New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday defended the legality of the NYPD’s covert monitoring of Muslims in New York and New Jersey.
“Everything the NYPD has done is legal, it is appropriate, it is constitutional,” Bloomberg said on WOR radio.
The city’s authorities have to be “first preventers” not “first responders,” Bloomberg said, referring to thwarted terror attacks in New York City. Bloomberg said the city will not repeat the same mistakes it made in the past. “We just cannot let our guard down again. We cannot slack in our vigilance. The threat was real. The threat is real. The threat is not going away.”
The Associated Press has reported extensively on the NYPD’s spying on Muslims, building a network of intelligence even though dozens of the monitored mosques weren’t linked to terrorism. The NYPD even monitored mosques in Newark, New Jersey, without notifying Mayor Cory Booker. U.S. senator from New Jersey Bob Menendez and Booker have called for an investigation into the NYPD’s activities in New Jersey. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne in a statement said New Jersey police were “briefed before and afterwards, and a Newark liaison officer accompanied NYPD personnel when they were in Newark.”
Still, Bloomberg insists the NYPD doesn’t target people based on race or religion, despite the evidence suggesting otherwise. Bloomberg said police follow leads and follow protocol. “We have to be perfect every single time,” he said. “The terrorists only have to be right once.”
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com