New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly is defending his agency's spying on Muslims, according to the Daily News. The NYPD has come under fire for spying on Muslim establishments like mosques, cafes and stores as well as Muslim college students. Various Muslim civil rights groups have blasted the department's surveillance program.
"For some, the very act of intelligence gathering seems illegitimate when applied to the crime of terrorism," Kelly told a Fordham Law School alumni group. "In fact, the police department uses many of the same methods to find and stop terrorists that we use to arrest drug dealers, human traffickers and gang leaders."
Kelly claimed that the program is not only legal but has been successful because it has disrupted several terrorists plots post 9/11. He also defended the NYPD's extension of the spying beyond New York City, into New Jersey. "The notion that the police department should close our eyes to what takes place outside the five boroughs is folly, and it defies the lessons of history," Kelly said. "If terrorists aren't limited by borders and boundaries, we can't be, either."
The New York Civil Liberties Union met his speech with skepticism. "No one disputes the NYPD can and should follow leads about terrorist activity," said Chris Dunn, the NYCLU's associate legal director, "but the recent disclosures suggest that leads have become an excuse for wholesale surveillance of the Muslim community."
Read more at the Daily News.