A New York City Police Department initiative to combat terrorism has drawn criticism from a Muslim group.
An Associated Press story published Wednesday after a months-long investigation detailed the NYPD's efforts to uncover terrorist plots in the city.
New York is the only U.S. city that al Qaeda has successfully attacked twice and continues to be the target of terror plots.
The police department used undercover agents, known as "rakers," in Muslim communities to look for signs of suspicious activity.
The AP also reported other undercover agents known as "mosque crawlers" attended mosques to listen for jihadist rhetoric. The agents also monitored daily life in specific neighborhoods.
The Council on American Islamic Relations has called the program un-American and unconstitutional.
"These revelations send the message to American Muslims that they are being viewed as a suspect community and that their constitutional rights may be violated with impunity," CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.
"The Justice Department must initiate an immediate investigation of the civil rights implications of this spy program and the legality of its links to the CIA," he added.
However, the NYPD said its agents are not actively spying on Muslim neighborhoods but only following up on leads.
Five years ago, the police department hired Sidique Wai, an African immigrant and member of the New York Muslim community, to coordinate the NYPD's citywide community outreach program.
Wai said the interaction and outreach between the community and police is unprecedented.
"The majority of the faith-based - particularly the Muslim leaders throughout the city - are absolutely appreciative of the unprecedented relationship with the police department," Wai said. "I'm not aware of a deliberate effort on the part of NYPD to profile people."