A building superintendent for an apartment complex just off the Rugers University campus called the New Brunswick Police 911 line to inform them that he had discovered suspicious activity. In performing an inspection that is required he entered an apartment that he believed has suspicious activity going on in it. In fact, he thought it might be an apartment that a terrorist cell was using.
The superintendent, Salil Sheth, had not stumbled upon a terrorist’s apartment, but rather a safe house where undercover NYPD officers working outside their department’s jurisdiction, they were in New Jersey, could lie low and be involved in surveillance.
According to the 911 call that took place in June 2009, which the AP recently obtained after requesting, being denied and finally suing to obtain, the superintendent defined what he saw as suspicious to the dispatcher. “Suspicious in the sense that the apartment has about — has no furniture except two beds, has no clothing, has New York City Police Department radios.”
“There’s computer hardware, software, you know, just laying around,” the caller continued.
NYPD claims that it’s detectives can basically go investigate wherever they want and don’t have to notify the state about any of it. Gov. Chris Christie and members of Congress has criticized the NYPD for such out-of-state activities. New Jersey isn’t the only state they’ve been in photgraphing mosques and muslims, but also monitoring internet postings. They’ve been as far away as Louisiana to conduct these spy operations.
The apartment was rented by an undercover NYPD officer who used a fake name and he continues to use the same false alias today. While heads of the NYPD claimed that releasing the tape would put the officers and the building in danger, it seems they should have considered that and notified authorities in the state that they were conducting their investigation in to avoid all of this.
Sheth not only found computers and software, along with the radios, but he also told the dispatcher, “There’s pictures of terrorists. There’s pictures of our neighboring building that they have.” In particular he was referring to the Matrix building. “There’s pictures of terrorists. There’s literature on the Muslim religion.”
Now how Sheth knew these were pictures of terrorists is not known. Either it was stated on the photographs or he was familiar with the photos via some other media.
While Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa both say that there is no state laws that have been violated, it has raised a cry from Muslim groups, so much so that the NYPD had to shut down the program.
Civil rights lawyers have also appealed to a federal judge in the matter to determine if spying violates federal rules that were established in the 1950s to prevent abuse by the NYPD when “Red Squads” were spying on student and activists in search of communists.
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