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Any review or explication of surveillance in New York City necessarily focuses on the history of criminal, political, and terrorism-related investigations undertaken by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). As one of the United States’ oldest municipal police agencies, as the nation’s largest municipal police agency, and as the primary law enforcement agency in the nation’s largest and most diverse city, the NYPD has a rich history of involvement in surveillance activities and has had a fairly robust intelligence-gathering and analysis capability for well over a century.

The length and richness of that history are attributable in part to the sheer number and variety of the investigations the NYPD has undertaken over the years and in part to the controversial nature of some investigations ...

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