The NYPD this week turned over an audio recording of a call between a confused New Jersey building superintendent and a 911 dispatcher, in which the caller reports discovering an apartment empty except for surveillance equipment. The room turned out to be a safe house for New York police officers spying on New Jersey’s Muslims.
The spying was revealed in a February 2012 report by The Associated Press.
The discovery of the setup and the release of the call shine a new light on the NYPD’s questionable monitoring of New Jersey’s Muslims. Listen to the call below.
The caller, Salil Sheth, had stumbled upon one of the NYPD’s biggest secrets: a safe house, a place where undercover officers working well outside the department’s jurisdiction could lie low and coordinate surveillance. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the NYPD, with training and guidance from the CIA, has monitored the activities of Muslims in New York and far beyond. Detectives infiltrated mosques, eavesdropped in cafes and kept tabs on Muslim student groups, including at Rutgers.
The NYPD kept files on innocent sermons, recorded the names of political organizers in police documents and built databases of where Muslims lived and shopped, even where they were likely to gather to watch sports. Out-of-state operations, like the one in New Brunswick, were one aspect of this larger intelligence-gathering effort. The Associated Press previously described the discovery of the NYPD inside the New Jersey apartment, but police now have released the tape of the 911 call and other materials after a legal fight.