New York. No other city has the Big Apple's combination of a low crime rate, a $4.5 billion police budget and a diverse 34,000-person police force. Certainly no other police department has such deep CIA ties.

Perhaps most important, nobody else had 9/11 the way New York did. No other city lost nearly 3,000 people in a single morning. A decade later, police say New Yorkers still expect the department to do whatever it can to prevent another attack. The NYPD has embraced that expectation.

As Sanchez testified on Capitol Hill: "We've been given the public tolerance and the luxury to be very aggressive on this topic."

____

Associated Press writers Tom Hays and Eileen Sullivan in Washington contributed to this report.

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Yea, thanks for posting that Doug. It says a lot..

If you read The Kennedy Detail Secret Service book, it details how the Secret Service

had a running feud with the local NYPD, especially in regards to the protection of the president a the Carlisle hotel.

BK

http://www.huffingto...m_n_934923.html

NYPD CIA Anti-Terror Operations Conducted In Secret For Years

By MATT APUZZO and ADAM GOLDMAN

08/24/11 06:10 AM ET

AP

NEW YORK -- In New Brunswick, N.J., a building superintendent opened the door to apartment No. 1076 one balmy Tuesday and discovered an alarming scene: terrorist literature strewn about the table and computer and surveillance equipment set up in the next room.

The panicked superintendent dialed 911, sending police and the FBI rushing to the building near Rutgers University on the afternoon of June 2, 2009. What they found in that first-floor apartment, however, was not a terrorist hideout but a command center set up by a secret team of New York Police Department intelligence officers.

From that apartment, about an hour outside the department's jurisdiction, the NYPD had been staging undercover operations and conducting surveillance throughout New Jersey. Neither the FBI nor the local police had any idea.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the NYPD has become one of the country's most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies. A months-long investigation by The Associated Press has revealed that the NYPD operates far outside its borders and targets ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. And it does so with unprecedented help from the CIA in a partnership that has blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying.

Neither the city council, which finances the department, nor the federal government, which contributes hundreds of millions of dollars each year, is told exactly what's going on.

The department has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as "rakers," into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They've monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even when there's no evidence of wrongdoing. NYPD officials have scrutinized imams and gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims.

Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD's intelligence unit.

A veteran CIA officer, while still on the agency's payroll, was the architect of the NYPD's intelligence programs. The CIA trained a police detective at the Farm, the agency's spy school in Virginia, then returned him to New York, where he put his new espionage skills to work inside the United States.

And just last month, the CIA sent a senior officer to work as a clandestine operative inside police headquarters.

While the expansion of the NYPD's intelligence unit has been well known, many details about its clandestine operations, including the depth of its CIA ties, have not previously been reported.

The NYPD denied that it trolls ethnic neighborhoods and said it only follows leads. In a city that has repeatedly been targeted by terrorists, police make no apologies for pushing the envelope. NYPD intelligence operations have disrupted terrorist plots and put several would-be killers in prison.

"The New York Police Department is doing everything it can to make sure there's not another 9/11 here and that more innocent New Yorkers are not killed by terrorists," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. "And we have nothing to apologize for in that regard."

But officials said they've also been careful to keep information about some programs out of court, where a judge might take a different view. The NYPD considers even basic details, such as the intelligence division's organization chart, to be too sensitive to reveal in court.

One of the enduring questions of the past decade is whether being safe requires giving up some liberty and privacy. The focus of that debate has primarily been federal programs like wiretapping and indefinite detention. The question has received less attention in New York, where residents do not know for sure what, if anything, they have given up.

The story of how the NYPD Intelligence Division developed such aggressive programs was pieced together by the AP in interviews with more than 40 current and former New York Police Department and federal officials. Many were directly involved in planning and carrying out these secret operations for the department. Though most said the tactics were appropriate and made the city safer, many insisted on anonymity, because they were not authorized to speak with reporters about security matters.

The story begins with one man.

___

David Cohen arrived at the New York Police Department in January 2002, just weeks after the last fires had been extinguished at the debris field that had been the twin towers. A retired 35-year veteran of the CIA, Cohen became the police department's first civilian intelligence chief.

Cohen had an exceptional career at the CIA, rising to lead both the agency's analytical and operational divisions. He also was an extraordinarily divisive figure, a man whose sharp tongue and supreme confidence in his own abilities gave him a reputation as arrogant. Cohen's tenure as head of CIA operations, the nation's top spy, was so contentious that in 1997, The New York Times editorial page took the unusual step of calling for his ouster.

He had no police experience. He had never defended a city from an attack. But New York wasn't looking for a cop.

"Post-9/11, we needed someone in there who knew how to really gather intelligence," said John Cutter, a retired NYPD official who served as one of Cohen's top uniformed officers.

At the time, the intelligence division was best known for driving dignitaries around the city. Cohen envisioned a unit that would analyze intelligence, run undercover operations and cultivate a network of informants. In short, he wanted New York to have its own version of the CIA.

Cohen shared Commissioner Ray Kelly's belief that 9/11 had proved that the police department could not simply rely on the federal government to prevent terrorism in New York.

"If anything goes on in New York," one former officer recalls Cohen telling his staff in the early days, "it's your fault."

Among Cohen's earliest moves at the NYPD was making a request of his old colleagues at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. He needed someone to help build this new operation, someone with experience and clout and, most important, someone who had access to the latest intelligence so the NYPD wouldn't have to rely on the FBI to dole out information.

CIA Director George Tenet responded by tapping Larry Sanchez, a respected veteran who had served as a CIA official inside the United Nations. Often, when the CIA places someone on temporary assignment, the other agency picks up the tab. In this case, three former intelligence officials said, Tenet kept Sanchez on the CIA payroll.

