One way the New York Police Department is trying to deflect blame for this whole Muslim spying story: Tattling on their colleagues in New Jersey.
NYPD spokesperson Paul Browne took the time yesterday evening to hold a press conference and announce Newark officials were fully aware of the extent of the NYPD's surveillance of Muslims across the state border, something his counterparts in New Jersey have denied. "Newark police officials were aware and were briefed before and afterwards, and a Newark police liaison accompanied NYPD personnel," Browne said according to The New York Post. So now even the political shooting star Cory Booker, Newark's mayor, who's said he didn't know of the "blanket investigation of individuals based on nothing but their religion," has been roped into this whole Islamophobic spying fiasco.
Even if the investigation had a stamp of approval from Newark police, it doesn't make NYPD any less culpable for carrying out the ugly spying. According to the latest field report from the Associated Press, which has been doggedly covering this story, the NYPD targeted "Muslim mosques with tactics normally reserved for criminal organizations," including "collecting the license plates of worshippers, monitoring them on surveillance cameras and cataloging sermons through a network of informants." New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, likely sensing public opinion turning against the NYPD, called the department's actions "constitutional" during his weekly radio address today. Not that something being merely "constitutional" makes it the right thing to do.