New York City's law department says police intelligence-gathering tactics in Muslim communities is legal.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

The city is responding to a civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday against its police department. The suit accuses the department of engaging in unconstitutional spying on innocent worshippers and asks a judge to halt the surveillance.

The law department claims that police have only collected what it called "on-the ground research," and that it's critical to combating terrorism. It calls the program legal and appropriate.

 

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