After 9/11, the New York Police Department wanted to track down any and every potential terrorist in the city. To make it happen, the department established the "Demographics Unit" — a squad of undercover investigators known as "rakers" who would comb through local restaurants and hangouts to determine what type of clientele stopped by and what they were up to, reports New York Magazine. Eventually, the NYPD amassed a detailed catalog of many neighborhoods throughout the city, but there was one continuing problem: it never led to a single success story.
Instead, undercover officers ended up frequenting their favorite ethnic restaurants while the department picked up the bill, later making notes that weren't particularly helpful to an investigation. "This location is mostly frequented during the early afternoon hours when Albanians get together for a game of chess, backgammon, or just to have a conversation," one entry reportedly reads. In a detailed profile of the unit, New York Magazine notes that the program is still ongoing, and that its legality is now being drawn into question.