In a post on his Facebook wall last night, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. slammed Attorney General Eric Holder for weighing in on the controversy over the NYPD’s widespread surveillance of the Muslim community. Mr. Vallone cited Mr. Holder’s role in the “Fast and Furious” scandal where the ATF lost guns used in a sting operation and said the attorney general has no business criticizing the NYPD.
“just heard AG Holder is ‘concerned’ about the NYPD . really? you’re concerned about surveillance that anyone with a computer and a car could do but apparently unconcerned that you ‘lost’ 2000 firearms to drug dealers and terrorists to use against the NYPD???,” Mr. Vallone wrote.
On Thursday, Mr. Holder said he was disturbed by reports the NYPD spied on Muslims in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Officials in New Jersey have expressed dismay they were unaware of the NYPD’s investigations in that state. Mr. Holder made his comments on the NYPD’s Muslim surveillance program during a subcommittee hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee when Democratic New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg asked how a law enforcement agency could investigate residents of another state without notifying local authorities. Mr. Holder said the Justice Department is “in the process of reviewing the letters that have come in expressing concerns about those matters.”
“At least what I’ve read publicly, and again, just what I’ve read in the newspapers, is disturbing,” Mr. Holder said. “And these are things that are under review at the Justice Department.
Mr. Vallone’s invocation of Fast and Furious is further evidence of the Queens Councilman’s uniquely conservative position within his party. The Fast and Furious investigation is a favored topic of right wing politicos, but it’s rare to see the scandal referenced by a New York Democrat like Mr. Vallone.