Brennan Center, Muslim Advocates, AALDEF Request NYPD Intelligence Records

September 21, 2011

Contact:  Brennan Center: Erik Opsal,, 646-292-8356; Muslim Advocates: Fatima Khan,, 617-216-7089

New York, NY – Civil liberties groups today called on the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to hand over records related to the department’s domestic intelligence gathering operations. The request comes on the heels of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director David Petraeus’ call to investigate whether the CIA broke the law by collaborating with the NYPD to build intelligence-gathering programs that targeted Muslim communities. 

In the request filed under New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), the Brennan Center for Justice, Muslim Advocates, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund asked for information on the NYPD’s cooperation with the CIA, the implementation of the department’s patrol guidelines, the department’s use of racial profiling, and its use of undercover informants.

Recent stories from the Associated Press detailed the department’s close relationship with the CIA, providing numerous examples of racial profiling and intrusion into ethnic communities looking for “hot spots” of terrorist activity. This includes targeting a Bangladeshi restaurant because it attracted a “devout crowd,” targeting particular mosques as being of concern due to “rhetoric,” and targeting university based Muslim student associations for having students who were “politically active and … radicalizing.”

“New Yorkers deserve to know exactly what the NYPD has been doing to monitor our activities,” said Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. “Recent reports about the NYPD’s intelligence gathering tactics are troubling — not only because of how information was collected, but also because it is unclear who, if anyone, is in charge of reining in these abuses. We filed this request to get to the bottom of this story and hold the Department accountable.”

 “This case has critical implications for public safety and public trust," said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates. "The NYPD is the nation's largest police department, and appears to have set a dangerous precedent in which innocent Americans are targeted simply because of their faith.  Simply put, biased policing is bad policing.

Read the request here:

For more information on government intelligence activity, including that of the NYPD, see two Brennan Center reports, Rethinking Radicalization and Domestic Intelligence: New Powers, New Risks.

To schedule an interview with the Brennan Center, please contact Erik Opsal at or 646-292-8356. To schedule an interview with Muslim Advocates, please contact Fatima Khan at or 617-216-7089.