The King/Schumer Christie/Booker Smackdown

I confess I’m enjoying the spat developing between New York and New Jersey’s top politicians over the NYPD’s spying on New Jersey Muslims. First Christie dared to call Kelly arrogant.

“He’s Ray Kelly, so what’re you gonna do? I mean, he’s all-knowing, all-seeing,” Christie said.

“And I don’t know all the details yet, but my concern is, you know, why can’t you be, you know, communicating with the people here in New Jersey, with law enforcement here in New Jersey. Are we somehow not trustworthy?” said Christie.

[snip]

“This is New York Police Department. I know they think their jurisdiction is the world. Their jurisdiction is New York City. So if they’re going to leave their jurisdiction and go to investigate a case in another jurisdiction, it could be dangerous,” Christie said. “This is the way law enforcement people get hurt or killed, is when they’re not cooperating with each other, not communicating with each other.”

“I’m not saying they don’t belong in New Jersey, but tell us! Share it with the appropriate law enforcement agency,” Christie said. “My concern is this kind of obsession that the NYPD seems to have that they’re the masters of the universe.”

Then there’s the spectacle of King defending Ray Kelly as if the latter is a shrinking violet, with neither access to the press nor taste for a fight himself.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Gov. Chris Christie crossed a line when he mocked Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as “all-knowing, all-seeing” and said the NYPD’s intelligence operation in Newark may have been “born out of arrogance.”

[snip]

“I just found it a real disappointment the way he was conducting himself, the way he was taking cheap shots at Ray Kelly,” King said.

Sure, aside from Booker, who seems genuinely concerned either with his actual constituents or appearing that way, this is a giant pissing contest between men defending their turf.

Part of me wonders why most of these men have reacted so strongly. Christie, after all, must have close ties to Newark’s FBI officers from his time as US Attorney. That seems to be what this dig is about:

“His main objection seems to be that he wasn’t … brought in. But the fact is that he wasn’t governor. He was U.S. attorney. And I’m not aware of any major terror plots that he ever uncovered while he was U.S. attorney in New Jersey.”

(King forgets, of course, that the NYPD didn’t find any of the major terrorist attacks since 9/11–street vendors and the FBI did.)

Part of me wonders whether Kelly, channeling J. Edgar Hoover as he increasingly seems to be doing, has some dirt on King and Schumer to make cow them like this.

But the real sick part of my personality can’t help but visualize this ending in a giant wrestling match pitting King and Schumer against Christie and Booker. In fact, I’m even thinking of taking bets.

Sorry about the abundance of brain bleach posts this morning folks–it must be the weather.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

4 replies
  1. allan says:

    some dirt on King and Schumer

    I don’t know about King, but Schumer is doing this for love, not money blackmail.
    What AIPAC wants, AIPAC gets.

    Now, if NYPD had been targeting upstate white water rafting retreats of TBTF banks,
    that would be another matter.

  2. joanneleon says:

    Well as you might know, I think it’s all kabuki. I think Christie and Booker are reacting strongly because it makes them look really, really bad and because Booker has been trying to improve relations with the Muslim community in Newark. Christie is concerned about his authoritarian image. They’ve probably been getting a lot of flak.

    Christie talked tough, but did he really say anything that bad about Kelly? Christie has to have a good relationship with NYPD. NJ State troopers drive him everywhere, including to Manhattan when he does his frequent appearances on morning news shows. Does Kelly care if NYPD is called “all seeing, all knowing” or “masters of the universe”? I think he’d like it. Don’t forget how they’ve been viewed and treated since 9/11. And since OWS I think it’s become clear that Bloomberg is a honey badger. He doesn’t give a shit.

    From Wikipedia, it looks like there are only 4,339 people in the whole NJ State Police agency. Newark PD’s web site says they have 2,000+ officers. Jersey City might have a similar amount. Wiki says that Philadelphia PD has 6,646. Compare all of those to NYPD’s force numbers of around 35,000.

    And to me, having lived in NJ almost all my life, most of it in the Phila. metro but also in the NY metro for part of my life, this all sounds like the usual sparring between NJ and NYC. People call NYC “the city” as if it is the only city in the world and of course the best city in the world. New Jerseyans are second class citizens and complain about but accept it. We’re minor league.

    It sounds a whole lot like the back and forth I’ve heard all my life. Nobody pays much attention to it in the end and nothing changes. It will all blow over. Half (or more) of the people in North Jersey feel like NYC is their city too. There are fuzzy lines between NYC and North Jersey, and Phila. and South Jersey, in people’s minds though yes, I thought they were a lot more clear when it comes to law enforcement.

    Christie and Booker are just saving face. Bloomberg and Kelly are so arrogant, hear this kind of thing all the time and don’t care as long as Christie and Booker don’t go too far. I don’t think that one thing will change except maybe the NJ legislature might tweak some laws. Bloomberg and Kelly will swat them off like gnats.

    One thing I do find very interesting is that it seems to me that this marks the end of an era. Ten years ago I don’t think anyone would have made a big fuss about this. But the 9/11 era is over, I think, and law enforcement has to adjust to that.

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