NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A man who says he was a paid informant working for the NYPD claimed Tuesday that he was ordered to spy on the innocent, and make them issue incriminating statements.
As CBS 2's Dana Tyler reported, Shamiur Rahman, 19, said he was speaking out because New Yorkers need to know something is wrong with the War on Terror.
"You know something bad is happening," Rahman said. "How can you be quiet?"
Rahman was quiet no more Tuesday. But from January until earlier this month, he said as an NYPD informant, he was under orders to frame Muslims by urging them to make damaging statements.
"He would go, how do you say, 'make them say it' – certain words like jihad, or revolution, or like violence, anything regarding violence – anything that could be easily picked up and put on file as demeaning to someone's character," Rahman said.
At one assignment, Rahman said he was dispatched to an event at John Jay College, where a speech was delivered by a controversial New York imam.
"They had me watch specific people, you know, follow them around, like, no matter where they were going," he said.
The Queens-born Rahman was recruited by the NYPD after being arrested on misdemeanor drug charges. He said he and other informants were routinely told to lie to get information.
"We were all told by our bosses to pretend to be something we're not," he said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would not comment specifically on Rahman's claims. But he said using confidential informants is a long-standing crime-fighting technique.
"We're using confidential informants the way law enforcement has always used confidential informants," Kelly said. "We're going to continue to use them. They're a vital part of our crime-fighting and counter-terrorism efforts."
Kelly cited informants' importance in key cases – most recently, the arrest last week of Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, the man charged with attempting to bomb the Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told 1010 WINS that Rahman is a person who worked as an informant, but "did not work out" and quit. Browne also added that the NYPD has successfully used informants to foil several terrorist attacks and make arrests.
John Jay College Professor Eugene O'Donnell said using paid informants like Rahman is acceptable, but risky.
"You have to be careful always to answer the potential question that may arise, which is, 'Are you getting this information in exchange for the case, or is this information really valid truthful and useful?'" O'Donnell said.
Rahman said many informants he knew were in it for the money, but for him, that was not enough.
"For me, at one point, I realized like, forget the money. It's not worth it," he said. "I feel like I'm helping something that is completely messed up."
Rahman said none of his work ever resulted in arrests.
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