Michael Bloomberg on Thursday defended his covert surveillance of New York City Muslims as mayor within the wake of 9/11 as he faces mounting criticism for the coverage.
Under Bloomberg’s backing, the NYPD spent not less than six years cataloging data on Muslim communities, surveilling Muslim-owned companies, mosques and different colleges and organizations linked to the religion — which advocates have described as racist and baseless non secular profiling.
But Bloomberg mentioned it was what authorities have been “alleged to do” following the fear assaults throughout an look on PBS Newshour.
“We had each intention of going each place we might legally to get as a lot data to guard this nation,” mentioned Bloomberg. “We had simply misplaced 3,000 individuals at 9/11. Of course, we’re supposed to try this.”
The program, which led to 2014, had police coordinating with authorities in far off cities like Buffalo and went as far as to ship an secret agent together with Muslim faculty college students on a whitewater rafting journey. The surveillance was subjected to a number of lawsuits, which resulted in a settlement cope with a courtroom by no means ruling it to be authorized.
Bloomberg careworn that he doesn’t consider “all Muslims are terrorists, or all terrorists are Muslim” and that he supported the Ground Zero mosque as a matter of freedom of faith.
“But the entire [9/11 terrorists] got here from the identical place — and all that got here have been from a spot that occurred to be one faith,” Bloomberg added. “And in the event that they’d been one other faith, we might have executed the identical factor.”
The billionaire appeared to downplay the extent of the surveilling, describing the NYPD as sending “some officers into some mosques “ to hearken to sermons from imams.
The program by no means resulted in an arrest or a result in a possible terror plot.
Mayor de Blasio on Thursday night time known as the surveillance “racist” and “counterproductive.” Hizzoner attacked the candidate in certainly one of his late-night anti-Bloomberg tweets whereas being stored awake by the remedy he’s taking for his knee surgical procedure
“As the one who ended [Bloomberg’s racist + counterproductive Muslim surveillance program,” de Blasio tweeted, “I’ll inform you what he gained’t: it truly made us LESS SAFE It bred resentment and mistrust, simply once we most wanted to convey our police and our Muslim group collectively. Failure.”