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Congressman Pete King

Representing the 2nd District of New York

Rep. King Demands "Uninformed" Members of Congress Stop Smearing the NYPD

Dec 15, 2011
Statement

King and Turner Counter “Embarrassingly Uninformed and Shamefully Misleading” Letter by Three House Members

Washington, D.C. – Today, ­U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Bob Turner (R-NY), a Member of the Committee, sent a letter to all House Members in response to a recent letter from three other Members attacking the NYPD.  

In the letter, King and Turner called the other Members’ attack on the NYPD “embarrassingly uninformed and shamefully misleading.”  King and Turner wrote that “the NYPD is the leading police department in the country with the largest and most effective counterterrorism force, dedicating 1000 officers to protecting New York from terrorist attacks.  To date, under Commissioner Ray Kelly’s leadership, at least 14 attacks by Islamic terrorists have been prevented by the NYPD…in full compliance with federal law and despite the NYPD being underfunded by the federal government.”

King and Turner urged Members to read a recent article by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey in which Mukasey “eviscerates the misguided criticism against the NYPD.”

The signed “Dear Colleague” letter is available HERE.

The text of the letter follows:

IT’S TIME TO STOP THE SMEARS OF THE NYPD


Dear Colleague:

            A recent “Dear Colleague” from three Members of Congress attacking the NYPD was embarrassingly uninformed and shamefully misleading.

            The reality is that the NYPD is the leading police department in the country with the largest and most effective counterterrorism force, dedicating 1000 officers to protecting New York from terrorist attacks.  To date, under Commissioner Ray Kelly’s leadership, at least 14 attacks by Islamic terrorists have been prevented by the NYPD. All this has been accomplished in full compliance with federal law and despite the NYPD being underfunded by the federal government.

            To clear away the cloud of ignorance, political correctness, misinformation and false allegations against the NYPD, we urge you to read the enclosed article, “NYPD True”, by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey which eviscerates the misguided criticism against the NYPD and gives Ray Kelly and his officers the credit they so richly deserve.  As FBI Director Robert Mueller testified just yesterday: “Ray Kelly has done an unbelievable job in terms of protecting New York City from terrorist attacks.”  All fair-minded Members of Congress should agree.

 

Call for Investigation and Hearing on Alleged Spying on

Muslim Americans


From: The Honorable Judy Chu
Date: 12/15/2011

Dear Colleague,

We are deeply troubled by the Associated Press reports that the New York Police Department (NYPD) with the help of the CIA has been collecting information on the Muslim community in New York City and surrounding states.  

According to reports, since 2002, the NYPD has engaged in conduct that has singled out Muslims for police contact – stops and investigations – based upon their race, ethnicity or national origin.  This surveillance allegedly included targeting mosques, student groups, restaurants and even motorists in both NYC and outside the NYPD’s jurisdiction.  The NYPDhas reportedly been collecting information on U.S. citizens without probable cause and electronically storing this information and has a database of Muslims in the NYC area.  The NYPD has also reportedly been crossing state lines without the knowledge of states that they entered to conduct this operation.   

These allegations, if true, would be a violation of civil rights and would trigger a number of federal laws including the National Security Act of 1947 and the federal Police Misconduct Statute.  This situation must be examined further. 

We will be sending two letters: one letter to the Attorney General, asking that the Department of Justice investigate the situation and another to the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asking that the Committee hold a hearing on this issue. 

We hope you will join us in this effort to ensure that the NYPD and the CIA are not violating the law, by signing the attached letters.  To sign on please contact Moh Sharma at moh.sharma@mail.house.gov or call 225-5464 by COB on THURSDAY December 15, 2011.

Sincerely,
 

REP. JUDY CHU                  REP. BOBBY SCOTT                       REP. MIKE HONDA

CAPAC Chair                         CAPAC Civil Rights                          CAPAC Chair

                                                Taskforce Chair                                   Emeritus



December XX, 2011
The Honorable Lamar S. Smith
Chairman
The Honorable John Conyers,  Jr.
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Conyers:

            We write to request that you hold an oversight hearing on the conduct of domestic counter-intelligence activities by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  Recent Associated Press reports have alleged that since 2002, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), with the cooperation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has engaged in efforts to collect information on the Muslim community in New York City and other jurisdictions without the establishment of reasonable suspicion and outside the scope of joint operating agreements.  We find these reports very troubling, and are concerned about the legal issues raised by these allegations.

