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1 EiMitch  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 10:46:39am

So the fully justified racial profiling and warrantless invasion of privacy turned out to be fully unjustified.

No harm no foul, right? /sarc

2 CuriousLurker  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 11:24:59am

Thanks for posting this.

3 Destro  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 12:36:38pm

Pamela Geller will reply that the Muslims were too clever for the NYPD.

4 Killgore Trout  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 1:54:43pm

The sensationalist headline has been making the rounds this morning but this is some bad reporting from AP, bordering as dishonest.

Police hoped the Demographics Unit would serve as an early warning system for terrorism.

That's not true. It would not be legal for the police to use the demographics unit as a blanket surveillance tool/fishing expedition to initiate investigations against Muslims. That would be Unconstitutional. The very next sentence tells you what the program is actully used for.

And if police ever got a tip about, say, an Afghan terrorist in the city, they’d know where he was likely to rent a room, buy groceries and watch sports.

But in a June 28 deposition as part of a longstanding federal civil rights case, Assistant Chief Thomas Galati said none of the conversations the officers overheard ever led to a case.
"Related to Demographics," Galati testified that information that has come in "has not commenced an investigation."

That may very well be true because the Demographics unit should not be used to initiate investigations. It's meant as a data base tool to locate already known suspects. Where they might live, find people who speak their language, have familiar foods, etc.

Now the headline itself is a problem. Muslim spying led to no leads, terror cases. Is that true? No, of course not.
NYC Terror Plot Suspect Mohammed Mamdouh Says He Is Innocent

Mamdough now says he had no problems with Jews or anyone else and just had the bad luck of being around when an undercover police officer overheard Ferhani talking about blowing up buildings.

And this guy was under surveillance for 3 years before he was arrested

Law enforcement officials had been watching Pimentel, who has also lived in Schenectady, N.Y., since 2009.

Of these and about 15-16 other cases were solved with surveillance by NY police, just not by the Demographics unit, because that's not what they're supposed to do.

5 Obdicut  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 2:26:30pm

re: #4 Killgore Trout

Can you back up your claim that the 'demographics unit' didn't do surveillance?

Isn't listening to conversations surveillance?

If not, what is it?

6 Killgore Trout  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 4:19:43pm

NYPD Responds To AP’s Allegation Of Failed Spying Program

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks, “The collection of information is not investigative, not spying, and now they’re claiming, ‘Oh, we didn’t investigate and didn’t spy successfully.’ Well, they can’t have it both ways. They can’t, on one hand, accuse us of something that we’re not doing, and then not do it, and then declare it a failure.”

Today's testimony that AP is reporting reinforces the fact that the Demographics unit wasn't being used improperly, illegally or unconstitutionally. The AP created the false story of it being a spy program to illegally investigate Muslims and now claims that the program failed because there were no investigations of terrorism from the program. It's not what the program does. It would be a much bigger story if the program was actually being misused, but it's not.

7 Obdicut  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 4:41:15pm

re: #6 Killgore Trout

Were the informants in mosques not doing surveillance? If not, what were they there for?

8 Decatur Deb  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 4:43:22pm

re: #7 Obdicut

Were the informants in mosques not doing surveillance? If not, what were they there for?

Do Muslims have Bingo?

9 Obdicut  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 4:44:05pm

re: #8 Decatur Deb

Do Muslims have Bingo?

Bingo always seems to have a floating cloud of sadness associated with it.

10 Decatur Deb  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 4:45:28pm

re: #9 Obdicut

Bingo always seems to have a floating cloud of sadness associated with it.

You should see it in Florida.

11 Killgore Trout  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 4:46:27pm

re: #7 Obdicut

Were the informants in mosques not doing surveillance? If not, what were they there for?

From AP's own article....

if police ever got a tip about, say, an Afghan terrorist in the city, they’d know where he was likely to rent a room, buy groceries and watch sports.

They were, and still are, gathering information to help locate suspects if the need arises.

12 Obdicut  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 4:48:20pm

re: #11 Killgore Trout

I'm sorry, how is having an informant in a mosque useful for that, unless they're performing surveillance?

Can you actually explain it, rather than making oblique references?

13 Killgore Trout  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 4:48:55pm

re: #8 Decatur Deb

Do Muslims have Bingo?

Might fall under the category of gambling for them. Not sure.

14 Killgore Trout  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 4:53:17pm

re: #12 Obdicut
The purpose of the program is.....

if police ever got a tip about, say, an Afghan terrorist in the city, they’d know where he was likely to rent a room, buy groceries and watch sports.

..or where he might go to pray, buy his clothes, get his hair cut, buy books, etc.
Why am I not surprised that you're not interested in an honest discussion?

15 Obdicut  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 4:53:50pm

I seriously can't even understand the hair that you and the NYPD are trying to split here. That they only spied on people, placed informants, monitored sermons, and created a database of Muslims who got Americanized names wasn't in order to initiate investigations, but in order to gain surveillance data to help them track terrorists. Fine, who gives a shit? The problem is the spying on people and placing informants. The purpose it was done for is really rather secondary.

Whether shit like this is constitutional or not depends on whether you believe in an affirmative right to privacy implied in the constitution.

16 Obdicut  Tue, Aug 21, 2012 5:00:34pm

re: #14 Killgore Trout

You probably honestly think that you're answering my question. That's kinda interesting.

I completely accept that the purpose was to build up information about the Muslim community in order to figure out where a terrorist might go. I'm not sure why this would take more than asking some members of the Muslim community for this, but anyway, they felt the need for a demographics unit.

The point is that the methods used, and the singling out of Muslims, are the problems. The use of informants, the lack of open approach to the Muslim community, the invasion of privacy that occurred to make this happen. It breached trust, and arguably caused much more damage to police investigations by making Muslims less likely to cooperate with police.


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