Millions of dollars used by the New York City Police Department to put entire Muslim communities under surveillance came directly from the White House, although it was allocated to fight drug crimes.
The White House on Monday said it has no opinion about how the money was spent, as if support for blatantly unconstitutional spying programs on huge numbers of innocent people is not something they need to worry about. The police commissioner in New York similarly refused to apologize.
“Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001,” reports the Associated Press, “the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to the New York and New Jersey region through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, known as HIDTA. It’s unclear exactly how much was spent on surveillance of Muslims because the HIDTA program has little oversight.”
The AP has been exposing policies of the NYPD that systematically target various Muslim communities to secretly surveil groups of people based on their ethnicity and religion. The reporters recently won awards for their work documenting, for example, “how the NYPD assigned ‘rakers’ and ‘mosque crawlers’ to ethnic neighborhoods, infiltrating everything from booksellers and cafes to Muslim places of worship.” The NYPD also spied on Muslim students and their campus organizations, despite having no evidence that any crime had been committed, other than being Muslim of course.
The fact that the money used to do this kind of surveillance on Americans was actually meant for drug war activities is yet another indication that this is the national security state run-amok. Vast sums of taxpayer money is used not only to violently enforce regressive and unnecessary drug laws, but also to fund tyrannical law enforcement powers that violate the basic constitutional rights of American citizens.