As an American and a New Yorker, I have just two words for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the New York Police Department, which he leads: Thank you.
Gratitude towards Kelly and the NYPD is surprisingly rare these days, especially regarding the enormous success that Gotham’s cops have enjoyed in preventing America’s largest city from enduring Islamic terrorism in the years since al-Qaeda’s mass murder on September 11, 2001. Rather than salute the NYPD for averting hundreds or even thousands more deaths, critics slam the law-enforcement professionals who successfully have guarded one of the War on Terror’s most active fronts.
“The FBI considers the NYPD’s intelligence gathering practices since 9/11 not only a waste of money but a violation of Americans’ rights, “Newsmax’s chief Washington correspondent, Ronald Kessler, reveals in his new book, The Secrets of the FBI, published Tuesday. “The NYPD has been sending undercover operatives to political meetings,” one FBI official complains to Kessler. “We are not engaging in that kind of aimless intelligence gathering on mosques or political meetings without a predication that terrorist activities might be involved.”
The FBI’s jealousy and turf-mindedness aside, it often is tough to develop “predication” without “aimless intelligence gathering.”
Last May, Congressman Rush Holt (D., N.J.) sponsored an amendment to condemn law-enforcement agencies that practice religious, racial, or ethnic profiling. As the New York Post noted, Holt also demanded that the Justice Department investigate “a pattern of surveillance and infiltration by the New York Police Department against innocent American Muslims in the absence of a valid investigative reason.”
This liberal attack on the NYPD’s counterterrorism activities was defeated 193 to 232 on a mainly party-line vote, with Democrats largely supportive and Republicans opposed.
Similarly, the Associated Press this April won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for highlighting “the New York Police Department’s clandestine spying program that monitored daily life in Muslim communities.” Responding in the June Commentary, however, Mitchell D. Silber — the NYPD’s former director of intelligence analysis — argues that these AP articles are “rife with inaccuracies” and “confuse events and policies in ways that are misleading and cast the tale they are telling in the worst possible light.”
As an American and a New Yorker, I have just two words for detractors of Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD: Back off.
The NYPD’s foes ignore two pivotal realities:
First, Kelly and the NYPD have broken no laws.
Since 1985, the NYPD has operated under the Handschu Guidelines. These rules shield political protesters from overzealous cops. Post 9/11, the NYPD asked a federal court to modify Handschu, given the need to battle terrorism. The court eventually agreed, and now the NYPD follows Handschu, as amended.