Ray Kelly Vs. Minimal Oversight


In the AP’s first report on the NYPD’s CIA-on-the-Hudson, they quoted City Councilmen Peter Vallone reassuring that his private conversations with Ray Kelly were adequate oversight.

“Ray Kelly briefs me privately on certain subjects that should not be discussed in public,” said City Councilman Peter Vallone. “We’ve discussed in person how they investigate certain groups they suspect have terrorist sympathizers or have terrorist suspects.”

A month and a half of damning new revelations later, Vallone is not so sure.

Peter Vallone, the chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said the council doesn’t have the power to subpoena the NYPD for its intelligence records. And even if it did, he said the operations are too sophisticated for city officials to effectively oversee. More oversight is likely needed, he said, perhaps from the federal government.

“That portion of the police department’s work should probably be looked at by a federal monitor,” he said after Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly testified Thursday at City Hall.

But Kelly–whose cops are being filmed on an increasingly frequent basis beating and pepper spraying peaceful protestors–likes it just fine with no oversight.

Kelly told council members that the department’s internal accountability was rigorous and ensured that civil rights were being protected. And he said everything the department does is in line with court rules, known as the Handschu guidelines, that limit how and why police can collect intelligence before there’s evidence of a crime.

“The value we place on privacy rights and other constitutional protections is part of what motivates the work of counterterrorism,” he said. “It would be counterproductive in the extreme if we violated those freedoms in the course of our work to defend New York.”


“The AP stories make it hard to believe we’re getting the balance right,” said Brad Lander, a Brooklyn councilman.

“That’s your opinion,” Kelly said. “We’re following the Handschu guidelines.”

With regard to Kelly’s racial profiling program (as opposed to the overreaction to Occupy Wall Street), it’s not actually clear who, with City Council abdicating their oversight role, can perform that oversight. The AP notes that the Obama Administration and Congress aren’t in a rush to exercise oversight over the CIA-on-the-Hudson either.

Which is precisely how Ray Kelly gets away with doing what he’s doing.

24 replies
  1. rugger9 says:

    The City Council must be held accountable, they can certainly fire Kelly, they pay him, they set up the administrative code he’s flouting, and the only reason Vallone’s waffling on this is that the PTBs want their police state. It helps keep the costs down in the PRC.

  2. Nox Ninox says:

    Ray Kelly is doing a bangup job. Without his thuggish instigation tactics, the #OWS movement would never have grown to the size it has become.

    Keep those videos coming Ray!

  3. Jim White says:

    And again, the violence mostly comes from the white-shirted higher-ups in NYPD. Aside from “little night stick guy” (who only threatened but isn’t filmed being violent) I don’t recall seeing a video with blue shirts as the violent instigators.

  4. dakine01 says:

    So, did Ray Kelly get his initial police training in the Chicago PD circa 1968? Augmented, of course, by the FBI courses from anytime in the JEH era.

  5. Kathleen says:

    After the first Vietnam protest police soon dressed in heavier gear. The first anti invssion of Iraq protest the crowds were so peaceful (well a few folks with black hoods over their heads smashing a few windows) and of course the MSM barely reported about the hundreds of thousands of working class Americans who were lobbying, protesting, some being arrested. The Anti invasion of Iraq marches the D.C. Police were covered in heavy riot gear from head to toe. Had to be 5000.oo dollars of gear on each police officer Monsanto chhchiing

    Who knows if things would have been different if MSNBC etc had actually interviewed WWII, Korean, etc Vets who were out on the streets against invading Iraq. Who knows if those at home had seen the hundreds of thousands out protesting the invasion in the fall of 2002 and winter of 2003 if the crowds would have surged beyond what they were. In DC in Oct 2002 there were 20 – 30 thousand. New York 2003 at least one hundred thousand. The MSM barely peeped

    But the MSM is sure covering “occupy Wall Street” protest. Clearly the common threads amongst the protesters are JUSTICE and ACCOUNTABILITY demands. In regard to jobs, wages, fat cats getting away with socializing their losses, unnecessary wars etc etc. JUSTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY. Most of us have heard all during our lifetimes from parents, teachers, religious leaders, Reps, our Presidents etc that “no one is above the law” Folks are starting to demand SHOW US.