When he arrived in New York in March 2002, Sanchez had offices at both the NYPD and the CIA's station in New York, one former official said. Sanchez interviewed police officers for newly defined intelligence jobs. He guided and mentored officers, schooling them in the art of gathering information. He also directed their efforts, another said.

There had never been an arrangement like it, and some senior CIA officials soon began questioning whether Tenet was allowing Sanchez to operate on both sides of the wall that's supposed to keep the CIA out of the domestic intelligence business.

"It should not be a surprise to anyone that, after 9/11, the Central Intelligence Agency stepped up its cooperation with law enforcement on counterterrorism issues or that some of that increased cooperation was in New York, the site of ground zero," CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said.

Just as at the CIA, Cohen and Sanchez knew that informants would have to become the backbone of their operation. But with threats coming in from around the globe, they couldn't wait months for the perfect plan.

They came up with a makeshift solution. They dispatched more officers to Pakistani neighborhoods and, according to one former police official directly involved in the effort, instructed them to look for reasons to stop cars: speeding, broken tail lights, running stop signs, whatever. The traffic stop gave police an opportunity to search for outstanding warrants or look for suspicious behavior. An arrest could be the leverage the police needed to persuade someone to become an informant.

For Cohen, the transition from spying to policing didn't come naturally, former colleagues said. When faced with a decision, especially early in his tenure, he'd fall back on his CIA background. Cutter said he and other uniformed officers had to tell Cohen, no, we can't just slip into someone's apartment without a warrant. No, we can't just conduct a search. The rules for policing are different.

While Cohen was being shaped by the police department, his CIA background was remaking the department. But one significant barrier stood in the way of Cohen's vision.

Since 1985, the NYPD had operated under a federal court order limiting the tactics it could use to gather intelligence. During the 1960s and 1970s, the department had used informants and undercover officers to infiltrate anti-war protest groups and other activists without any reason to suspect criminal behavior.

To settle a lawsuit, the department agreed to follow guidelines that required "specific information" of criminal activity before police could monitor political activity.

In September 2002, Cohen told a federal judge that those guidelines made it "virtually impossible" to detect terrorist plots. The FBI was changing its rules to respond to 9/11, and Cohen argued that the NYPD must do so, too.

"In the case of terrorism, to wait for an indication of crime before investigating is to wait far too long," Cohen wrote.

U.S. District Judge Charles S. Haight Jr. agreed, saying the old guidelines "addressed different perils in a different time." He scrapped the old rules and replaced them with more lenient ones.

It was a turning point for the NYPD.

___

With his newfound authority, Cohen created a secret squad that would soon infiltrate Muslim neighborhoods, according to several current and former officials directly involved in the program.

The NYPD carved up the city into more than a dozen zones and assigned undercover officers to monitor them, looking for potential trouble.

At the CIA, one of the biggest obstacles has always been that U.S. intelligence officials are overwhelmingly white, their mannerisms clearly American. The NYPD didn't have that problem, thanks to its diverse pool of officers.

Using census data, the department matched undercover officers to ethnic communities and instructed them to blend in, the officials said. Pakistani-American officers infiltrated Pakistani neighborhoods, Palestinians focused on Palestinian neighborhoods. They hung out in hookah bars and cafes, quietly observing the community around them.

The unit, which has been undisclosed now, became known inside the department as the Demographic Unit, former police officials said.

"It's not a question of profiling. It's a question of going where the problem could arise," said Mordecai Dzikansky, a retired NYPD intelligence officer who said he was aware of the Demographic Unit. "And thank God we have the capability. We have the language capability and the ethnic officers. That's our hidden weapon."

The officers did not work out of headquarters, officials said. Instead, they passed their intelligence to police handlers who knew their identities.

Cohen said he wanted the squad to "rake the coals, looking for hot spots," former officials recalled. The undercover officers soon became known inside the department as rakers.

A hot spot might be a beauty supply store selling chemicals used for making bombs. Or it might be a hawala, a broker that transfers money around the world with little documentation. Undercover officers might visit an Internet cafe and look at the browsing history on a computer, a former police official involved in the program said. If it revealed visits to radical websites, the cafe might be deemed a hot spot.

Ethnic bookstores, too, were on the list. If a raker noticed a customer looking at radical literature, he might chat up the store owner and see what he could learn. The bookstore, or even the customer, might get further scrutiny. If a restaurant patron applauds a news report about the death of U.S. troops, the patron or the restaurant could be labeled a hot spot.

The goal was to "map the city's human terrain," one law enforcement official said. The program was modeled in part on how Israeli authorities operate in the West Bank, a former police official said.

Mapping crimes has been a successful police strategy nationwide. But mapping robberies and shootings is one thing. Mapping ethnic neighborhoods is different, something that at least brushes against what the federal government considers racial profiling.

Browne, the NYPD spokesman, said the Demographic Unit does not exist. He said the department has a Zone Assessment Unit that looks for locations that could attract terrorists. But he said undercover officers only followed leads, disputing the account of several current and former police and federal officials. They do not just hang out in neighborhoods, he said.

"We will go into a location, whether it's a mosque or a bookstore, if the lead warrants it, and at least establish whether there's something that requires more attention," Browne said.

That conflicts with testimony from an undercover officer in the 2006 trial of Shahawar Matin Siraj, who was convicted of planning an attack on New York's subway system. The officer said he was instructed to live in Brooklyn and act as a "walking camera" for police.

"I was told to act like a civilian – hang out in the neighborhood, gather information," the Bangladeshi officer testified, under a false name, in what offered the first narrow glimpse at the NYPD's infiltration of ethnic neighborhoods.

Officials said such operations just made sense. Islamic terrorists had attacked the city on 9/11, so police needed people inside the city's Muslim neighborhoods. Officials say it does not conflict with a 2004 city law prohibiting the NYPD from using religion or ethnicity "as the determinative factor for initiating law enforcement action."

