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Bloomberg defends NYPD probe on Muslim student groups

Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Credit: Getty Images

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the NYPD and struck back at Yale University Tuesday following a report that police monitored the websites of Muslim student associations.

The Associated Press reported Monday that the NYPD watched over websites of 16 Northeast colleges, including Yale and NYU.

Yale President Richard Levin condemned the police's actions in a letter, writing that "surveillance based on religion, nationality, or peacefully expressed political opinions is antithetical to the values" of Yale and the U.S.

But Bloomberg, at an unrelated news conference, said the NYPD's work helps thwart terrorism.

"I don't know why keeping the country safe is antithetical to the values of Yale," the mayor said.

The AP also reported that an undercover agent went on a white water rafting trip with Muslim students from the City College of New York in 2008, even recording how often they prayed.

Bloomberg said he didn't think such surveillance was overboard, adding, "It's very cute to go and blame everybody and say we should stay away from anything that smacks of intelligence gathering."

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