The White House is distancing itself from a sweeping New York Police Department surveillance program of American Muslims that reportedly includes spying on entire neighborhoods and infiltrating Muslim student groups at area universities.
"This is not an administration program or a White House program; this is the New York Police Department," spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing.
The Associated Press reported Tuesday that the NYPD program relied in part on assets paid for by federal funds granted to the department through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, known as HIDTA.
Carney told reporters that the White House does not have a position on how the money was spent, but he took pains to distance the administration from the NYPD program.
"I would simply point you to the concerted efforts that this administration has made in reaching out to the Muslim community; the fact that we make very clear that we consider Muslim Americans partners in the effort to combat, you know, radical extremism. I think we've made that clear again and again, and that continues to be our position," he said.