An Associated Press investigative team revealed in an article Thursday ways that, sometime around 2003 or 2004, part of the New York Police Department transformed from being a public security service that solved murders and muggings to a mini domestic intelligence agency that targeted the Moroccan Muslim community.

Secret documents from what police had dubbed “The Moroccan Initiative” showed that some NYPD officers were recording and compiling as much information as they could about the city’s 9,000-person Moroccan community, down to the most minute details, even on leads that had no clear criminal component. Police said the initiative was meant to help the city be prepared should it ever receive a specific tip about a Moroccan terrorist.

The AP said it is unclear exactly when the initiative started, but that officials said it began in response to suicide bombings in 2003 that killed 45 people in Casablanca and a 2004 train bombing in Madrid that was linked to Moroccan terrorists. And it is equally unclear whether the initiative continues today in any variation of its original form. –BF

The Associated Press on Yahoo News:

The New York Police Department put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because of their ethnicity, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The documents describe in extraordinary detail a secret program intended to catalog life inside Muslim neighborhoods as people immigrated, got jobs, became citizens and started businesses. The documents undercut the NYPD’s claim that its officers only follow leads when investigating terrorism.

It started with one group, Moroccans, but the documents show police intended to build intelligence files on other ethnicities.

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