NYPD's Muslim Surveillance Used White House Funds

Anti-drug grant pays for cars, computers: AP report

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 27, 2012 1:48 PM CST

(Newser) – The NYPD's controversial Muslim surveillance programs were funded in part by millions of dollars directly from the Bush and Obama administrations, the AP reports. Since the 9/11 attacks, $135 million has been provided through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA), which hands out grants, under the watch of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, to fight drug crimes. But an unknown amount of that money has actually been used for cars and computers used in the Muslim surveillance efforts, the AP finds.

Prior to this revelation, the Obama administration had attempted to distance itself from the NYPD counterterrorism program, but has neither endorsed nor renounced it. One director says the vast majority of the funds have been used to fight drugs, and that less than $1.3 million was spent on cars used to "collect and analyze counterterrorism information." But former police officials say those same cars have also been used to photograph mosques and the license plates of worshippers there. In addition, the AP notes, computers purchased with HIDTA funds have been used to keep lists of Muslims who switched to Americanized names. Click for the full report.

A NYPD car is parked outside a building in downtown Manhattan.
A NYPD car is parked outside a building in downtown Manhattan.   (AP Photo/David Karp)
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