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New York Police Fight With U.S. On Surveillance

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An effort by the New York Police Department to get broader latitude to eavesdrop on terrorism suspects has run into sharp resistance from the Justice Department in a bitter struggle that has left the police commissioner and the attorney general accusing each other of putting the public at risk.

While the letters do not specifically identify the target of the eavesdropping requests, Mr. Mukasey said that the Police Department had sought authority in one of them to eavesdrop on “numerous communications facilities” without providing an adequate basis for their requests. Some officials who have been briefed on the cases said the requests, from the police Intelligence Division, were unusually broad, and included telephones in public places, like train or subway stations, rather than phones used by a specific individual.

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