House Democrats Slam Bloomberg Over NYPD Muslim Spying Program

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credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — House Democrats are criticizing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for what they called his “underhanded and unprofessional” response to criticism of the New York Police Department’s spying programs.

The Associated Press has reported that the NYPD spied on Muslims neighborhoods, using informants and undercover officers in mosques and businesses in New York and New Jersey. Police documented details of sermons, even when they were innocuous, and infiltrated Muslim college groups. NYPD officers catalogued where Muslims ate and prayed and targeted Mosques using techniques typically reserved for criminal investigations.

In a March 22 letter to Bloomberg, the lawmakers called for an end to what they said was the NYPD’s out-of-state spying. Lawmakers say they’re troubled by the tactics.

Millions of dollars in White House money from both the Obama and Bush administrations helped pay for the surveillance programs.

Bloomberg says the NYPD’s actions are legal.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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