Monday, August 20, 2007

NYPD's Homegrown Hysteria

By Nat Parry
August 20, 2007

An influential report by two New York Police Department counterterrorism analysts crosses a dangerous threshold in recasting the “war on terror” as primarily a struggle that requires increased domestic surveillance and pre-emptive action against American Muslims who might become “homegrown terrorists” by visiting Internet sites.

Written by Mitchell Silber and Arvin Bhatt, the Aug. 15 report recommends increased police attention “to identify, pre-empt and thus prevent homegrown terrorist attacks.” The report was promptly hailed in the U.S. news media. (Newsweek called it “insightful.”)

What makes the report troubling to civil libertarians, however, is that it lowers the bar for fighting terrorism to simply the possibility that some domestic Muslims might be influenced by jihadist Web sites, and it applies lax standards to target Americans of a specific religious faith as prospective terrorists.

Read on.

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