Donald Trump urged to launch post-9/11 style ‘warrantless surveillance’ of Muslims

Rep Steve King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, is a chief proponent of the measure which was found to be likely illegal in a recent report

Rachael Revesz
New York
Thursday 15 December 2016 22:57 GMT
Mr King told reporters that he is not worried about 'political correctness'
Mr King told reporters that he is not worried about 'political correctness' (Getty)

Donald Trump was urged in a meeting to launch a large-scale, surveillance program of Muslims that was similar to those in New York after the 9/11 attacks and that was found to be likely illegal.

New York’s Seaford Representative Peter King, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, met Mr Trump in Manhattan and encouraged the same warrantless surveillance that was adopted and then scrapped by the NYPD.

"The main issues I discussed were what we have to do to have the Justice Department and the FBI be more leaning-forward when it comes to investigating Islamic terrorism," he told reporters at Trump Tower after the 45-minute meeting with the president-elect.

"I suggested a program similar to what Commissioner Kelly did here in New York, and that we can’t worry about political correctness," he added, as reported by Newsday.

Mr King did not say how Mr Trump had reacted.

The American Civil Liberties Union along with other groups have called the proposal discriminatory and unjustified.

The inspector general for the NYPD found in a report, published 23 August 2016, that the surveillance program adopted post-9/11 repeatedly broke rules on intelligence gathering.

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But after an 18-year-old Somali student at Ohio State University sent 11 people to hospital last month and was shot dead by police, Mr King called for increased surveillance of the Somali community.

His proposal is not far from what the president-elect has already suggested, including making Muslims sign a "registry" and temporarily banning them from entering the US.

His allies would likely agree with Mr King. Former house speaker and Trump ally Newt Gingrich also suggested deporting any Muslims who abide by Shariah law.

Mr Trump’s incoming defense secretary, retired general Michael Flynn, has described Islam as a "cancer" and that fear of Muslims was "rational".

Mr King was accompanied to Trump Tower by Suffolk County Republican chairman John Jay LaValle, and both men stumped for Mr Trump and acted as his surrogate on television interviews.

Surveying Mr King's twitter account, a good proportion of his tweets in recent months were focused on terrorism, shootings and murders.

He has called the New York Times a "biased, out of touch, liberal rag".

Mr King disagreed with black athlete Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of police violence while his team sang the national anthem, calling it "wrong".

He also pointed to the so-called "hypocrisy and false narrative" of Black Lives Matter, a national movement which exposed police brutality against people of colour.

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