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NYPD Spied on Muslim Clubs at Yale, Columbia, and Penn in Outlandish Search for Terrorists
Posted By Patience Haggin On February 20, 2012 @ 2:19 am In Uncategorized | 5 Comments
In the wake of IvyGate’s Hell Week, you probably thought that any non-violent Ivy student group that didn’t encourage its members to hurl folding chairs at law enforcement personnel would be safe from police department hit lists. Not so! Today, the Associated Press revealed that the NYPD has been monitoring Muslim Student Associations at 16 college campuses in the (very broadly defined) New York area, including Yale, Columbia, and Penn.
According to an internal memo obtained by AP reporters—one of the NYPD’s “Weekly MSA Reports”—NYPD Cyber-Intelligence officers conducted a “daily routine” inspection of various MSA blogs and forums and recorded which students were advertising educational conferences, among other terrorism-related activities.
But their monitoring efforts went even further: an undercover cop went on a whitewater rafting trip with Muslim students from the City College of New York in 2008 and reportedly had a student informant at Syracuse University. Yes, whitewater rafting. Because that’s where you pall around with terrorists: in a raging river! Everybody knows that. (And seriously, a student informant? That kid who you thought just showed up to the meetings for the free food was actually coming under the orders of a police force 250 miles away?)
Though the Ivy chapters were certainly on the NYPD’s watch list, it’s not clear that any of them were subject to a special amount of scrutiny. None of the more egregious (and sillier) methods of surveillance cited in the article were employed at Ivy League schools. A source from the Penn MSA told IvyGate that Penn officials have contacted the NYPD, who stated that no Penn students were being monitored. Good to know that you can just call them up and ask!
When asked why the NYPD found it necessary to keep tabs on the academic conferences and river-rafting of 20-year-old college students, the NYPD spokesman pointed out that 12 members of Muslim Student Associations have been arrested on terrorism charges.
Meaning, what? The fact that some criminals were once involved in a certain college activity makes every student who participates in that activity suspect and worthy of surveillance? The Columbia students arrested in last year’s drug bust were in fraternities, but it’s not like DEA officers are keeping tabs on the activities of every fraternity in the country. (Or maybe they are! In which case, they could start by testing the composites.)
Furthermore: NYPD’s spying program was based on the arrest records of twelve people. Twelve people, of the 1.8 million Muslims in this country. In the interpretation most sympathetic to the NYPD—in the most paranoid, misinformed, misleading interpretation of this data possible—that data could be interpreted to suggest that MSAs are radicalizing Muslims at a rate of .00067%. Wow. Because that justifies spying on all 187 MSA chapters in America—in case .001 of an MSA member gets arrested some day. Totally worth it.
Easily the best/strangest part of this whole fiasco: in an ironic twist (kind of like a classic doofus cop story), a building superintendent called 911 on undercover officers (who were staked out in an apartment near the Rutgers campus to keep watch on Rutgers students) when he suspected the officers were radicals using the apartment as a terrorist cell. FBI officials looked into it (which must have made for a hilarious encounter) and confirmed that it was merely NYPD officers spying on college students.
Which means this goes higher than the NYPD: the FBI—the federal organization that collaborates with police forces all across the nation—knew about the surveillance and condoned it. It raises the question: was the FBI overseeing similar surveillance programs all across the country? Also, if NYPD personnel were monitoring the MSA at Rutgers, why not the one at Princeton?
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URL to article: http://www.ivygateblog.com/2012/02/nypd-spied-on-muslim-clubs-at-yale-columbia-and-penn-in-outlandish-search-for-terrorists/
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