"It's not profiling," Cutter said. "It's like, after a shooting, do you go 20 blocks away and interview guys or do you go to the neighborhood where it happened?"

In 2007, the Los Angeles Police Department was criticized for even considering a similar program. The police announced plans to map Islamic neighborhoods to look for pockets of radicalization among the region's roughly 500,000 Muslims. Criticism was swift, and chief William Bratton scrapped the plan.

"A lot of these people came from countries where the police were the terrorists," Bratton said at a news conference, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. "We don't do that here. We do not want to spread fear."

In New York, current and former officials said, the lesson of that controversy was that such programs should be kept secret.

Some in the department, including lawyers, have privately expressed concerns about the raking program and how police use the information, current and former officials said. Part of the concern was that it might appear that police were building dossiers on innocent people, officials said. Another concern was that, if a case went to court, the department could be forced to reveal details about the program, putting the entire operation in jeopardy.

That's why, former officials said, police regularly shredded documents discussing rakers.

When Cohen made his case in court that he needed broader authority to investigate terrorism, he had promised to abide by the FBI's investigative guidelines. But the FBI is prohibited from using undercover agents unless there's specific evidence of criminal activity, meaning a federal raking program like the one officials described to the AP would violate FBI guidelines.

The NYPD declined to make Cohen available for comment. In an earlier interview with the AP on a variety of topics, Police Commissioner Kelly said the intelligence unit does not infringe on civil rights.

"We're doing what we believe we have to do to protect the city," he said. "We have many, many lawyers in our employ. We see ourselves as very conscious and aware of civil liberties. And we know there's always going to be some tension between the police department and so-called civil liberties groups because of the nature of what we do."

The department clashed with civil rights groups most publicly after Cohen's undercover officers infiltrated anti-war groups before the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. A lawsuit over that program continues today.

During the convention, when protesters were arrested, police asked a list of questions which, according to court documents, included: "What are your political affiliations?" "Do you do any kind of political work?" and "Do you hate George W. Bush?"

"At the end of the day, it's pure and simple a rogue domestic surveillance operation," said Christopher Dunn, a New York Civil Liberties Union lawyer involved in the convention lawsuit.

___

Undercover agents like the rakers were valuable, but what Cohen and Sanchez wanted most were informants.

The NYPD dedicated an entire squad, the Terrorist Interdiction Unit, to developing and handling informants. Current and former officials said Sanchez was instrumental in teaching them how to develop sources.

For years, detectives used informants known as mosque crawlers to monitor weekly sermons and report what was said, several current and former officials directly involved in the informant program said. If FBI agents were to do that, they would be in violation of the Privacy Act, which prohibits the federal government from collecting intelligence on purely First Amendment activities.

The FBI has generated its own share of controversy for putting informants inside mosques, but unlike the program described to the AP, the FBI requires evidence of a crime before an informant can be used inside a mosque.

Valerie Caproni, the FBI's general counsel, would not discuss the NYPD's programs but said FBI informants can't xxxxx mosques looking for leads. Such operations are reviewed for civil liberties concerns, she said.

"If you're sending an informant into a mosque when there is no evidence of wrongdoing, that's a very high-risk thing to do," Caproni said. "You're running right up against core constitutional rights. You're talking about freedom of religion."

That's why senior FBI officials in New York ordered their own agents not to accept any reports from the NYPD's mosque crawlers, two retired agents said.

It's unclear whether the police department still uses mosque crawlers. Officials said that, as Muslims figured out what was going on, the mosque crawlers became cafe crawlers, fanning out into the city's ethnic hangouts.

"Someone has a great imagination," Browne, the NYPD spokesman, said. "There is no such thing as mosque crawlers."

Following the foiled subway plot, however, the key informant in the case, Osama Eldawoody, said he attended hundreds of prayer services and collected information even on people who showed no signs of radicalization.

NYPD detectives have recruited shopkeepers and nosy neighbors to become "seeded" informants who keep police up to date on the latest happenings in ethnic neighborhoods, one official directly involved in the informant program said.

The department also has a roster of "directed" informants it can tap for assignments. For instance, if a raker identifies a bookstore as a hot spot, police might assign an informant to gather information, long before there's concrete evidence of anything criminal.

To identify possible informants, the department created what became known as the "debriefing program." When someone is arrested who might be useful to the intelligence unit – whether because he said something suspicious or because he is simply a young Middle Eastern man – he is singled out for extra questioning. Intelligence officials don't care about the underlying charges; they want to know more about his community and, ideally, they want to put him to work.

Police are in prisons, too, promising better living conditions and help or money on the outside for Muslim prisoners who will work with them.

Early in the intelligence division's transformation, police asked the taxi commission to run a report on all the city's Pakistani cab drivers, looking for those who got licenses fraudulently and might be susceptible to pressure to cooperate, according to former officials who were involved in or briefed on the effort.

That strategy has been rejected in other cities.

Boston police once asked neighboring Cambridge for a list of Somali cab drivers, Cambridge Police Chief Robert Haas said. Haas refused, saying that without a specific reason, the search was inappropriate.

"It really has a chilling effect in terms of the relationship between the local police department and those cultural groups, if they think that's going to take place," Haas said.

The informant division was so important to the NYPD that Cohen persuaded his former colleagues to train a detective, Steve Pinkall, at the CIA's training center at the Farm. Pinkall, who had an intelligence background as a Marine, was given an unusual temporary assignment at CIA headquarters, officials said. He took the field tradecraft course alongside future CIA spies then returned to New York to run investigations.

"We found that helpful, for NYPD personnel to be exposed to the tradecraft," Browne said.

