Given the deeply-intertwined relationship of the CIA and the New York Police Department, it just makes sense that the CIA would need to periodically remind its personnel that the NYPD isn’t the sort of intelligence agency they can share US persons information with.

[T]he law limits sharing of collected information about American citizens, resident aliens and other “US persons.” As one question on the quiz highlights, the CIA cannot share such information outside the intelligence community. It’s important, then, to know which agencies are within the fold.

The National Security Agency, Coast Guard and Department of Energy qualify as “IC elements”, the latter two via their intelligence arms. As a local police force, the NYPD does not make the cut.

This comes from a CIA quiz obtained by the ACLU as part of an FOIA lawsuit. That the CIA would single out the NYPD on its test is significant. The NYPD likes to believe it’s an intelligence agency on par with the FBI and CIA. Despite having zero reason to do so, the NYPD sends its officers all over the world to gather intelligence after terrorist attacks. No one has ever asked the NYPD to do this, but it continues to invite itself to various ground zeroes, where it is usually greeted with a mixture of befuddlement and anger.

The CIA, however, remains inextricably (and perhaps, willfully) entangled with the Little Intelligence Agency That Isn’t. Two former CIA employees were instrumental in setting up its “Demographics Group,” which engaged in pervasive surveillance of New York City Muslims. The privacy and civil liberties violations this group engaged in made the “intelligence” gleaned so toxic not even the FBI would touch it.

The CIA also expressed concerns about the gathered data — not so much out of concern for violated rights, but because the data gathering seemed to be its own end. A senior CIA official discussed partaking in the NPYD’s gathered info, but stated that the only thing “impressive” about the collection was its size, not its usefulness.

A 2011 CIA Inspector General report found that the uselessness of the data didn’t stop at least one CIA employee from exploiting gaps in CIA policy to view “unfiltered” Demographics Group intelligence even though the collection contained “no clear foreign intelligence relevance.”

Most likely due to relationships with the two former CIA employees heading the NYPD’s Demographics Group, the CIA has made the most of its lax policies in order to work directly with this particular local law enforcement entity.

Since 2002, the CIA has assigned four officers to provide “direct assistance” to the NYPD. Their titles and duties ranged from “Special Representative to the NYPD” to training analyst on counterterrorism. An NYPD detective also received operational training at the CIA.

The undated test is likely part of CIA rule changes as a result of the IG report. What little is left unredacted deals with legal authorities related to domestic surveillance, in addition to pointing out which domestic entities the CIA can lawfully share its intelligence with. The NYPD isn’t one of them, no matter how much it believes its proximity to ground zero gives it the right to rub elbows with the intelligence community’s big boys.


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