Muslim groups slammed CNN’s decision to hire a former top cop at the NYPD to serve as its chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst — calling it a “cruel joke” because of his role in the police surveillance program after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Chris Licht, the new chairman and CEO of CNN, announced on Tuesday that the cable network would be bringing on former NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller — the young executive’s first big hire at the Warner Bros. Discovery-owned outfit since succeeding the departed Jeff Zucker.
“John will help deliver on CNN’s commitment to tackle complex issues while presenting audiences with independent, objective news and meaningful analysis across platforms,” Licht said in a press release Tuesday.
“As both a brilliant journalist and experienced, compelling subject matter expert, he brings to the network an incredible breadth of knowledge.”
Miller, who stepped down as the NYPD’s top intelligence and counterterrorism officer in June, told the City Council earlier this year that the department never engaged in illegal surveillance of Muslim Americans after 9/11.
Miller’s testimony enraged local Muslims and was condemned by New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the retired NYPD captain, who said: “What we did was wrong.”
The NYPD settled three lawsuits over its surveillance program, the existence of which was first revealed by the Associated Press.
The news agency, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for its reporting on the program, learned that the NYPD used census data to spy on Muslim Americans in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
NYPD officials deployed undercover agents to mosques, hookah bars and Muslim-owned businesses. They also took photographs of license plates and secretly recorded videos, according to the AP.
The NYPD acknowledged that the surveillance program did not net any terrorism-related arrests or uncover any plots.
Shahana Hanif, the only Muslim City Council member, told HuffPost that CNN should not have hired Miller.
“For him to be able to take on a position that will give him a broader impact to an outlet that many of us trust is just another reminder of just how Muslims in our city are treated,” Hanif said.
“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.”
Muslim Advocates, a group involved in a lawsuit that was settled in 2018, said CNN’s hiring of Miller was a “cruel 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.
Licht was given a mandate by his bosses at Warner Bros. Discovery to boost ratings at the struggling network by de-emphasizing political commentary and focusing instead on hard news.
With Post wires