The idea troubled senior FBI officials, who saw it as the NYPD and CIA blurring the lines between police work and spying, in which undercover officers regularly break the laws of foreign governments. The arrangement even made its way to FBI Director Robert Mueller, two former senior FBI officials said, but the training was already under way and Mueller did not press the issue.

___

NYPD's intelligence operations do not stop at the city line, as the undercover operation in New Jersey made clear.

The department has gotten some of its officers deputized as federal marshals, allowing them to work out of state. But often, there's no specific jurisdiction at all. Cohen's undercover squad, the Special Services Unit, operates in places such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, officials said. They can't make arrests and, if something goes wrong – a shooting or a car accident, for instance – the officers could be personally liable. But the NYPD has decided it's worth the risk, a former police official said.

With Police Commissioner Kelly's backing, Cohen's policy is that any potential threat to New York City is the NYPD's business, regardless of where it occurs, officials said.

That aggressiveness has sometimes put the NYPD at odds with local police departments and, more frequently, with the FBI. The FBI didn't like the rules Cohen played by and said his operations encroached on their responsibilities.

Once, undercover officers were stopped by police in Massachusetts while conducting surveillance on a house, one former New York official recalled. In another instance, the NYPD sparked concern among federal officials by expanding its intelligence-gathering efforts related to the United Nations, where the FBI is in charge, current and former federal officials said.

The AP has agreed not to disclose details of either the FBI or NYPD operations because they involve foreign counterintelligence.

Both Mueller and Kelly have said their agencies have strong working relationships and said reports of rivalry and disagreements are overblown. And the NYPD's out-of-state operations have had success.

A young Egyptian NYPD officer living undercover in New Jersey, for example, was key to building a case against Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte. The pair was arrested last year at John F. Kennedy Airport en route to Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabab. Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Cohen has also sent officers abroad, stationing them in 11 foreign cities. If a bomber blows himself up in Jerusalem, the NYPD rushes to the scene, said Dzikansky, who served in Israel and is the co-author of the forthcoming book "Terrorist Suicide Bombings: Attack Interdiction, Mitigation, and Response."

"I was there to ask the New York question," Dzikansky said. "Why this location? Was there something unique that the bomber had done? Was there any pre-notification. Was there a security lapse?"

All of this intelligence – from the rakers, the undercovers, the overseas liaisons and the informants – is passed to a team of analysts hired from some of the nation's most prestigious universities. Analysts have spotted emerging trends and summarized topics such as Hezbollah's activities in New York and the threat of South Asian terrorist groups.

They also have tackled more contentious topics, including drafting an analytical report on every mosque within 100 miles of New York, one former police official said. The report drew on information from mosque crawlers, undercover officers and public information. It mapped hundreds of mosques and discussed the likelihood of them being infiltrated by al-Qaida, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups.

For Cohen, there was only one way to measure success: "They haven't attacked us," he said in a 2005 deposition. He said anything that was bad for terrorists was good for NYPD.

___

Though the CIA is prohibited from collecting intelligence domestically, the wall between domestic and foreign operations became more porous. Intelligence gathered by the NYPD, with CIA officer Sanchez overseeing collection, was often passed to the CIA in informal conversations and through unofficial channels, a former official involved in that process said.

By design, the NYPD was looking more and more like a domestic CIA.

"It's like starting the CIA over in the post-9/11 world," Cohen said in "Protecting the City," a laudatory 2009 book about the NYPD. "What would you do if you could begin it all over again? Hah. This is what you would do."

Sanchez's assignment in New York ended in 2004, but he received permission to take a leave of absence from the agency and become Cohen's deputy, former officials said.

Though Sanchez's assignments were blessed by CIA management, some in the agency's New York station saw the presence of such a senior officer in the city as a turf encroachment. Finally, the New York station chief, Tom Higgins, called headquarters, one former senior intelligence official said. Higgins complained, the official said, that Sanchez was wearing both hats, sometimes acting as a CIA officer, sometimes as an NYPD official.

The CIA finally forced him to choose: Stay with the agency or stay with the NYPD.

Sanchez declined to comment to the AP about the arrangement, but he picked the NYPD. He retired last year and is now a consultant in the Middle East.

Last month, the CIA deepened its NYPD ties even further. It sent one of its most experienced operatives, a former station chief in two Middle Eastern countries, to work out of police headquarters as Cohen's special assistant while on the CIA payroll. Current and former U.S. officials acknowledge it's unusual but said it's the kind of collaboration Americans expect after 9/11.

Officials said revealing the CIA officer's name would jeopardize national security. The arrangement was described as a sabbatical. He is a member of the agency's senior management, but officials said he was sent to the municipal police department to get management experience.

At the NYPD, he works undercover in the senior ranks of the intelligence division. Officials are adamant that he is not involved in actual intelligence-gathering.

___

The NYPD has faced little scrutiny over the past decade as it has taken on broad new intelligence missions, targeted ethnic neighborhoods and partnered with the CIA in extraordinary ways.

The department's primary watchdog, the New York City Council, has not held hearings on the intelligence division's operations and former NYPD officials said council members typically do not ask for details.

"Ray Kelly briefs me privately on certain subjects that should not be discussed in public," said City Councilman Peter Vallone. "We've discussed in person how they investigate certain groups they suspect have terrorist sympathizers or have terrorist suspects."

The city comptroller's office has audited several NYPD components since 9/11 but not the intelligence unit, which had a $62 million budget last year.

The federal government, too, has done little to scrutinize the nation's largest police force, despite the massive federal aid. Homeland Security officials review NYPD grants but not its underlying programs.

A report in January by the Homeland Security inspector general, for instance, found that the NYPD violated state and federal contracting rules between 2006 and 2008 by buying more than $4 million in equipment through a no-bid process. NYPD said public bidding would have revealed sensitive information to terrorists, but police never got approval from state or federal officials to adopt their own rules, the inspector general said.

