The CIA is not supposed to do domestic spying (though it doesn’t have the best track record in that regard), so a partnership between the agency and the NYPD, revealed as part of the Associated Press’s investigation into spying on New York-area Muslims, naturally made people nervous. Don’t worry, the CIA assured everybody. A report by its inspector general found “no evidence that any part of the agency’s support to the NYPD constituted ‘domestic spying.’” The report was classified, but trust! Perhaps unsurprisingly, now that the report has been made public. it turns out the conclusion was not so clear.
Per the New York Times: “The C.I.A. inspector general, David B. Buckley, found that the collaboration was fraught with ‘irregular personnel practices,’ that it lacked ‘formal documentation in some important instances,’ and that ‘there was inadequate direction and control’ by agency supervisors.”
Among the problematic practices the Times highlighted from the report: One of four embedded CIA officers, who went on unpaid leave from the agency from 2004-2009, “participated in — and directed — ‘N.Y.P.D. investigations, operations, and surveillance activities directed at U.S. persons and non-U.S. persons.’ ” According to the Times, “He told the inspector general that he ‘did not consider himself an agency officer and believed he had “no limitations” as far as what he could or could not do.’ ”
The CIA says the relationship stayed on the right side of the law, if just barely. But Buckley wrote in his report’s cover letter that the relationship posed “considerable and multifaceted” risks for the agency. The NYPD doesn’t have an inspector general to carry out a report of its own. But with a bill to create such a post before the City Council at this very moment, that may soon change.