The New Jersey State attorney general concluded a three month investigation on Thursday, ruling that law enforcement officers with the New York Police Department were not at fault by profiling and spying on Muslims outside of their jurisdiction.
New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa finished his probe into a lengthy scandal involving the NYPD on Thursday and determined that the Big Apple’s boys in blue committed no wrongdoing by traveling across state lines and conducting clandestine surveillance of Muslims at venues that included community centers, places of worship and restaurants.
Chisea’s findings come following an investigation spearheaded by the Associated Press that revealed that NYPD officers had repeatedly traveled outside of the state and the country to go on intelligence gathering missions aimed at Muslims around the world. Often they dispatched undercover officers that conducted spy operations under the command of a former Central Intelligence Agency official.
Despite widespread condemnation from across the tri-state area and around the US, New Jersey’s Chisea has determined that no violations were conducted by NYPD officers. Speaking on Thursday of the conclusion of the probe, the attorney general issued a statement saying, “We remain committed to striking the appropriate balance of ensuring the safety of our citizens through vigilance in fighting terrorism, while not undermining the public’s confidence in how we approach that mission.”
Commenting to New Jersey’s Star-Ledger, officials close to the matter working under the attorney general say of the NYPD, “Based on what we saw, their conduct was permissible,.”
“There was no evidence of illegal wiretaps or search and seizures. We’re not seeing any seeing violations of law,”adds the source.
On his part, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly defended the undercover spy program, despite his office originally denying its existence. “The police department goes where there are allegations, and they look to see whether those allegations are true,” Mayor Bloomberg told reporters earlier this year. “That’s what you’d expect them to do. That’s what you’d want them to do. Remind yourself when you turn out the light tonight.”
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly also defended his force’s role, even when out of state, saying last year, “The New York Police Department is doing everything it can to make sure there’s not another 9/11 here and that more innocent New Yorkers are not killed by terrorists …And we have nothing to apologize for in that regard.”
Now the attorney general’s office says that they will work more closely with authorities in New York to ensure that another scandal is not brought to light. The Associated Press reports that Chiesa claims that the NYPD vows to meet regularly with officers in New Jersey in order to discuss counterterrorism intelligence.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has not commented specifically on the investigation this week, bu told the AP from Atlantic City on Thursday, “I have every confidence in Attorney General Chiesa. If that’s what he determined, it’s good enough for me.”
- New Jersey attorney general: NYPD surveillance of Muslims was legal (rawstory.com)
- Muslim Leaders, Officials Discuss NYPD Surveillance in NJ (wnyc.org)