NEW YORK—New York authorities have long relied on the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign to help identify potential terrorist threats. But according to inside sources, the New York Police Department was not about to become entirely dependent on a voluntary force of self-absorbed yuppies and hipsters too distracted by their smartphones to drop a dime on their neighbors.
Instead, they have turned a more captive audience: immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries who have been locked up on minor charges and might agree to spy on their community in order to avoid further detention.
“We see it as a job creation initiative for our Muslim brothers who have fallen on hard times and wouldn’t mind eavesdropping in mosques and other community centers,” said Sgt. William Finley of the NYPD. “If we can get cooperative individuals out of lockup faster or make their parking violations go away, all the better.
“It’s great community outreach, any way you look at it,” added Finley.
Less than a month after announcing that they are getting out of the business of infiltrating Muslim communities with undercover officers, the NYPD has been implicated in an ongoing effort to scout out immigrants in the city’s jails, interrogate their religion and habits, and ask for help spying on fellow Muslims.
The NYPD continues to claim that the “conversations” are a voluntary and effective means to identify useful informants. “We were looking for people who could provide visibility into the world of terrorism,” said Deputy Commissioner John Miller. “You don’t get information without talking to people.”
Still, Finley encouraged Muslims interested in contributing to the effort not to apply to the department directly but to “simply commit a petty theft or jaywalk.” The members of the so-called Citywide Debriefing Team “will do their best to find you.”