            While we believe that all appropriate steps should be taken to protect public safety by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, these enforcement efforts must be guided by firm adherence to the laws and regulations designed to protect civil and constitutional rights.  The press reports cited below have detailed a number of allegations that raise issues with respect to whether the NYPD, in particular, has exercised authority beyond the scope of the law and in violation of the Constitution.  The federal government has a unique role in oversight of these allegations in that federal funds, at least in part, may have been used in the execution of the initiatives in question and that cooperation may have been obtained from federal agencies.

            Reports indicate that since 2002, the NYPD may have engaged in a pattern or practice of conduct that has singled out Muslims for police contact – stops and investigations – based upon their race, ethnicity or national origin.  The Associated Press has reported that officers were instructed to pull over individuals using pretextual stops such as broken tail lights and running stop signs.  The officers were then allegedly told to look for suspicious behavior.[1]  These reports also suggest that ethnic communities, including Pakistani and Moroccan neighborhoods, were targeted for information gathering efforts and that the NYPD created an "ancestries of interest" list to guide their initiative.[2]  Reports further allege this initiative took the NYPD across state lines, without the knowledge or cooperation of the states entered, and that the intelligence gathered was often passed to the CIA through informal conversations and unofficial channels. [3]

            If true, these allegations raise issues under both federal statutes and constitutional claims.  Specifically, these practices could violate the federal Police Misconduct Statute, 42 U.S.C. Section 14141, which makes it unlawful for state or local law enforcement agencies to allow officers to engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives persons of rights protected by the Constitution or other U.S. laws.  Additionally, as even federal agencies do not have general policing powers, we have questions concerning the legal authority that gave the NYPD the ability to undertake activities in jurisdictions outside of New York.

            We also have serious concerns about the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in these operations.  It has been reported that the first civilian intelligence chief for the NYPD, a retired thirty-five year veteran of the CIA, created a secret unit aimed at Muslim neighborhoods to collect information and to look for hot spots in the community.[4]  He apparently hired a longtime operative at the CIA, who also maintained an office at the Agency.  The fact that he is alleged to have maintained an office at both the NYPD and the CIA while engaging in local operations is extremely troubling.  The National Security Act of 1947 states that the Director of the CIA "shall collect intelligence through human sources and by other appropriate means, except that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency shall have no police…or law enforcement powers or internal security functions."[5]  If these allegations are true, we believe that the NYPD and the CIA should clarify their actions on the record and explain their legal authority.

            Ultimately, we believe that the exercise of Congressional oversight authority around these allegations is critical to maintaining public safety, while protecting important constitutional rights and civil liberties.  The Department of Homeland Security ("DHS") has provided New York City with approximately $2.5 billion to aid their counterterrorism efforts during the past 10 years, and a significant portion of that went to the NYPD.  According to media reports, there has been little meaningful oversight of the use of funds that the NYPD has received from DHS for its counterterrorism efforts.[6]  The allegations that the NYPD's counterterrorism initiative has been collecting information on U.S. citizens without probable cause and is electronically storing information with little or no oversight should be the subject of immediate inquiry by the Committee.[7]  If, as alleged, the NYPD is engaging in such activities, they should take corrective measures to safeguard its federal support and comply with legal mandates.

            We urge the Judiciary Committee to hold an oversight hearing on these very serious allegations and thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely,

CC: The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary U.S. Senate



December XX, 2011

The Honorable Attorney General Eric Holder

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-000
Dear Attorney General Holder:

            We write to request that the Department of Justice investigate the conduct of domestic counter-intelligence activities by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  Recent Associated Press reports have alleged that since 2002, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), with the cooperation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has engaged in efforts to collect information on the Muslim community in New York City and other jurisdictions without the establishment of reasonable suspicion and outside the scope of joint operating agreements.  We find these reports very troubling, and are concerned about the legal issues raised by these allegations.

            While we believe that all appropriate steps should be taken to protect public safety by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, these enforcement efforts must be guided by firm adherence to the laws and regulations designed to protect civil and constitutional rights.  The press reports cited below have detailed a number of allegations that raise issues with respect to whether the NYPD, in particular, has exercised authority beyond the scope of the law and in violation of the Constitution.  The fe