The Associated Press reports that the New York Police Department’s controversial program to monitor Muslim neighborhoods and organizations was funded, at least in part, by White House grants meant to pay for the drug war. The money was given to the NYPD through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, which was established years ago to fight gangs and drug trafficking. After September 11, 2001, however, local authorities were permitted to redirect some of that money to fight terrorism. The HIDTA has given out around $2.3 billion over the last 10 years, with about $135 million given to officials in the New York/New Jersey metro area.
Both the drug war and the war on terror are largely about authoritarianism — giving the government more power over the people as opposed to giving people more power over the government — and thus their funding is jealously protected by those in power.
Perhaps this incident will help give the HIDTA another black eye. HIDTA is responsible for many of the most outrageous drug war stunts we’ve seen (particularly through drug task forces).