On Capitol Hill, where FBI tactics have frequently been criticized for their effect on civil liberties, the NYPD faces no such opposition.

In 2007, Sanchez testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee and was asked how the NYPD spots signs of radicalization. He said the key was viewing innocuous activity, including behavior that might be protected by the First Amendment, as a potential precursor to terrorism.

That triggered no questions from the committee, which Sanchez said had been "briefed in the past on how we do business."

The Justice Department has the authority to investigate civil rights violations. It issued detailed rules in 2003 against racial profiling, including prohibiting agencies from considering race when making traffic stops or assigning patrols.

But those rules apply only to the federal government and contain a murky exemption for terrorism investigations. The Justice Department has not investigated a police department for civil rights violations during a national security investigation.

"One of the hallmarks of the intelligence division over the last 10 years is that, not only has it gotten extremely aggressive and sophisticated, but it's operating completely on its own," said Dunn, the civil liberties lawyer. "There are no checks. There is no oversight."

The NYPD has been mentioned as a model for policing in the post-9/11 era. But it's a model that seems custom-made for New York. No other city has the Big Apple's combination of a low crime rate, a $4.5 billion police budget and a diverse 34,000-person police force. Certainly no other police department has such deep CIA ties.

Perhaps most important, nobody else had 9/11 the way New York did. No other city lost nearly 3,000 people in a single morning. A decade later, police say New Yorkers still expect the department to do whatever it can to prevent another attack. The NYPD has embraced that expectation.

As Sanchez testified on Capitol Hill: "We've been given the public tolerance and the luxury to be very aggressive on this topic."

____

Associated Press writers Tom Hays and Eileen Sullivan in Washington contributed to this report.

Edited by William Kelly
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Without detracting from the particular matter, the following link and a study of the evolution of ASIO and the AFP may be of interest if only to highlight a possibly global series of events. http://www.greenleft.org.au/search/apachesolr_search/ASIO

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NYPD confirms CIA officer works at department

Aug 25 07:08 PM US/Eastern

By EILEEN SULLIVAN

Associated Press

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9PBDBJO0&show_article=1

WASHINGTON (AP) - New York's police commissioner confirmed Thursday that a CIA officer is working out of police headquarters there, after an Associated Press investigation revealed an unusual partnership with the CIA that has blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying. But he and the CIA said the spy agency's role at the department is an advisory one.

Speaking to reporters in New York, commissioner Raymond Kelly acknowledged that the CIA trains NYPD officers on "trade craft issues," meaning espionage techniques, and advises police about events happening overseas. Kelly also said he was unaware of any other U.S. police department with a similar relationship with the CIA.

"They are involved in providing us with information, usually coming from perhaps overseas and providing it to us for, you know, just for our purposes," Kelly said.

CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood said the agency does not spy inside the United States and also described the relationship with the NYPD as collaborative.

"Our cooperation, in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is exactly what the American people deserve and have come to expect following 9/11," she said.

A months-long investigation by the AP, published Wednesday, revealed that the NYPD has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as "rakers," into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program, according to officials directly involved in the program. They've monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even when there's no evidence of wrongdoing. NYPD officials have scrutinized imams and gathered intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims.

Many of the operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD's intelligence unit after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The NYPD denied that it trolls ethnic neighborhoods and said it only follows leads. The mayor on Thursday defended the police department's efforts.

"In the end the NYPD's first job is prevention, and I think they've done a very good job of that," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said when asked about the police practices. "The law is pretty clear about what's the requirement, and I think they've followed the law."

Also Thursday, New York City Councilman Brad Lander said the city council should conduct an oversight hearing on the NYPD's programs, but Lander is not in a leadership position to enforce that such hearings take place.

"We must be sure that the NYPD's intelligence gathering does not violate civil liberties, target and profile our city's diverse ethnic and religious communities," Lander said.

City Councilman Peter Vallone, chairman of the panel that oversees the police department, said the council already had scheduled two NYPD oversight hearings during which these issues could be raised.

The disclosures about the NYPD's activities provoked exasperation in the city's Muslim neighborhoods, where government officials have sought to build relationships in Muslim communities and pledged to ensure that Muslims aren't targeted for discrimination.

"The NYPD's credibility is bankrupt in our communities," Fahd Ahmed, legal and policy director of the Desis Rising Up & Moving group, said in a statement Thursday. "We need accountability, transparency and an overhaul of tactics and policies."

Government outreach programs have operated in Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, Portland, Ore., and Washington—all cities with large Muslim communities—even as law enforcement around the country has stepped up investigative efforts to stave off attacks.

But the inherent tensions caused by this duality of missions is perhaps most visible in New York. It is the only U.S. city that al-Qaida has successfully attacked twice and continues to be the target of terror plots. New York also is home to the country's most aggressive local police department investigating counterterrorism.

"It seems to many of the leadership here, there are two kinds of authorities they are playing—one is in the forefront which is very cooperative," said Zaheer Uddin of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York. "And there is another authority, which is playing against Islam and Muslims, going against the First Amendment and the security of this country."

Uddin asked, "Are we partners, or are we a suspicious community?"

On Wednesday, the Justice Department said it will review a request by a Muslim advocacy group to investigate.

"These revelations send the message to American Muslims that they are being viewed as a suspect community and that their constitutional rights may be violated with impunity," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which asked for the investigation. "The Justice Department must initiate an immediate investigation of the civil rights implications of this spy program and the legality of its links to the CIA."

The Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition, an umbrella organization of New York Muslim groups, on Thursday also called for an investigation.

