Listen above as WNYC's Amy Eddings interviews the AP reporter who broke the story, Matt Apuzzo, on All Things Considered.
A paid informant for the New York Police Department says he was under orders to "bait" Muslims into saying bad things.
He says he lived a double life, snapping pictures inside mosques and collecting the names of innocent people attending Islamic study groups.
Shamiur Rahman, a 19-year-old American of Bengali descent, tells The Associated Press that he regrets his work, which paid up to $1,000 a month. He says he spied on student groups and mosques. He showed the AP weeks of text messages and photographs with his NYPD contacts.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne didn't immediately return a request for comment. Browne has denied widespread police monitoring of mosques and student groups, saying the NYPD only follows leads. Rahman, however, says he spied on "everything and anyone."