What is also astonishing is the geographic range of the NYPD's actions in the name of intelligence and counterterrorism. Undercover police officers have been conducting surveillance, with CIA help, of both U.S.-born and foreign Muslims in Connecticut, New Jersey and upstate New York. Their authority to do so outside their city raises a question of jurisdiction.
Another objectionable aspect is the terminology used by police. Officers carrying out such duties are called "rakers" or "mosque crawlers." Imagine the public reaction if police were church or synagogue "crawlers."
There is also the question of the NYPD's assistance from the CIA. The federal intelligence agency is forbidden by law to direct various forms of espionage, including wiretaps and surveillance, against U.S. citizens although there has been some erosion of that prohibition since 9/11 due to the Patriot Act. Keeping this prohibition is important, since other law enforcement bodies, such as the FBI, already have that responsibility.
Since 9/11 New York City has been considered a special case in regard to counterterrorism programs, since its citizens were the principal victims of the 2001 attacks. Even prior, law and order there has always been a high priority for the city administration.
At the same time, none of these "special" aspects can serve as a justification for gross abuse of citizens' civil rights or a basis for New York police to run loose across the East Coast far beyond the city.
President George W. Bush had it right when he declared that Muslim Americans are important allies of all Americans in preventing future 9/11-type attacks. New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has no right to make it otherwise.