Chris Christie, AG wrong to conclude NYPD Muslim probe was justified
(Star-Ledger Editorial Board)
It was disturbing to learn several months ago that the New York Police Department was conducting secret spy missions on Muslims in Newark, building dossiers on their mosques and shops, taking photographs and eavesdropping on their conversations.
It is more disturbing to learn that Gov.Chris Christie and his attorney general, Jeffrey Chiesa, have concluded that it was all justified. Throwing this kind of wide net of surveillance over a community, based on its religion, strikes us as a sloppy overreach of police powers.
Chiesa said Thursday that, after a three-month investigation, he could find no evidence that NYPD officers broke any laws. The NYPD, he says, was acting on legitimate intelligence tips when it began its ethnic mapping project in 2007.
Given the confidential nature of this, the public will never know for sure. But what tip could possibly justify such blanket surveillance of a community based on its religion? Did the tipster suggest all Muslims were dangerous? And if the threat was more specific, why did the search have to be so broad?