It is being reported that controversial Muslim surveillance programs set in place by the New York Police Department were allegedly funded, at least in part, by millions of dollars provided them directly by both the Bush and Obama administrations.
Since the attacks on 9/11, $135 million has been handed to the NYPD to fight drug crimes from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA). HIDTA issues grants under supervision by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for that sort of thing. Turns out that an unknown amount of that grant money has been used to provide cars and computers used in the Muslim surveillance programs.
Before this information came out, the Obama administration had gone to some length in its attempts to distance itself from the NYPD’s counter-terrorism programs, ambiguously refusing to endorse or renounce them. One director says that the vast majority of the grants have indeed been used for their purpose – to fight drugs – though admitted that some money (less than $1.3 million) was spent on cars used to “collect and analyze counterterrorism information.” Former police officials have said that those cars have been used to photograph mosques and the license plates of their religious patrons. In addition to this, computers were purchased with HIDTA grant money that are used to keep lists of Muslims who have switched to Americanized names.
Do you think these programs are ethical? Effective? Another abuse of our tax dollars or a blight on our freedom?