    Just wondering when the 1% will start showing up. Chapters of the Center for the Preservation of Dynastic Wealth. The heirs and heiresses may unite even more than they have. Come out on the streets with signs “It’s a class war and we’re winning”…. “Billionaires for unlimited Inheritance” …”Leave my money that I made off of paying minimum wages alone”…”Tax the mainland not our islands”….”Widen the Income Gap”…”Save the 1%”
    The 1% must be feeling picked on

  6. BoxTurtle says:

    The idiot really is doing us a favor. His heavy handed tactics are burning up youtube.

    I posted this link Across The Street earlier.

    Marines to defend protestors.

    Boxturtle (Go ahead, Ray. Mace the marine with the two purple hearts. It’ll be on youtube before you know it)

  7. Nox Ninox says:

    @Jim White

    I don’t recall seeing a video with blue shirts as the violent instigators.

    I can’t seem to find the post now, but just after the initial Tony Bologna pepper spray videos I remember a tweet going around that said 100 patrolmen from the police union had signed and delivered a petition in support of the protests.

    I’m wondering whether there has since been some unpublicized agreement with the union about specific roles played by the blue shirts and the white shirts which would explain the blue shirts’ apparent lack of violent conduct.

  8. Don Bacon says:

    It’s interesting and entirely predictable that the US policy of eternal war on the whole world results in domestic repression, even using the “terrorist” rationale in this case, with the added plea that “more oversight is likely needed, he said, perhaps from the federal government.”
    This connection between foreign military imperialism and domestic repression was laid out and explained by Randolph Bourne in his “War Is the Health of the State” almost a hundred years ago.

  9. William Ockham says:

    Totally OT, but I know a few folks around here like to stay up on the Pentagon and its IT woes. Wired has the story of how our main drone air base in Nevada got hit with a virus infection.

    The punch line is that the base was an exception to the “no thumb drives” policy until they got hit with the virus. Unfortunately, Noah Shachtman does tell us why the base was an exception. I would love to know what the justification for that policy.

  10. emptywheel says:

    @Nox Ninox: The guy who said he was going to beat up some protesters with “his little night stick” was a blue shirt.

    Otherwise, yeah, the violence seems to be coming from the white shirts.

    Maybe all you need for promotion in the NYPD is a “little night stick” and a propensity for violence.

  11. emptywheel says:

    @William Ockham: Elsewhere (I’ve noted it–I believe it was congressional testimony) they’ve said the exceptions to the rule are where we have to share w/partners (eg, Iraq and Afghanistan!) and places where we need to share intell w/weapons platforms.

    So I assume you “load” targeting data via thumb drive.

    Does that mean they won’t do it via sat comm (perhaps because of the hacks the Iraqis pulled of)?

  12. Timbo says:

    Basically, did Chris Christie’s office work with the NYPD intelligence unit at all? This would be what Cointelpro looked like 40 years ago…

  13. William Ockham says:

    @emptywheel: Either the story just changed or I can’t read very well (which is the more likely scenario).

    Here’s what it says:

    Predator and Reaper crews use removable hard drives to load map updates and transport mission videos from one computer to another

    That’s bad IT security procedure.

  14. Jim White says:

    @William Ockham: I remember seeing that part when I read it right after Dangerroom tweeted the story. I know it’s been mentioned before, but the other part of this story that hits me hard is the fact that the video broadcast from the drones isn’t encrypted and is easily received by folks on the ground. That’s been known for some time now and it appears there’s been no effort to rectify the situation. I thought encryption software was pretty straightforward…

  15. William Ockham says:

    @Jim White: They are supposed have drones with encryption capability in the field now. They really just overlooked the threat originally. The DoD has real trouble anticipating the actions of a particular type of person or organization, the real-life MacGyver type. The DoD should really spend some time on YouTube watching all the crazy stuff that the DIY folks come up with.

