CNN hires fmr NYPD chief who denied Muslim surveillance programme
US Muslim groups have raised concerns about CNN's appointment of a former New York Police Department official accused of lying about the police force's close surveillance of Muslims.
John Miller, who served as the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner until the end of July, will now work as CNN's chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst.
“John will help deliver on CNN’s commitment to tackle complex issues while presenting audiences with independent, objective news and meaningful analysis across platforms,” CNN chief Chris Licht said in a press release on Tuesday. “As both a brilliant journalist and experienced, compelling subject matter expert, he brings to the network an incredible breadth of knowledge.”
In March, Miller gave a testimony to New York City Council denying that the NYPD had ever inappropriately spied on Muslims, despite the department's acknowledgement of its surveillance activities following the 9/11 attacks.
Milelr's testimony was slammed by Muslim community groups, as well as New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who said at the time: “What we did was wrong.”
A 2011 report by the Associated Press revealed that the NYPD spied on US Muslims in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut using census data and by placing informants in communities. The police department's spies took pictures and videos of worshippers at mosques, hung out as shisha bars and noted details of conversations with community members, among other surveillance activities.
The NYPD has acknowledged its surveillance of Muslims through at least three lawsuit settlements, and also admitted that no leads to terror plots were uncovered through the spying.
New York City Council's only Muslim member, Shahana Hanif, told HuffPost that Miller's appointment was "just another reminder of just how Muslims in our city are treated".
“I hope that CNN is watching the kind of backlash and the response to this hiring, and they should take very seriously the voices of the Muslim community because we are viewers too. We too want objective news,” she added.
Muslim Advocates, a legal group involved in a 2018 lawsuit against the NYPD, slammed his hiring as a "sick joke".
“We have no faith that as chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst at CNN, Miller won’t continue to propagandize on behalf of law enforcement and dismiss clear discrimination against Muslims and other marginalized communities,” senior policy counsel Sumayyah Waheed said in a statement quoted by the New York Post.
The New Arab contacted CNN for comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication.