WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- New York City Police have observed Iranian operatives photographing key transportation sites at least six times since Sept. 11, 2001, an official said.
Speaking before the House Homeland Security Committee Wednesday, Michael Silber, director of New York Police Department Intelligence Analysis, itemized the incidents and said, "We struggle to categorize them as anything other than hostile reconnaissance of New York City," the New York Daily News reported.
He gave an example of six men on an East River sightseeing cruise in 2005, who paired off with maps and cellphones while taking photographs and videos of the bridges over the river. The NYPD determined each was on the payroll of Iranian government, one employed at Iran's mission to the United Nations.
In each of six cases identified at the hearing, chaired by Rep. Peter King, D-N.Y., the individuals were released and the police shared information with federal officials, Silber said.
Neither the U.S. State Department nor the Justice Department commented on whether any of the individuals was expelled from the United States, the Daily News said Thursday.