Since 1993, New York City–as the financial capital of the nation–has been Target Number Two for Islamic extremists.
Only Washington, D.C.–the nation’s political capital–outranks it as the city Islamic terrorists most want to destroy.
But for large numbers of New York’s Islamic community, this is unimportant. What is important, to them, is their being viewed with distrust by the NYPD.
“The Demographics Unit created psychological warfare in our community,” said Linda Sarsour, of the Arab American Association of New York.
‘Those documents, they showed where we live. That’s the cafe where I eat. That’s where I pray. That’s where I buy my groceries.
“They were able to see [our] entire lives on those maps. And it completely messed with the psyche of the community.”
But that’s entirely the point of having an effective Intelligence unit: To disrupt “the psyche” of those who plan acts of violence against a community.
In 1964, the FBI launched such a counterintelligence program–in Bureau-speak, a COINTELPRO–against the Ku Klux Klan.
Up to that point, Klansmen had shot, lynched and bombed their way across the Deep South, especially in Alabama and Mississippi. Many Southern sheriffs and police chiefs were Klan sympathizers, if not outright members and accomplices.
Ku Klux Klansmen in a meeting
The FBI’s covert action program aimed to “expose, disrupt and otherwise neutralize” Ku Klux Klan groups through a wide range of legal and extra-legal methods.
FBI Special Agents:
- Planted electronic surveillance devices in Klan meeting places.
- Carried out “black bag jobs”–burglaries–to steal Klan membership lists.
- Contacted the news media to publicize arrests and identify Klan leaders.
- Informed the employers of known Klansmen of their employees’ criminal activity, resulting in the firing of untold numbers of them.
- Developed informants within Klans and sewed a climate of distrust and fear among Klansmen.
- Beat and harassed Klansmen who threatened and harassed them.
“They were dirty, rough fellows,” recalled William C. Sullivan, who headed the FBI’s Domestic Intelligence Division in the 1960s. “And we went after them with rough, tough methods.
William C. Sullivan
“When the Klan reached 14,000 in the mid-sixties, I asked to take over the investigation of the Klan. When I left the Bureau in 1971, the Klan was down to a completely disorganized 4,300. It was broken.”
And for more than a decade, the Demographics Unit of the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Division worked diligently to prevent another major terrorist attack on New York City.
Agent at NYPD Counterterrorism Division Center
Then, in 2013, New York City voters elected Democrat Bill de Blazio as Michael Bloomberg’s successor as mayor.
For de Blasio, scoring Politically Correct points with New York’s uber-liberal community was more important than supporting a proven deterrent to terrorism.
De Blazio promised to give new Yorkers “a police force that keeps our city safe, but that is also respectful and fair.
“This reform [disbanding the Demographics Unit] is a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys,” he claimed.
In Washington, 34 members of Congress demanded an FBI investigation into the NYPD’s covert surveillance program.
Attorney General Eric Holder said he found reports about the operations disturbing. The Department of Justice said it was reviewing complaints received from Muslims and their supporters.
All of this contradicted the warning provided by a Federal judge on February 20, 2014.
U.S. District Judge William Martini in Newark, N.J., threw out a suit brought against the NYPD by eight New Jersey Muslims.
They claimed that the NYPD’s surveillance of mosques, restaurants and schools in the state since 2002 was unconstitutional because Muslims were being targeted solely on the basis of their religion.
In his ruling, however, Martini disagreed:
“The police could not have monitored New Jersey for Muslim terrorist activities without monitoring the Muslim community itself.
“The motive for the program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but rather to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary, law-abiding Muslims.”
Both NYPD Cmmissioner Raymond Kelly and Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence David Cohen chose to retire in 2013.
The Demographics Unit of the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Division was officially disbanded on April 15. Detectives that had been assigned to it were transferred to other duties within the Intelligence Division.
Jawad Rasul, one of the students on the whitewater rafting trip in upstate New York, was enraged when he learned that his name was included in the police report.
“It forces me to look around wherever I am now,” Rasul said.
So now he knows how Americans feel when they spot Muslim women wearing chadors that hide their faces from view, or even burqas that cover their entire bodies (and any explosive devices they might be carrying).
Political Correctness mavens might laugh or sneer at such a warning. But Al Qaeda has used exactly that tactic repeatedly–and successfully–against Afghan military forces.
Osama bin Laden was forced to spend his last years in a Pakistani house watching movies on TV. But that didn’t stop him from continuing to plot further acts of destruction against “infidel Crusaders.”
Among the plots he sought to unleash was the assassination of President Barack Obama.
It was simply America’s good fortune that the Navy SEALS got him first.