Retiring NY Police Chief Kelly Takes One Last Swing At The FBI -- And His Critics -- On His Way Out The Door

from the buh-bye dept

New York City Police Chief Ray Kelly is nearly nothing but history, but that hasn't stopped him from doing his best to secure his legacy before calling it a career. (And exiting with $1.5 million worth of personal bodyguards paid for by the city city's residents…)

In an interview with the New York Times, Kelly defended the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program, first stating that he was "polling well" and following that up with the usual defense that crime numbers had declined over the past decade. Of course, neither he nor his interviewer bothered to point out his tenure coincided with a period of steep decline in violent crime nationwide nor did they mention the fact that Judge Scheindlin, in her decision finding the program unconstitutional, stated basically that the ends don't justify the means. Crime numbers would probably drop further if the NYPD performed warrantless house-to-house searches, but that still wouldn't make it justifiable.

But Kelly went further than shrugging off criticism of the city's most notorious law enforcement program, targeting the FBI for its apparent inability to prevent domestic terrorist attacks.

The interview turns to 2002 and those post-attack days when Mr. Kelly returned to the commissioner’s office. One of Mr. Kelly’s professors at Harvard, Graham Allison, studied nuclear terror and released prospective blast maps for New York City.

Mr. Kelly did not need to see blast maps. He lived in Battery Park City, within sight of ground zero.

He smiled grimly. “It was gloom and doom,” he said. “Our prime lesson is that we couldn’t rely on the feds alone.” [...]

For his part, Mr. Kelly could not resist another jab at the F.B.I. and its failure to tell the Boston Police Department everything suspicious that it knew about one of the men who later bombed the Boston Marathon.

“We want information right away,” he says. “I think in retrospect the mayor in Boston and the police commissioner in Boston feel the same way based on what they knew or didn’t know relative to the Boston Marathon bombing.”
In a way, he's right. The failure of government agencies to share information on suspected terrorists failed to prevent the 9/11 attacks as well as contributed to the Boston bombers eluding detection until it was too late. (But our NSA provided "valuable" intel suggesting the Boston bombing was an isolated attack.)

But more troubling is the underlying assertion that the NYPD can do a better job on its own. Under Ray Kelly, the NYPD became known for its pervasive surveillance of Muslims and their places of worship. Thousands of reports were generated and hundreds of informants were deployed to infiltrate these communities. This is the NYPD's other shame -- widespread rights violations and little to nothing to chalk up in the "results" column.

Kelly employed a former CIA official to run this program who leveraged the post-9/11 attack climate of fear to convince a judge to strip civil liberties protections granted by a previous court decision (the "Handschu Agreement"). Using this weakened "agreement," the NYPD began placing Muslims under surveillance while they engaged in First Amendment-protected activity. The means used to acquire intel were so questionable, the CIA itself was unable to use anything the NYPD provided because the methods deployed violated several of the CIA's own rules. If the CIA find "evidence" collected by a local law enforcement agency unusable, there's obviously some serious flaws in the methods deployed to gather intelligence.

Kelly may have been frustrated by the lack of interagency sharing, but his decision to make the NYPD a law unto itself was the wrong response. And again, there's no indication that this widespread surveillance and infiltration prevented terrorist attacks. Kelly seems to feel the lack of terrorist attacks speaks for itself -- and justifies the ongoing civil liberties violations performed by his department.



Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Christopher Best (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 3:03pm

    "Declining Crime"

    While crime rates are declining Nationwide, the NYPD did have a special program that was apparently responsible for a noticeable drop in crime rates in NYC.

    No, it wasn't stop-and-frisk. They found a much simpler solution: Just don't accept crime reports.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 4:17pm

    Tim,

    I don't honestly know what's worse:
    "This is the NYPD's other shame -- widespread rights violations and little to nothing to chalk up in the "results" column."

    Meanwhile the FBI also uses widespread rights violations, but they support it through finding mentally deranged individuals and coercing them to make car bombs with water balloons.

    Almost makes me proud to be an American.... /s

     

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  3.  
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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 4:40pm

    Something something elephant gun

    Is essentially what Kelly's logic breaks down to.

    "Have there been any terrorist attacks in NYC since the NYPD started using all those invasive, civil liberty violating techniques?
    No?
    Then my actions were completely justified."

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 4:44pm

    Re: "Declining Crime"

    The declining crime rate trend is not limited to the US, it is worldwide. There are credible studies which point to the elimination of lead in gasoline as a major contributor to this. Interesting stuff.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 4:52pm

    I will be honest here and say that I have zero problems "infiltrating" suspected organizations even in a wide scale.

    Investigations about anything start in a wide area, but then they get narrowed quickly.

    Right now radical Muslims are the threat and where you can find them? unfortunately among the larger Muslim population which probably doesn't care that much about the same things the radicals do, it probably can be narrowed to Pakistanis, Indonesians, Syrians and some other ethnic groups a little further.

    Now the surprise, if this was all they did I would be all for it, because that meant they were after the problem it would be like an immune response where the number of white cells grows for a short period of time and then goes down again, why do nature do that when it is surrounded by things that want to harm it? because it has to save resources too, it is costly to keep large forces to combat every threat imagined or otherwise, it has deleterious effects to the global health of the system it undermines its very own existence and becomes a problem.

    So I see Mr. Kelly as a cancer, a white cell gone rogue that wants to perpetuate its existence without caring about what happens to everybody else that is forced to endure that crap for long.

