Politics & Policy

The Man Who Keeps New York Safe

NYPD chief Ray Kelly is a bulwark against Islamic terror.


That word best describes New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly. In an increasingly juvenile nation, Kelly’s granite temperament can be a tad daunting. But if you knew what Kelly knows, you might not smile much, either.

“The threat of terrorism is as great, if not greater, today than it was before the World Trade Center was destroyed,” Kelly recently said. “Do not think for a second that al-Qaeda and those who share its ideology have forgotten about New York,” he continued. “Images of the World Trade Center and scenes of the City are regularly displayed on jihadist websites and al-Qaeda publications. Its propagandists call on followers in the United States to take up the battle at home and use bombs, guns, and poison to indiscriminately kill.”

In a breakfast speech at the New York Hilton that made last Monday tougher than most, Kelly told the Association for a Better New York and the Council on Foreign Relations that America’s financial and media capital remains militant Islam’s target of choice.

“In the mind of al-Qaeda and its acolytes, New York is the symbol of all they hate about America and the West,” Kelly added. “In just the past ten months there have been several plots with a nexus to New York City.”

• Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 23, arrived from Bangladesh on a student visa. He conspired to blast Manhattan’s Federal Reserve Bank last October. On August 9, he received a 30-year prison sentence.

• Raess Alam Qazi and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, two Pakistani-born brothers, were nabbed in Florida last November 29 after plotting to detonate theaters and restaurants in Times Square.

• NYPD undercover efforts prompted the arrest of Justin Kaliebe, 18, as he boarded a jet for Yemen, allegedly to join Ansar al-Sharia, a.k.a. al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Kelly observed, “There’s little doubt that his handlers would have sent him back here to their number-one target, New York City.”

• An unnamed, Iranian-trained al-Qaeda agent met a conspirator here. Among other objectives, they planned to attack a train between New York and Canada. So much for the myth that Sunni al-Qaeda and Shiite Iran will not cooperate to kill Americans.

• Just days after allegedly bombing the Boston Marathon last April, killing three people and wounding 264, the Tsarnaev brothers drove towards Manhattan with pipe bombs and explosive pressure cookers. Had their hostage not escaped, Kelly explained, “They would have arrived in Midtown in time to launch a devastating attack at the morning rush hour.”

“Again,” Kelly emphasized, “these all are events in the last ten months.”

Kelly has led the NYPD into becoming what Heritage Foundation national-security scholar Cully Stimson calls “the best city police department in terms of counterterrorism in the USA.”

After 9/11, Kelly boosted his personnel on the FBI’s Joint Counterterrorism Task Force from 17 to 120. The NYPD has become a mini-CIA. Senior officers are stationed in eleven cities overseas and cooperate with local cops. These New Yorkers “visit the scenes of terrorist attacks and gather real-time information that guides the NYPD’s operations at home,” Kelly noted.

The NYPD benefits from the diverse ethno-linguistic ingredients that simmer within the quintessential melting pot that is America’s premier metropolis.

“We have hundreds of speakers of Arabic, Urdu, Pashto, Farsi, Russian, Mandarin, and other important languages,” Kelly remarked. “Police departments from across the country have come to study our programs. After the bombings at the Boston Marathon, we hosted a group of 20 law-enforcement officials from Boston for a week, who came here to learn what they could do to better protect their city.”

Critics claim that the NYPD profiles Muslims. However, as long as militant Islam kills Americans, the NYPD’s surveillance of potential Islamic suspects is no more anti-Muslim than sending organized-crime specialists into Little Italy is anti-Italian.

Kelly outlined his department’s outreach to local Muslims.

“We hold an annual pre-Ramadan gathering with more than 500 religious and community leaders,” Kelly said. “We sponsor youth soccer and cricket leagues whose members are predominantly young Muslim men. We assign a direct liaison to the Muslim community and train all of our officers in the diverse cultural and religious traditions of the faith. We have a Muslim police officers’ society with more than 300 members and a Muslim Advisory Council made up of prominent community leaders.”

“Our enemies are smart, patient, and committed,” Kelly commented. “In addition to the recent cases I mentioned, since 9/11 there have been plots to blow up the Herald Square subway station; to attack synagogues in the Bronx and Manhattan; to detonate the fuel lines that run under John F. Kennedy airport; to conduct suicide bombings on three rush-hour subway lines; to explode a car bomb in the middle of Times Square; and to attack post-office buildings and returning U.S. troops with pipe bombs, just to name a few. . . . What we can’t count are the additional plots that did not take place as a consequence of our vigilance.”

New York City has survived at least 16 terror conspiracies since 9/11.

“The terrorist threat to the United States is as dangerous as ever,” Kelly concluded. “New York remains squarely in the crosshairs of global terrorism. This is a time for vigilance, not complacency.”

Against this terrifying backdrop, meanwhile, the Oval Office’s current occupant shabbily contorts himself to hoist his shoe bottom atop the presidential desk while standing and chatting on the phone. (Who does this?) He fled the Situation Room during the bin Laden raid to play cards. After addressing America on August 31 about striking Syria, Obama raced from the Rose Garden to his 141st presidential golf outing. His serpentine mismanagement of the Syrian fiasco boasts the twists and turns of a sidewinder, but none of its bite. Meanwhile, this farce’s soundtrack features Russia’s Vladimir Putin strumming Obama like a balalaika.

Obama makes it easy to forget the phrase “adult supervision.” To rediscover it instantly, however, look to New York’s top cop, Ray Kelly.

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. Murdock is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a contributor to National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.


The Latest