The move by New York City’s new police commissioner to disband a unit that spied in Muslim areas could be just the first step in a dismantling of some of the huge post-9/11 intelligence-gathering machinery built by his predecessor.
Among other anti-terror programs that are getting a hard look from Commissioner William Bratton is a unit that stations NYPD officers in foreign cities such as London, Paris, Tel Aviv and Amman. Also under review are the protocols for when and how to conduct surveillance in the hunt for terrorists.
Bratton, who has been in office for three months, was appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, a liberal Democrat, and given a sweeping mandate to ease tensions between the department and the city’s minorities.
Bratton’s predecessor Ray Kelly and then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg had defended what has become the nation’s largest intelligence-gathering outside the federal government, saying the lack of any major attack are proof it is working.
Under Bratton, the department concluded that the information could be better gathered through direct contact with community groups, officials said.