In the decade since the September 2001 attacks, government officials in New York also have met with Muslim leaders and exchanged cellphone numbers. They've attended religious services, dinners and teas, and spoken at community meetings. The FBI recently hosted an event for 500 young Muslims in Brooklyn to build trust and get to know federal law enforcement, with a bomb-sniffing dog, scuba boat and helicopter on display.

"I go and visit mosques on a regular basis," Kelly previously told the AP, adding that he also holds question-and-answer sessions and planned to attend several dinners with members of the Muslim community during the holy month of Ramadan this year.

The police department in 2006 hired Sidique Wai, an African immigrant and member of the New York Muslim community, to coordinate the NYPD's citywide community outreach program. He said the interaction and outreach between the community and police is unprecedented.

"The majority of the faith-based—particularly the Muslim leaders throughout the city—are absolutely appreciative of the unprecedented relationship with the police department," Wai said. "I'm not aware of a deliberate effort on the part of NYPD to profile people."

___

Associated Press writer Samantha Gross in New York City contributed to this report.

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C.I.A. Demands Cuts in Book About 9/11 and Terror Fight

The New York Times

By SCOTT SHANE

August 26, 2011

WASHINGTON — In what amounts to a fight over who gets to write the history of the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath, the Central Intelligence Agency is demanding extensive cuts from the memoir of a former F.B.I. agent who spent years near the center of the battle against Al Qaeda.

The agent, Ali H. Soufan, argues in the book that the C.I.A. missed a chance to derail the 2001 plot by withholding from the F.B.I. information about two future 9/11 hijackers living in San Diego, according to several people who have read the manuscript. And he gives a detailed, firsthand account of the C.I.A.’s move toward brutal treatment in its interrogations, saying the harsh methods used on the agency’s first important captive, Abu Zubaydah, were unnecessary and counterproductive.

Neither critique of the C.I.A. is new. In fact, some of the information that the agency argues is classified, according to two people who have seen the correspondence between the F.B.I. and C.I.A., has previously been disclosed in open Congressional hearings, the report of the national commission on 9/11 and even the 2007 memoir of George J. Tenet, the former C.I.A. director.

Mr. Soufan, an Arabic-speaking counterterrorism agent who played a central role in most major terrorism investigations between 1997 and 2005, has told colleagues he believes the cuts are intended not to protect national security but to prevent him from recounting episodes that in his view reflect badly on the C.I.A.

Some of the scores of cuts demanded by the C.I.A. from Mr. Soufan’s book, “The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al Qaeda,” seem hard to explain on security grounds.

Among them, according to the people who have seen the correspondence, is a phrase from Mr. Soufan’s 2009 testimony at a Senate hearing, freely available both as video and transcript on the Web. Also chopped are references to the word “station” to describe the C.I.A.’s overseas offices, common parlance for decades.

The agency removed the pronouns “I” and “me” from a chapter in which Mr. Soufan describes his widely reported role in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, an important terrorist facilitator and training camp boss. And agency officials took out references to the fact that a passport photo of one of the 9/11 hijackers who later lived in San Diego, Khalid al-Midhar, had been sent to the C.I.A. in January 2000 — an episode described both in the 9/11 commission report and Mr. Tenet’s book.

In a letter sent Aug. 19 to the F.B.I.’s general counsel, Valerie E. Caproni, a lawyer for Mr. Soufan, David N. Kelley, wrote that “credible sources have told Mr. Soufan that the agency has made a decision that this book should not be published because it will prove embarrassing to the agency.”

In a statement, Mr. Soufan called the C.I.A’s redactions to his book “ridiculous” but said he thought he would prevail in getting them restored for a later edition.

He said he believed that counterterrorism officers have an obligation to face squarely “where we made mistakes and let the American people down.” He added: “It saddens me that some are refusing to address past mistakes.”

A spokeswoman for the C.I.A., Jennifer Youngblood, said, “The suggestion that the Central Intelligence Agency has requested redactions on this publication because it doesn’t like the content is ridiculous. The C.I.A.’s pre-publication review process looks solely at the issue of whether information is classified.”

She noted that under the law, “Just because something is in the public domain doesn’t mean it’s been officially released or declassified by the U.S. government.”

A spokesman for the F.B.I., Michael P. Kortan, declined to comment.

The book, written with the assistance of Daniel Freedman, a colleague at Mr. Soufan’s New York security company, is scheduled to go on sale Sept. 12. Facing a deadline this week, the publisher, W. W. Norton and Company, decided to proceed with a first printing incorporating all the C.I.A.’s cuts.

If Mr. Soufan ultimately prevails in negotiations or a legal fight to get the excised material restored, Norton will print the unredacted version, said Drake McFeely, Norton’s president. “The C.I.A.’s redactions seem outrageous to me,” Mr. McFeely said. But he noted that they are concentrated in certain chapters and said “the book’s argument comes across clearly despite them.”

The regular appearance of memoirs by Bush administration officials has continued a debate over the facts surrounding the failure to prevent 9/11 and the tactics against terrorism that followed. In former Vice President Dick Cheney’s memoir, set for publication next week, he writes of the harsh interrogations that “the techniques worked.”

A book scheduled for publication next May by José A. Rodriguez Jr., a former senior C.I.A. official, is expected to give a far more laudatory account of the agency’s harsh interrogations than that of Mr. Soufan, as is evident from its tentative title: “Hard Measures: How Aggressive C.I.A. Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives.”

Government employees who hold security clearances are required to have their books vetted for classified information before publication. But because decisions on what should be classified can be highly subjective, the prepublication review process often becomes a battle. Several former spies have gone to court to fight redactions to their books, and the Defense Department spent nearly $50,000 last year to buy and destroy the entire first printing of an intelligence officer’s book, which it said contained secrets.

