Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
If you think the Government is allowed to spy on Americans too much already, this next story will increase your blood pressure. It was recently disclosed by the Associated Press that a CIA undercover operative has been directly advising the New York Police Department for at least 3 months. I could have sworn that it was illegal for the CIA to spy on Americans, but nothing has been done to curb this possible violation and abuse of American’s privacy. “Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD’s intelligence unit. A veteran CIA officer, while still on the agency’s payroll, was the architect of the NYPD’s intelligence programs. The CIA trained a police detective at the Farm, the agency’s spy school in Virginia, then returned him to New York, where he put his new espionage skills to work inside the United States. And just last month, the CIA sent a senior officer to work as a clandestine operative inside police headquarters.” MSNBC
The CIA has advised the NYPD since shortly after 9/11. The “cooperation “ between the CIA and NYPD is still active today. The program was initiated in 2002 under the tutelage of CIA operative David Cohen. Of course, many of the details of this CIA/NYPD spy unit and its activities are secret. According to MSNBC, ” … officials said they’ve also been careful to keep information about some programs out of court, where a judge might take a different view. The NYPD considers even basic details, such as the intelligence division’s organization chart, to be too sensitive to reveal in court.” A large part of the questions and complaints about this partnership revolves around the alleged profiling and spying on the Muslim community in New York City.
Does this partnership between the CIA and NYPD bring up any constitutional issues? Can a city police department keep the details of this unit secret from even the courts purview? Can the CIA legally allow an undercover agent to spy on Americans under the guise of working for or advising the NYPD? That last question concerns members of Congress who have taken an interest in this alliance.
“James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, mischaracterized him to Congress as an “embedded analyst” – his office later quietly said that was a mistake – and acknowledged it looked bad to have the CIA working so closely with a police department. All of this has troubled lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has said the CIA has “no business or authority in domestic spying, or in advising the NYPD how to conduct local surveillance.” “It’s really important to fully understand what the nature of the investigations into the Muslim community are all about, and also the partnership between the local police and the CIA,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., a member of the House Intelligence Committee.” Readersupportednews
The facts seem clear that the CIA has a significant presence in the NYPD and at least one US Senator and one Congresswoman have asked questions about the legality of this program. More questions come to mind when reviewing these facts. Could the NYPD be using the CIA’s spies to overcome judicial and legislative oversight of their activities by hiding behind the National Security super defense? The RSN article linked above tells us that the CIA’s Inspector General is investigating whether this combination is legal, but I for one have little faith in the CIA investigating itself. Without all the facts behind this program, will we ever learn the true story?
Finally, if this program has been underway in NYPD for almost a decade, are other cities across the country also in bed with the CIA? As usual when it comes to the CIA, we have far too many questions and not enough answers. Maybe we need a good whistle-blower to shine some light on this shady alliance! What do you think?
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty, (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger