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NYCLU Calls For Federal Probe Of NYPD's Use Of White House Funds

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The New York Civil Liberties Union wants federal officials to investigate the use of White House grants for police spying on Muslims.

LISTEN: WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reports


The Associated Press reports the NYPD used some federal drug fighting funds to help pay for surveillance of mosques and Muslim businesses.

"We are deeply concerned that federal resources may have been used and spying information stored in violation of federal regulations that protect Americans' privacy and constitutional rights against law enforcement overreach," Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, said on the organization's website. "It's not just Mayor Bloomberg who needs to investigate the NYPD's improper activities, it's now the federal government as well."

Since 9/11, the Bush and Obama administrations have provided $135 million to fight drug crimes. The White House says it has no control over how those grants are used.

On Monday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly defended the department's use of federal drug fighting funds for the NYPD's surveillance program and says they have no plans to stop.

"Not everybody is going to be happy," he said. "Our primary mission, our primary goal is to keep this city safe and save lives."

Kelly said they've arrested 44 suspected terrorists accused of building bombs to target sites across the city.

But Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU, calls it disturbing.

"There may very well be Constitutional violations," she said.

Civil rights groups are also asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to launch an investigation, but Cuomo says he sees no reason to second-guess the NYPD's methods.

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