  16. Nox Ninox says:

    @ew: The guy who said he was going to beat up some protesters with “his little night stick” was a blue shirt.

    Yeah well..there are always a few bad apples…;-).
    Maybe he’s got the Sergent’s exam coming up next month.

    Tactically though, it does appear from this and other videos that the Blue Shirts mostly function in a support role (setting perimeters, sitting on downed protesters, etc.) while the White Shirts initiate and sustain much of the real violence.

    This is different from what you see in say, Greece, where you get the more traditional Roman legion look – grunts in the shields face front and the officers behind.

    As the protest continue to grow and the NYPD becomes more and more overwhelmed (I mean just look at that that video. It’s already like Custer’s Last Stand, just with cameras instead of bows and arrows), it will be interesting to see whether the cops’ union will go along with a more ‘robust’ use of Blue Shirt labor.

    That decision could have a singular impact on the direction this protest takes.

  17. host says:

    Text of email message sent yesterday to [email protected] and to [email protected] :

    Wed. 5 October, 2011 WSB radio broadcast of Dave Ramsey’s hate speech and violent threat

    Dear Executives of Booksamillion,

    In just a few hours, your Sugarloaf Duluth, GA store is scheduled to host a 6:00 pm book signing event by media personality and book author, Dave Ramsey.

    Listening to Mr. Ramsey’s broadcast on WSB radion AM 750 last night, at about 11:06 pm, after Mr. Ramsey declared that socialism was thievery, and “in Tennessee,
    we shoot thieves,” or with very similar words of the same, clear meaning, I made a point to contact you to ask why you would permit a person widely disseminating such
    a disturbing message, inside your stores to meet your customers and promote his book?

    I can accept, after listening occassionally to WSB radio, that it is the intent of Cox Media Group to regularly program such politically extreme propaganda, and it seems in this instance, a complaint to the FCC is the appropriate response if a satisfactory explanaton from Cox Media is not forthcoming, but what could be the benefit for Booksamillion’s association with Mr. Ramsey?

    I checked the audio file of Mr. Ramsey’s October 5 radio show, and it seems the reference to “shooting”, which I heard at about the 2:00 hour point in the audio file, was removed, but I assure you, it was broadcast by WSB as descrbed above. Here is another sample of Mr. Ramsey’s statements during that broadcast.:

    http://www.daveramsey.com/radio/home/ (and @ sig … Oct. 5 air date)

    (Mr. Ramsey began his show with a similar rant about the unwashed Wall Street protestors, and the way they smell. Oddly and deceptively, Dave Ramsey’s call-in radio show is advertised as offering household finance advice from a “financial guru,” with Christian “values”.)

    At the 1:30 mark in the audio file of Ramsey’s October 5 broadcast.:

    …” Now here’s an idea. Let’s form a drum line and not take a shower for about three days and put up a tent and protest. Oh, that’ll fix your life. I got an idea, “Occupy Wallstreet,” why don’t you go occupy a job? Why don’t you occupy the business end of a lawn mower, and take a bath? It’s disgusting! Seriously, take a bath! The smell, the stench down there right now. Why the New York City police have not put those little twerps in jail, is beyond me. I mean, they put about 700 of them; I guess they filled the jail wth them the other night, but you know, do it again, do it again, because that’s not what this country is made of. This country is not made of you have the right to overflow things because, YOU decided that you wanted to take other people’s stuff, that capitalism doesn’t work….

