During an interview with Yahoo News, presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said if elected he will boost the surveillance grid to fight Islamic terrorism.
Trump said, “security is going to rule” under his administration.
“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before,” he responded when asked if he would permit the use of warrantless searches at the expense of the Fourth Amendment.
“And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we’re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago.”
He was then asked if heightened surveillance would require the registration of Muslims in a database and mandate special identification.
“We’re going to have to—we’re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. We’re going to have to look at the mosques. We’re going to have to look very, very carefully.”
Trump also praised former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, the architect of New York’s Muslim surveillance program.
Under Kelly the NYPD Intelligence Division conducted a suspicionless surveillance program of Muslims throughout New York City and every mosque within 100 miles of New York. The program extended to Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey, and other states.
The program had the characteristics of an advanced police state—mapping of Muslim communities, photo and video surveillance, police informants, police “rakers” (ethnic cops who blended in Muslim communities), the widespread tracking of individuals and intelligence databases of the sort Trump endorsed.
Muslims sued the NYPD over the program. In October the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals found the Muslim plaintiffs raised sufficient allegations of equal-protection violations and reversed a decision made last year by a judge to dismiss the case.
Others have gone further than Trump in calling for draconian measures aimed at Muslims. For instance, David Bowers, a Democrat mayor in Virginia.
“I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from ISIS now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then,” Bowers said.