Mar 012012
 March 1, 2012  Posted by  Surveillance

Beth DeFalco of Associated Press reports:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie sharply criticized the New York Police Department on Wednesday for not informing federal law enforcement agencies — at least to his knowledge — about their secret surveillance of Muslims in Newark.

Christie has said he doesn’t recall being briefed about the spying in 2007, while he was the state’s top federal prosecutor.

Speaking Wednesday night on Townsquare Media’s “Ask the Governor” radio program, the governor said the Department of Justice’s Joint Terrorism Task Force should have been advised. He questioned whether the NYPD’s secrecy was “born out of arrogance or paranoia.”

Read more of this AP story.  NYPD claims that New Jersey had been notified of the surveillance at the time. Note that Governor Christie is not particularly critical of the surveillance itself – just of NYPD’s coming into New Jersey’s turf.

In related news, those defending the surveillance have claimed that they are just doing what they have to do to keep us all safe and how quickly some people have forgotten 9-11.

Well, no, some of us who oppose this surveillance haven’t forgotten 9-11.  I  was there in the aftermath. I saw the faces of the firefighters’ wives before they were taken down to the site where their husbands died.  It is not something I will ever forget.  And yet that does not justify surveilling an entire group based on religious affiliation.  Indeed, I can think of no better way to disenfranchise and radicalize our youth than to treat them like potential terrorists.

In the meantime, the Department of Justice is considering whether it even will investigate the complaints about the program.

Maybe the Civil Liberties and Privacy Oversight Board could take a look at this since government funds were reportedly used or misused to support the program?

This program continues to be an egregious violation of privacy and represents the worst of domestic surveillance.  Where is the oversight and accountability?

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