    Still I do recognize the value on surveillance and operations that nab people who would do something bad if given a chance, I just don't agree with the levels of endurance and application of those things and probably law enforcement could use a lot of training in those areas to get it right, that shit of "I have you back bro, now go do whatever you want and bring me results" should end, that is not how it is done, unless you want a chaos and anarchy to flourish because that is what it will turn into.

     

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  6.  
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    weneedhelp - not signed in, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 6:23pm

    “We want information right away,” he says. “I think in retrospect the mayor in Boston and the police commissioner in Boston feel the same way based on what they knew or didn’t know relative to the Boston Marathon bombing.”
    -
    You mean they couldn't find the needle in the haystack? No... way.
    -
    They weren't even looking. Lets not kid ourselves here.

     

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  7.  
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    weneedhelp - not signed in, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 6:48pm

    Re: "Declining Crime"

    WOW!!! Thanks for the link. Crazy stuff up there in NY.

     

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  8.  
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    weneedhelp - not signed in, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:00pm

    Re: "Declining Crime"

    "Schoolcraft decided to give the tapes to the Voice out of frustration that his attempts to report questionable activities went largely ignored within the NYPD. Instead of the department acting on his complaints, he says, he was subjected to retaliation by precinct and borough superiors."
    -
    Gee and they tell us Snowden should have gone through "proper channels"... yeah, sure he should have. He was smarter than that.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:08pm

    O_o

    Some people say bodyguards I say enforcers.

     

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  10.  
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    lucidrenegade (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:17pm

    It's been nice not having OOTB around the last couple of days. Maybe the mothership finally came back for him on new year's day.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 1:49am

    I'll probably be arrested for making this, but fuck it I'll take one for the team. "Not that one... perv"

    http://imgur.com/kOqxMTm

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re: "Declining Crime"

    The economic recession in the last half decade was also a factor to. Surprisingly crime goes down in very bad economic times, there was a drop off in crime during the great depression to.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re: Re: "Declining Crime"

    Not disputing the issue, but it must be noted that the crimes which caused either the recession or the depression are not included in the reported crime rates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 5:19am

    Re:

    Yeah, lets concentrate on "those people", they're the baddies - let's borrow more money so we can go get 'em.

    Meanwhile, banksters are ripping us a new one and laughing in our faces telling us to suck it up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    DannyB (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 6:31am

    Polling Well

    I would be willing to bet that if you took a poll in the Southern US in 1850 that Slavery would be "polling well". Plus consider all of the economic benefits.

    Hey, I bet that getting rid of copyright and patent law would also be "polling well".

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 6:39am

    'Crime numbers would probably drop further if the NYPD performed warrantless house-to-house searches, but that still wouldn't make it justifiable.'

    that was to be the next step, but it is on hold atm, until they can find something to blackmail the new Chief of New York Police!

     

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  17.  
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    The Real Michael, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 6:54am

    "The failure of government agencies to share information on suspected terrorists failed to prevent the 9/11 attacks..."

    Still waiting for an explanation as to how the Twin Towers could disintegrate from jet fuel fire, how it burned underneath the rubble at around 2,000 degrees until sometime in December, how WTC7 collapsed at free-fall speed, how terrorists could perfectly target the Pentagon without hitting a single pole or tree, leaving a hole much smaller than the plane itself and no wing damage, etc.

    Call it what it is: a false-flag attack.

     

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  18.  
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    Prashanth (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 7:29am

    Broken windows versus lead

    Many new microeconomic empiricists/econometricists (sp?) have been able to identify causes and effects in policy changes a lot better than in the past. I wonder then: what was the relative impact of Rudy Giuliani's policies against crime (and any expansions under Michael Bloomberg) versus banning lead from gasoline, paint, et cetera? I know that pointing to the elimination of lead sounds a lot nicer than praising any one mayor, but for the sake of science, I really would like to know which it was (or if there was some other lesser-known cause for the crime drop).

     

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  19.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 9:18am

    Re: Something something elephant gun

    But he's wrong. The actual reason there's been no terrorist attacks in NYC is the magic rock I started keeping in my pocket.

     

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  20.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    Right now radical Muslims are the threat and where you can find them? unfortunately among the larger Muslim population


    I disagree that the threat solely lies with radical Muslims. You're forgetting about the greater number of terrorist attacks in the US that have been perpetrated by white Christian men.

    Regardless, even if radical Islam was the major point of concern, concentrating on the Muslim population is a security mistake. While security forces are distracted looking at Muslims, the terrorists would simply recruit people who aren't in that group at all.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Broken windows versus lead

    "I know that pointing to the elimination of lead sounds a lot nicer than praising any one mayor, but for the sake of science ..."

    1) Rudy Giuliani's policies against crime and any expansions under Michael Bloomberg are limited to New York City. They would not have an impact upon cities elesewhere.

    2) The drop in crime is a worldwide trend, not isolate to NYC alone. The data from cities worldwide shows similar trending downward.

    3) You should read the studies

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    ryuugami, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 7:45pm

    Re: Re: Something something elephant gun

    But he's wrong. The actual reason there's been no terrorist attacks in NYC is the magic rock I started keeping in my pocket.

    If it also repels tigers, I'd like to buy it. Name your price.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Pat, Jan 9th, 2014 @ 6:25am

    Government Transparency

    Considering that government employees and public elected officials are, or used to be mere members of us, i.e., citizens of our communities like those next door, it is increasingly clear that once hied by government, become a part of an overseer, feudal based hierarchy that elevates them, in their own minds, as anything but mere citizens like the rest of us, but with a distinct job to do. Lack of transparency reflects these feudalistic realities, and hence, every tell all by retired personnel helps to reinforce, or dispel these views - for the health and oversight by fellow citizens in what Americans still pretend and profess as a democracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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