The C.I.A. interrogation program sharply divided the C.I.A. and the F.B.I., whose director, Robert S. Mueller III, ordered agents to stop participating in the program after Mr. Soufan and other agents objected to the use of physical coercion. But some C.I.A. officers, too, opposed the brutal methods, including waterboarding, and it was their complaint to the C.I.A.’s inspector general that eventually led to the suspension of the program.

“The Black Banners” traces the origins and growth of Al Qaeda and describes the role of Mr. Soufan, 40, a Lebanese-American, in the investigations of the East African embassy bombings of 1998, the attack on the American destroyer Cole in 2000, 9/11 and the continuing campaign against terrorism.

Starting in May, F.B.I. officials reviewed Mr. Soufan’s 600-page manuscript, asking the author for evidence that dozens of names and facts were not classified. Mr. Soufan and Mr. Freedman agreed to change wording or substitute aliases for some names, and on July 12 the bureau told Mr. Soufan its review was complete.

In the meantime, however, the bureau had given the book to the C.I.A. Its reviewers responded this month with 78-page and 103-page faxes listing their cuts.

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C.I.A. Examining Legality of Work With Police Dept.

The New York Times

By MARK MAZZETTI

September 13, 2011

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency has opened an internal inquiry into whether its close cooperation with the New York Police Department in the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks has broken any laws prohibiting the agency from collecting intelligence in the United States.

During his first Congressional testimony as the C.I.A. director, David H. Petraeus said Tuesday that the agency’s inspector general had begun to investigate its work with the Police Department “to make sure we are doing the right thing.” Mr. Petraeus said the inquiry began last month, but gave few details about its scope.

The C.I.A. is prohibited from gathering intelligence on American soil, but some have criticized its counterterrorism cooperation with law enforcement services as a de facto domestic spying campaign. The head of the Police Department’s intelligence unit, David Cohen, is a former C.I.A. official, and the agency has a senior clandestine officer embedded in the New York police force.

James R. Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said during the same Congressional hearing on Tuesday that while there were no C.I.A. officers out on the streets of New York collecting intelligence, he thought it was “not a good optic to have C.I.A. involved in any city-level police department.”

Under Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, Mr. Cohen has been involved with expanding the Police Department’s global reach and trying to penetrate overseas terror networks that might be planning attacks in the city. But he has also overseen a number of controversial department efforts to infiltrate New York’s Muslim community and monitor city mosques to gather information about possible terror plots. Last month, The Associated Press reported that department intelligence officers had infiltrated dozens of mosques and had established a so-called Demographics Unit using plainclothes police officers to monitor ethnic groups in the metropolitan region.

The department’s chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said he and his colleagues welcomed the agency’s inquiry.

Muslim advocacy groups have called the department’s operations illegal, and have asked for a Justice Department investigation into the C.I.A.’s cooperation with local police forces.

On Tuesday, Cyrus McGoldrick of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said that his group “cautiously” welcomed the agency’s decision to examine its relationship with the Police Department, although he said he would have preferred an independent investigation into the matter. He said he hoped “the agency’s investigation will be undertaken honestly and transparently.”

Marie E. Harf, a spokeswoman for the agency, said that its cooperation with American police forces in the past decade “should not be a surprise to anyone,” and that its work with the department in New York “is exactly what the American people deserve and have come to expect following 9/11.”

“The agency’s operational focus, however, is overseas and none of the support we have provided to N.Y.P.D. can be rightly characterized as ‘domestic spying’ by the C.I.A.,” Ms. Harf said.

Inquiries by the agency’s inspector general have sometime taken years to complete, and the results of such investigations are rarely made public. Generally, if the inspector general’s office finds evidence that agency operatives broke the law, he will refer the matter to the Justice Department for prosecution.

The current inspector general, David B. Buckley, is a former Air Force officer and staff member on the House Intelligence Committee.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting from New York.

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October 18, 2011

Meet the “Lower Manhattan Security Initiative”

Wall Street Firms Spy on Protestors In Tax-Funded Center

by PAM MARTENS

A CounterPunch Exclusive

www.counterpunch.org

Wall Street’s audacity to corrupt knows no bounds and the cooptation of government by the 1 per cent knows no limits. How else to explain $150 million of taxpayer money going to equip a government facility in lower Manhattan where Wall Street firms, serially charged with corruption, get to sit alongside the New York Police Department and spy on law abiding citizens.

According to newly unearthed documents, the planning for this high tech facility on lower Broadway dates back six years. In correspondence from 2005 that rests quietly in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s archives, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly promised Edward Forst, a Goldman Sachs’ Executive Vice President at the time, that the NYPD “is committed to the development and implementation of a comprehensive security plan for Lower Manhattan…One component of the plan will be a centralized coordination center that will provide space for full-time, on site representation from Goldman Sachs and other stakeholders.”

At the time, Goldman Sachs was in the process of extracting concessions from New York City just short of the Mayor’s first born in exchange for constructing its new headquarters building at 200 West Street, adjacent to the World Financial Center and in the general area of where the new World Trade Center complex would be built. According to the 2005 documents, Goldman’s deal included $1.65 billion in Liberty Bonds, up to $160 million in sales tax abatements for construction materials and tenant furnishings, and the deal-breaker requirement that a security plan that gave it a seat at the NYPD’s Coordination Center would be in place by no later than December 31, 2009.

The surveillance plan became known as the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative and the facility was eventually dubbed the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center. It operates round-the-clock. Under the imprimatur of the largest police department in the United States, 2,000 private spy cameras owned by Wall Street firms, together with approximately 1,000 more owned by the NYPD, are relaying live video feeds of people on the streets in lower Manhattan to the center. Once at the center, they can be integrated for analysis. At least 700 cameras scour the midtown area and also relay their live feeds into the downtown center where low-wage NYPD, MTA and Port Authority crime stoppers sit alongside high-wage personnel from Wall Street firms that are currently under at least 51 Federal and state corruption probes for mortgage securitization fraud and other matters.

