1:42 pm Mar. 8, 2012
Reaction among elected officials to the surveillance programs of the New York Police Department, which targeted members of Muslim groups, have broken down roughly along regional lines. In New York, officials have either strongly defended it or they have more or less steered clear of it; New Jersey, where some of the surveillance has taken place, and where officials are conspicuously sensitive in general about perceived sleights from their bigger neighbor, officials from both parties, starting with Governor Chris Christie, have basically accused the NYPD of a massive overreach and told them to stay out.
Connecticut's governor, Democrat Dannel Malloy, weighed in yesterday. And what his position boils down to is: He doesn't see what the fuss is about.
"I'm comfortable with people examining public documents and attending public meetings," he said on NY1 last night, when asked about the NYPD activities in his state.
Malloy, who has worked as public prosecutor in Brooklyn, said privacy rights shouldn't be violated, but if the websites and meetings the police department watched were public, then they were fair game.
"You should not have the expectancy of privacy if you're doing something in the public," he said. "If you're holding a public meting and you're inviting the public, then don't act shocked and amazed that the public shows up and you may not know every member of the public."
But, he added, "You have to look at the expectancy for privacy as one of the measurements" to determine if the surveillance was legal.
"So," NY1 host Errol Louis asked, "you don't feel that you have to be notified about, say, looking at student organizations and what they're up to?"
Malloy said he wasn't at liberty to reveal everything he knows, but said he's "shared information with federal authorities and other state authorities on an ongoing basis" and "to pretend that that's not happening is just not correct."
The NYPD surveillance program has been documented in a series of stories by the Associated Press.