Years of NYPD Spying on Muslims Produced No Leads

'Demographics Unit' Never Found Anything

by Jason Ditz, August 21, 2012

Since getting caught out in the unconstitutional program of mass surveillance of Middle Easterners entirely on the basis of ethnicity, the NYPD has been vocal in defense of the scheme, insisting that spying on Muslims in and around New York was vital and that critics had forgotten 9/11.

A newly unsealed deposition related to the federal civil rights case it spawned, however, paints the program in a particularly damning light, with Assistant Chief Thomas Galati admitting that the entire Demographics Program, which was in place for six solid years spying on virtually every Muslim in metro New York, has not found a single lead to anything.

Incredibly, even after admitting that they found literally nothing in six years, Galati argued that it remains an “important” program because it is theoretically possible they might find something at some point in the future.

The overtly racist program just gets worse the more Galati tried to defend it, pointing to spying on Pakistanis because one of them was speaking in Urdu and complaining about ethnic profiling. Galati testified that “most Urdu speakers from that region would be of concern.” Over 60 million people are native Urdu speakers.

Providing another example to prove his point, he defended the surveillance of a Lebanese cafe because some of its customers were from South Lebanon. “That may be an indicator of possibility that that is a sympathizer to Hezbollah because Southern Lebanon is dominated by Hezbollah,” he reasoned.

Galati also provided insight into how they generally decided what the surveil, saying that any business would be labeled a “location of concern” if police believed they could “expect” to find Middle Easterners there at any given time. Needless to say, this included virtually every business in some neighborhoods, and leaves little doubt as to why the program got bigger and bigger without ever finding anything.

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