NYPD Even Spied on the Muslim Leaders Who Were Helping Them

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NEW YORK - MAY 26:  Pedestrians in Times Square walk past a police car May 26, 2004 in New York City. The U.S. fears that al Qaeda may be plotting an attack inside the country or against U.S. interests abroad. Despite these warnings, the government has no plans to raise the terror threat level and has no details on when, where or how an attack might occur.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 26: Pedestrians in Times Square walk past a police car May 26, 2004 in New York City. The U.S. fears that al Qaeda may be plotting an attack inside the country or against U.S. interests abroad. Despite these warnings, the government has no plans to raise the terror threat level and has no details on when, where or how an attack might occur. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Photo: Spencer Platt/2004 Getty Images

The Egyptian sheik Reda Shata was not pleased to find out that he was a target of the NYPD's surveillance of local Muslims in the years after September 11, even as he was inviting intelligence officers to his place of worship:

Shata welcomed FBI agents to his mosque to speak to Muslims, invited NYPD officers for breakfast and threw parties for officers who were leaving the precinct during his time at the Islamic Center of Bay Ridge. As police secretly watched him in 2006, he had breakfast and dinner with Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion and was invited to meet with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Shata recalls.

Nonetheless, Shata was on a watch-list uncovered by the Associated Press's ongoing investigation into the NYPD–CIA partnership that infiltrated more than 250 mosques and community centers in New York City's Muslim neighborhoods. And even among allies, Shata was not alone.

Another one of the Bloomberg's token imams, Mohammad Shamsi Ali, who was "regularly at the mayor's side for public appearances that touch on Muslim issues," was also being investigated. "Everywhere that I go, I feel someone must be listening to me," he said. "As long as I do things according to law, I don't have to worry at all."

Shata called the situation "very sad," and said he felt betrayed: "What is your feeling if you see this about people you trusted?"

Neither the NYPD nor Bloomberg's office responded to the AP's request for comment this time around. Seven state senators requested yesterday that the New York Attorney General investigate the spying program; the CIA has said it will look into it.

NYPD spied on city's Muslim anti-terror partners [AP via WSJ]