Counter-terrorism or First Amendment Violation?
By Harold Hutchison
The New York Police Department has been conducting surveillance on a dozen mosques that have been declared “terrorist organizations.” According to a report by the Clarion Project, that program is now being targeted by the ACLU.
The program, which is monitored by a federal judge who approved the procedures that the NYPD, has been going on since the 11 September, 2001 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, “Undercover officers and confidential informants do not enter a mosque unless they are following up on a lead. We have a responsibility to protect New Yorkers from violent crime or another terrorist attack, and we uphold the law in doing so.”
The federal court was told that the use of undercover officers for surveillance was necessary because mosques could be used “to shield the work of terrorists from law enforcement scrutiny by taking advantage of restrictions of the investigation of First Amendment activity,” according to one NYPD official.
While the ACLU is targeting the NYPD’s use of undercover officers in mosques, it was silent when the Obama Administration pressured Youtube to remove the video Innocence of Muslims in the wake of the 11 September, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.