New Jersey's attorney general has assured a group of Muslim leaders that a New York police department unit that conducted surveillance of Muslims is no longer operating in the state.
A spokesman for attorney general Jeffrey Chiesa confirmed that Chiesa told a private meeting of New Jersey law enforcement officials and Muslim leaders Wednesday that the NYPD's demographics unit had ceased operating in New Jersey.
The NYPD's covert surveillance program faced scrutiny after an investigation by the Associated Press beginning in August of last year detailed the extent of the operations.
Following September 11, with the help of the CIA, the NYPD's counterterrorism surveillance efforts included spying on Muslim neighborhoods, infiltrating Muslim-owned businesses and cataloging mosques in the north-east.
The demographics unit gathered information on people based on their language and ethnicity, though there was no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the individuals.
Muslim college students at more than a dozen colleges in the north-east US were a particular focus of the program which would monitor Muslim students' websites on a daily basis and monitored Muslim student associations.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie criticized the police department's operations in the state as did Newark mayor Cory Booker who said in February that he didn't know about the program that mapped and photographed 16 mosques in Newark and profiled several restaurants.
The NYPD has defended its surveillance of Muslims in New Jersey as legal, and Chiesa has said New York police did not violate New Jersey laws.
NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, who has defended the program, said Wednesday he wasn't aware of the New Jersey meeting.
In late August, the police department acknowledged that the secret demographics unit did not generate a lead or case in the six years the program has been in place.
Not one lead or case generated after six years.
And you can bet had there not been push back from Jersey on this, they would still be doing it.
Actually given that both Bloomberg and Kelly are liars, I wouldn't be so sure they still aren't doing it anyway.
Just because they say they stopped something doesn't mean they really stopped something.