The New York Police Department has secretly been labeling entire mosques as terrorism organizations, the Associated Press reports.
That designation lets police use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, without having specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Anyone attending prayer services is subject to investigation and surveillance, the AP reports.
The NYPD has opened at least a dozen "terrorism enterprise investigations," a tool used to help investigate terrorist cells, into mosques since the 9-11 attacks, the report says.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the department acts within the law.
"We have an agreement that has been authorized by a federal judge," Kelly said on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Mediaite reports. "We follow that stipulation to the letter, and it authorizes us to do a whole series of things. Certainly investigations are part of it. We follow leads wherever they take us. We're not intimidated as to where that lead takes us."