February 9, 2013

Brennan praised NYPD's spying on Muslims

Huffington Post, April 2012 - President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism adviser praised the New York Police Department's work Friday, saying the agency has struck an appropriate balance between keeping people safe and protecting their rights.

"It's not a trade-off between our security and our freedoms and our rights as citizens," John Brennan said Friday in an appearance at NYPD headquarters. "I believe that that balance that we strike has been an appropriate one. We want to make sure that we're able to optimize our security at the same time we optimize those freedoms that we hold and cherish so deeply."

The comments from the top counterterrorism official in the White House follow months of debate over an NYPD domestic intelligence operation that placed Muslim businesses, mosques and student groups under surveillance.

Brennan's comments represent a White House stamp of approval of the NYPD's tactics. For months, the Obama administration has sidestepped questions about the NYPD surveillance programs while insisting on the importance of building partnerships with American Muslims.

...More than 30 members of Congress demanded a federal investigation, and Attorney General Eric Holder said he was disturbed by reports about the operations. The Justice Department said Friday it was continuing to review complaints received from Muslims and their supporters.

...."I have full confidence that the NYPD is doing things consistent with the law, and it's something that again has been responsible for keeping this city safe over the past decade," Brennan said, adding that "the Muslim community here is part of the solution to the terrorist threat, and they need to be part of that effort, and that dialogue needs to continue."

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