The White House has provided the New York Police Department with millions of dollars to spy on Muslim Americans, according to the Huffington Post. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to the New York-New Jersey region through the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, known as HIDTA.
According to the Associated Press, some of the funds went to pay for cars that plainclothes NYPD officers used to conduct surveillance on Muslim neighborhoods, including photographing mosques and recording the license plates of worshippers. Grant money also paid for computers that stored information about Muslim college students, mosque sermons and social events.
The White House, which has paid about $2.3 billion through HIDTA over the last decade, says that it has no control over how the money is spent. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is unapologetic about the NYPD's methods.
"I am shocked to hear that federal dollars may have helped finance the NYPD's misguided efforts to spy on Muslims in America," said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), one of 34 members of Congress who have asked the Justice Department and House Judiciary Committee to investigate the NYPD.
The Obama administration, which has done major outreach to Muslim communities across the nation, has said that it considers Muslim Americans an important part of national efforts to combat radical extremism. But the discovery that White House funds are being used to support the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims may be tough for the administration to explain.
Read more at the Huffington Post.