Friday, December 23, 2011

CNN: CIA report: No issue with spy agency's partnership with N.Y. police

According to a CIA investigation, the CIA is doing no wrong by collaborating with the NY Police Department in "covert surveillance" of Muslims in NYC.  "The CIA inspector general has completed a review of the CIA's relationship with the NYPD and has found no violation of law or executive order on the part of CIA," said agency spokesman Preston Golson. "The IG also found no evidence that any part of the agency's support to the NYPD constituted 'domestic spying.'"

Um.. so, we can trust the CIA to police itself?  Really?

Maybe something got lost along the way between Sept 11, 2011 and the Homeland Security Department and other things. 

The CIA is supposed to only be for use outside the U.S. and its use inside the U.S. is supposed to be illegal.  The phrase above, 'domestic spying', is key as that's what would be illegal. 

There is a slippery slope situation that's akin to the old rules for financial institutions that kept various financial services in separate companies.  One part of the financial collapse was the repeal of those old rules, and the subsequent merger of financial institutions allowing services that should have been kept in separate companies to be done by single companies.  While that probably contributed to some kind of efficiency in the financial institutions, it gave financial institutions opportunities to screw with the system and commit questionable practices that eventually messed things up.  I'm sorry, I didn't say that very well.

In any case the thing here is to draw a sharp distinction between the agencies that fight off threats from foreign countries, and the agencies that maintain internal stability within the country.  There are distinct policy and strategical differences between being focused on external enemies, or focused on your own people.  It's inappropriate to use the forces who are trained to fight enemies on your own people, because your own people are not enemies.

Well, except, that is, there's been an effort to label Muslims who live in the U.S. as potential enemies.  That's a sad side result of the Sept 11 attacks.


CIA report: No issue with spy agency's partnership with N.Y. police

Doing a little searching turned up: NYPD And CIA Had Secret “Mosque Crawlers” Operation

The NYPD has developed a massive domestic spying operation and is operating well outside the boundaries of NYC.  NYPD police officers are getting training from the CIA on spying techniques.  The CIA is working with NYPD. 

The targets are minority communities, especially Muslims.

The article describes it as "trolling", namely just scanning everything in the minority neighborhoods.  The NYPD is quoted with a denial of this, and says they're "simply following leads".

A key person in this is David Cohen, a retired 35-year veteran of the CIA, who became the NYC police department’s first civilian intelligence chief.  He had been a high ranking CIA officer.  Cohen’s tenure as head of CIA operations, the nation’s top spy, was so contentious that in 1997, The New York Times editorial page took the unusual step of calling for his ouster.

After Cohen came on board, the CIA Director George Tenet assigned Larry Sanchez to serve as a CIA officer, on CIA payroll, but operating inside the NYPD.  He had full access to CIA resources, as an operative working inside the NYPD.

There had never been an arrangement like it, and some senior CIA officials soon began questioning whether Tenet was allowing Sanchez to operate on both sides of the wall that’s supposed to keep the CIA out of the domestic intelligence business.

Cohen created a secret squad that would soon infiltrate Muslim neighborhoods, according to several current and former officials directly involved in the program.  This involved assigning NYPD police officers from specific ethnic backgrounds to infiltrate neighborhoods with matching ethnic backgrounds.  These officers were called "rakers" and were charged with hanging out, observing, looking everywhere for "hot spots".

Cohen said he wanted the squad to “rake the coals, looking for hot spots,” former officials recalled. The undercover officers soon became known inside the department as rakers.