ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state's highest court has ruled the New York Police Department can use a Cold War-era legal tactic to conceal whether it put two Muslim men under surveillance.

The Court of Appeal ruled Thursday that the NYPD was in its rights to decline acknowledging whether records existed pertaining to possible surveillance of a Manhattan imam and a former Rutgers University student.

The two men sought any records the NYPD had relating to surveillance or an investigation. The men sued the NYPD in lawsuits prompted by a series of Pulitzer Prize-winning stories by The Associated Press on NYPD surveillance of Muslim groups.

The court split 4-3 in ruling that the NYPD properly invoked what's known as a Glomar response by neither confirming nor denying whether the records existed.