    …..Lucky! Gimme a break! You know, I just…some of these folks, you know, I, I, I, and there’s not as many of them as you would think, but there is enough of them that they’re spreading their poison around to where we’re going to be righteous with other people’s money and we’re gonna confiscate things from me like Tim (owner of Knoxville Wholesale Furniture) and women who have grown businesses like that, that, that it’s theirs. I don’t need Tim’s money and you don’t either, it’s not yours. If you want Tim’s money, you know what you are? You’re a thief! You’re a thief!….

    I would not be writing this if Dave Ramsey’s extremism had not included, later in the same broadcast, the outrageous, “…and in Tennessee, we shoot thieves.” I hope the executives responsible for the WSB broadcast will respond with the admission that Ramsey’s “we shoot thieves,” in reference to those who he disagrees with politically (socialists, as he labels them) was obviously inappropriate and troubling. Remarkably similar views about taxation as the “socialists” Ramsey demonizes, incites violence against, and threatens, ironically were embraced as political policy by republican presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Willam H. Taft, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

    Consider that Ramsey’s inflammatory politically motivated hate speech is being regularly broadcast on Cox Media affiliates in a time when both the recent economic studies of the Federal Reserve “SCF” and of the Levy Institute determined that the top quintile of U.S. households own all but 12.3 percent of privately held wealth.

    (bottom of page 32)

    “..it is possible to provide a partial update of the wealth figures to July 1, 2009 based on two notable developments….

    …Trends in inequality are also interesting…. The share of the top 1 percent advanced from 34.6 to 37.1 percent, that of the top 5 percent from 61.8 to 65 percent, and that of the top quintile from 85 to 87.7 percent, while that of the second quintile fell from 10.9 to 10 percent, that of the middle quintile from 4 to 3.1 percent, and that of the bottom two quintiles from 0.2 to -0.8 percent. ..the share of households with zero or negative net worth, from 18.6 to 24.1 percent.”

    Currents and Undercurrents: Changes in the Distribution of Wealth, 1989–2004 (a new triennial, SCF, Fed Reserve “Study of Conusmer Finances…will be released shortly after the election…sure to document, even further wealth concentration into the hands of the top ten percent.)

    January 30, 2006

    This paper considers changes in the distribution of the wealth of U.S. families over the 1989–2004 period using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF)…
    page 27

    …Ownership shares. For some assets, the distributions of the amounts held are far more disproportionate than the differences in ownership rates. MOST STRIKING is the 62.3 percent share of business assets OWNED BY THE WEALTHIEST 1 percent of the wealth distribution in 2004 (table 11a); the NEXT-WEALTHIEST 4 percent OWNED ANOTHER 22.4 percent of the total. Other key items subject to capital gains also show strong disproportions: THE WEALTHIEST 5 PERCENT OF FAMILIES OWNED 61.9 percent of residential real estate other than principal residences, 71.7 percent of nonresidential real estate, and 65.9 PERCENT OF DIRECTLY- AND INDIRECTLY HELD STOCKS. For bonds, 93.7 PERCENT OF THE TOTAL WERE HELD BY THIS GROUP….”

    Gentlemen, now you know, and the question is, will it be business as usual, or will you cease to associate yourselves with Dave Ramsey’s message?


  18. rosalind says:

    OT: A for effort to the Desert Snakes…T for Trash Talk may it appear ‘fore Sunday (fer land sakes).

  19. P J Evans says:

    Peter Vallone, the chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, said the council doesn’t have the power to subpoena the NYPD for its intelligence records. And even if it did, he said the operations are too sophisticated for city officials to effectively oversee.

    So the NYPD is out of control, and the city council can’t, or won’t, do anything about it.
    Why does NY even have a city council, if they can’t (or won’t) run their own city? (I believed LA has a bad set up, with its zillion departments, bureaus, and commissions, but at least its city council thinks it runs things.)

  20. bmaz says:



    Trash will be along soon, than you very much o restless native one! With F1. By the way, qualifying for the Japanese GP starts at 10:00pm PST.

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