ACLJ & 20,000 Americans Defend NYPD Surveillance - Telling DOJ it's "Legitimate" Response to Terrorism
(Washington, DC) - The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Holder defending the surveillance tactics used by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) – a strategy that has prevented 14 known terrorist attacks since 9/11. The ACLJ’s letter on behalf of more than 20,000 Americans backs the NYPD surveillance measures with a detailed legal analysis, calling the program “a legitimate response” to the dangers of a post 9/11 world.
“The surveillance techniques used by the NYPD pose no constitutional concerns and reflect a sound and legitimate response to ongoing terrorist threats facing New York and America,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “It was wrong for the Attorney General to publicly criticize a program – impugn the integrity of one of the best law enforcement agencies in the world – based on news reports about the program. If the Attorney General took the time to examine the program before criticizing it, he would have found a program that is not only lawful and constitutional, but one that is extraordinarily successful as well.”
In addition to disparaging comments by the Attorney General about the NYPD surveillance program, the police tactics also met strong criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for conducting surveillance of Muslim individuals, groups, and mosques as one aspect of their counterterrorism efforts.
In a thorough legal analysis of the NYPD’s undercover operations and examination and surveillance of public information and events, the ACLJ concluded that the operations represent “a legitimate response to the dangers inherent in post 9/11 America and comply with court-sanctioned procedural and investigative Guidelines.” The ACLJ also notes that critics of the program “refuse to recognize that prior terrorist and unlawful activities by Muslims affiliated with Muslim student organizations and mosques provide a valid reason for inquiry and surveillance of such groups in the interest of national security.”
“The NYPD is not straying from limits imposed by the Constitution nor is it taking extraordinary measures not authorized by the Guidelines,” the ACLJ analysis concludes. “The world is changing, and law enforcement must be given the means to deal with the new challenges created by global terrorism. Surveillance of mosques and student organizations with a significant record of terrorism is a legitimate response to a serious problem facing New York City and the nation.”
You can read the entire analysis here.
In just a matter of weeks, the ACLJ heard from more than 20,000 Americans who support the NYPD’s counterterrorism operations and demanded that Attorney General Holder top obstructing good police work.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, is based in Washington, D.C.