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AP account of police spying on Muslims shares investigative Pulitzer

Four staffers at the Associated Press shared a 2012 Pulitzer Prize on Monday for exposing the New York Police Department's clandestine spying that monitored daily life of Muslim communities. The Pulitzer board at Columbia University in New York said the AP series resulted in "congressional calls for a federal investigation, and a debate over the proper role of domestic intelligence gathering." The journalists are Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Eileen Sullivan and Chris Hawley. The AP is a non-profit news cooperative owned by U.S. newspapers.

The Seattle Times also was honored in the investigative reporting category for articles showing "how a little-known governmental body in Washington State moved vulnerable patients from safer pain-control medication to methadone, a cheaper but more dangerous drug, coverage that prompted statewide health warnings." The journalists are Michael J. Berens and Ken Armstrong. You can read that series here.

Highlights of the AP investigation are here. A summary:

Domestic spying
"AP's investigation has revealed that the NYPD dispatched undercover officers into minority neighborhoods as part of a human mapping program. Police also used informants, known as "mosque crawlers," to monitor sermons, even when there was no evidence of wrongdoing. The articles showed that police systemically listened in on sermons, hung out at cafes and other public places, infiltrated colleges and photographed law-abiding residents as part of a broad effort to prevent terrorist attacks.

"Individuals and groups were monitored even when there was no evidence they were linked to terrorism.


"The AP also determined that police subjected entire neighborhoods to surveillance and scrutiny, often because of the ethnicity of the residents, not because of any accusations of crimes. Hundreds of mosques and Muslim student groups were investigated and dozens were infiltrated. Many of these operations were built with help from the CIA, which is prohibited from spying on Americans but was instrumental in transforming the NYPD's intelligence unit after 9/11."

Reporter Apuzo describes the reporting on the series in a podcast for Pro Publica, the nonprofit investigative news organization. You can listen to the podcast here.

More winners
The winners in journalism, letters and the arts are listed at the Pulitzer Prizes site at Columbia University, and nominated finalists who did not win are listed separately.

The Huffington Post news website won its first Pulitzer Prize, for national reporting, for articles describing wounds suffered by American veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan. The series is called "Beyond the Battlefield."