In addition to video analytics which can, for example, track a person based on the color of their hat or jacket, insiders say the NYPD either has or is working on face recognition software which could track individuals based on facial features. The center is also equipped with live feeds from license plate readers.

According to one person who has toured the center, there are three rows of computer workstations, with approximately two-thirds operated by non-NYPD personnel. The Chief-Leader, the weekly civil service newspaper, identified some of the outside entities that share the space: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, the Federal Reserve, the New York Stock Exchange. Others say most of the major Wall Street firms have an on-site representative. Two calls and an email to Paul Browne, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, seeking the names of the other Wall Street firms at the center were not returned. An email seeking the same information to City Council Member, Peter Vallone, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, was not returned.

In a press release dated October 4, 2009 announcing the expansion of the surveillance territory, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly had this to say:

“The Midtown Manhattan Security Initiative will add additional cameras and license plate readers installed at key locations between 30th and 60th Streets from river to river. It will also identify additional private organizations who will work alongside NYPD personnel in the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, where corporate and other security representatives from Lower Manhattan have been co-located with police since June 2009. The Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center is the central hub for both initiatives, where all the collected data are analyzed.” [italic emphasis added.]

The project has been funded by New York City taxpayers as well as all U.S. taxpayers through grants from the Federal Department of Homeland Security. On March 26, 2009, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) wrote a letter to Commissioner Kelly, noting that even though the system involves “massive expenditures of public money, there have been no public hearings about any aspect of the system…we reject the Department’s assertion of ‘plenary power’ over all matters touching on public safety…the Department is of course subject to the laws and Constitution of the United States and of the State of New York as well as to regulation by the New York City Council.”

The NYCLU also noted in its letter that it rejected the privacy guidelines for the surveillance operation that the NYPD had posted on its web site for public comment, since there had been no public hearings to formulate these guidelines. It noted further that “the guidelines do not limit police surveillance and databases to suspicious activity…there is no independent oversight or monitoring of compliance with the guidelines.”

According to Commissioner Kelly in public remarks, the privacy guidelines were written by Jessica Tisch, the Director of Counterterrorism Policy and Planning for the NYPD who has played a significant role in developing the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center. In 2006, Tisch was 25 years old and still working on her law degree and MBA at Harvard, according to a wedding announcement in the New York Times. Tisch is a friend to the Mayor’s daughter, Emma; her mother, Meryl, is a family friend to the Mayor.

Tisch is the granddaughter and one of the heirs to the now-deceased billionaire Laurence Tisch who built the Loews Corporation. Her father, James Tisch, is now the CEO of the Loews Corporation and was elected by Wall Street banks to sit on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York until 2013 representing the public’s interest. (Clearly, the 1 per cent think they know what’s best for the 99 per cent.)

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is the entity which doled out the bulk of the $16 trillion in bailout loans to the U.S. and foreign financial community. Members of Tisch’s family work for Wall Street firms or hedge funds which have prime broker relationships with them. A division of Loews Corporation has a banking relationship with Citigroup.

The Tisch family stands to directly benefit from the surveillance program. In June of this year, Continental Casualty Company, the primary unit of the giant CNA Financial which is owned by Loew’s Corp., signed a 19-year lease for 81,296 square feet at 125 Broad Street – an area under surveillance by the downtown surveillance center.

Loews Corporation also owns the Loew’s Regency Hotel on Park Avenue in midtown, an area which is also now under round-the-clock surveillance on the taxpayer’s dime.

Wall Street is infamous for perverting everything it touches: from the Nasdaq stock market, to stock research issued to the public, to auction rate securities, mortgages sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, credit default swaps with AIG, and mortgage securitizations. Had a public hearing been held on this massive surveillance sweep of Manhattan by potential felons, hopefully someone might have pondered what was to prevent Wall Street from tracking its employee whistleblowers heading off to the FBI offices or meeting with a reporter.

One puzzle has at least been solved. Wall Street’s criminals have not been indicted or sent to jail because they have effectively become the police.

Pam Martens worked on Wall Street for 21 years. She spent the last decade of her career advocating against Wall Street’s private justice system, which keeps its crimes shielded from public courtrooms. She has been writing on public interest issues for CounterPunch since retiring in 2006. She has no security position, long or short, in any company mentioned in this article. She can be reached at pamk741@aol.com

See Related Article:

Financial Giants Put New York City Cops On Their Payroll

http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/10/financial-giants-put-new-york-city-cops-on-their-payroll/

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Lets get this straight c.i.a is helping the n.y.p.d in their intelligence work? Training them to be spies in the u.s? Also i heard that the n.y.p.d has this set up in different cities around the world to do the same thing.

So is the n.y.p.d becoming another spy agency?

The c.i.a never works in the u.s? If you believe that! i got some great ocean front propety with a great view in Missouri

As to the book about the 9/11 and the terror the c.i.a wants to cut out parts the book

A spokeswoman for the C.I.A., Jennifer Youngblood, said, “The suggestion that the Central Intelligence Agency has requested redactions on this publication because it doesn't like the content is ridiculous. The C.I.A.’s pre-publication review process looks solely at the issue of whether information is classified.”

She noted that under the law, “Just because something is in the public domain doesn't mean it’s been officially released or declassified by the U.S. government

In Gov speak it's cover your own ass.

Well public domain means that everyone knows it. If the government does not release the info they could say it's not commenting. But to take steps to redact parts of the book says that what this guy says could be true.

The Intelligence agencies got cot withholding info that could have stop what happened and they do not want that to get out to the public at large.

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