They are culled from thousands of Police Academy recruits because of their Middle Eastern or Asian descent, their fluency in foreign languages, and life experiences, including military service.
They are sworn in - in a secret ceremony - and their families and friends don't know they are NYPD.
They view the risky job of undercover not as spying on fellow Muslims but as their duty to weed out terrorists in New York City.
The young police officer credited with making the case against two New Jersey men nabbed on their way to Somalia to wage violent jihad is the latest example of the department's use of a special cadre of undercover officers to observe - and infiltrate - extremist groups in the Muslim community.
The officer is of Egyptian descent, in his mid 20s and he's been with the department since 2005. Officials would offer no other details.
These officers are cloaked in secrecy because of the sensitive nature of their work.
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