Millions of dollars in White House money has helped to fund New York Police Department programs that placed entire American Muslim neighborhoods under constant surveillance, The Associated Press reported.
According to the news outlet, the money is part of a little-known grant that was initially intended to help law enforcement combat drug crimes. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the President Barack Obama and Former President George W. Bush Administrations have provided $135 million to the New York and New Jersey region.
The AP reported that part of this funding was redirected to help pay for the NYPD's wholesale surveillance of places where Muslims eat, work, shop and pray.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger reported that this surveillance was initially done in 2005 with the permission of then-Governor Richard Codey, according to the State's records. The NYPD was given open-ended authority to operate in New Jersey in limited circumstances.
According to the newspaper, a letter was filed by several lawmakers in the State of New Jersey to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, calling for a probe of the surveillance.
"I am deeply concerned by reports that the NYPD’s law enforcement efforts focused on individuals who were not suspected of any criminal activity," wrote Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Representative Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.). "While I strongly support credible efforts to prevent terrorism, I have grave concerns about any program that targets communities with no credible law enforcement intelligence."