NYPD’s Fearmongers Are Arguing It’s More Useful to Spy on 2nd Graders than Disrupt Real Plots

Chuck Schumer, the NYDN, and the NYPost keep up their attacks on the AP’s exposure of the NYPD’s spying program. Increasingly, NYPD’s fearmongers are getting cornered on the question of efficacy.

Schumer, rarely a courageous man, made full use of the passive when he tried to claim everyone knew the spying program makes NY safer.

There is nothing wrong with the NYPD collecting and assessing publicly available information from New York, New Jersey, the other 48 states or around the world in the effort to prevent another terror attack like 9/11. In fact, it is widely understood that the NYPD’s actions have kept us safer. Looking at public information and following leads is perfectly acceptable as long as any one group, in its entirety, is not targeted based only on its religious or ethnic affiliation. [my emphasis]

Nevermind that the NYPD uses techniques–like informants and permanent cameras–that aren’t exactly available to the public. Nevermind that Schumer’s backing himself into a corner with his new caveat that profiling is okay so long as not the entire ethnic group is profiled (though arguably, they are).

Schumer proves unable to say, in the affirmative, that he knows this makes NY safer. And he ought to consider that question seriously.

More offensive is the NYPost’s insinuation that the AP is just in this for a Pulitzer.

Columbia is also where they keep the Pulitzers in the off-season; American journalism’s most treasured self-affirmation program is more or less run from the university’s J-school. Since the awards are soon to be presented, and since the AP’s lust for one is almost comically transparent, its show-the-flag campus visit is wholly unsurprising.


Strip away the emotive rhetoric and what’s left is a series of stories over several weeks that show pretty clearly that the NYPD works very hard to keep the city safe — operating an aggressive and imaginative program, but staying well within both the law and the bounds of post-9/11 propriety from beginning to end.

Perspective matters.

At least twice in the decade before the NYPD program began, Islamist sleeper agents attacked New York City. The first time, six people died; the second, thousands.

Since then, the department has disrupted a number of Islamist-initiated plots; there is no way of telling how many more were never undertaken because the city is so aggressively anti-terrorist. And there have been no terror-related fatalities since 9/11.

That could change tomorrow — presumably the AP’s Pulitzer prospects would tail off sharply if it did — but that would prove only that there are no guarantees in counterterrorism.

Here, the NYPost is just flat out wrong–or should be.

If there were a terrorist attack tomorrow, the inevitable commission would finally give the NYPD spying program the scrutiny it needs, scrutiny which the AP has tried to offer. And that commission will discover that the NYPD has spent its time spying on girls’ and grade schools, hunting out Muslims at Jewish businesses, scamming whitewater rafting trips off of taxpayers.

Sure, such efforts have led to hyped busts of folks it took 31 months for the NYPD to coach how to drill holes into a pipe. Such busts only discredit Mayor Bloomberg, Ray Kelly, and ultimately everyone defending this program.

What those efforts didn’t find were the real terrorist attacks. They didn’t find Najibullah Zazi and they didn’t find Faisal Shahzad–even though both were right under their nose. Read more

Is NYPD Avoiding “Terrorism” Charges in New Years Day Bombings To Claim They Didn’t Miss a Terrorist Attack?

The NYPD has caught the suspect in the New Years Day firebombings in Queens. The suspect, Ray Lazier Lengend, will be arraigned today (though he is also being evaluated for fitness to stand trial). Lengend will be charged with 18 counts, among them one charge of hate crime (for the attack on the mosque), as well as arson and weapons possession charges.

He will not be charged with terrorism.

Now, several of his attacks were targeted at specific individuals: his brother-in-law, Bejai Rai, who evicted him for not paying rent, and the bodega, for busting him for trying to steal a Frappuccino last week. The cops think the Hindu target was actually a case of a mistaken address.

But according to his confession, his primary target was the mosque (against which he also had a grudge, because they once refused to let him use their restroom) and his primary motive was to inflict as much damage on Muslims and Arabs as possible.

The unhinged Queens pyromaniac who unleashed a scary New Year’s Day firebombing spree had planned to take out “as many Muslims and Arabs as possible” by lobbing Molotov cocktails at worshipers inside a mosque, prosecutors said.

Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, allegedly told cops he had planned to inflict “as much damage as possible” by hurling all five of his firebombs from the balcony of Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center onto the crowd below.

Now, given past history, we can be fairly sure that if the NYPD had entrapped Lengend themselves making such threats against, say, a synagogue, they’d have called him, and charged him, as a terrorist. In May, after entrapping Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh (Ferhani, like Lengend, is mentally unstable) by selling them guns, the NYPD charged them as terrorists. Like Lengend, Ferhani and Mamdouh used ethnic slurs against their target.

Ferhani and Mamdouh were arrested May 11 on charges that they wanted to strike a synagogue to avenge what they saw as mistreatment of Muslims around the world. An undercover officer who investigated them reported that Ferhani wanted to become a martyr. The officer said secret recordings caught the men calling Jews “rats” and other names.

Back in May, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne suggested the decision to charge Ferhani and Mamdouh as terrorists was obvious.

Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne rejected the Federal critique and said “When somebody acquires weapons  and plans to bomb the largest synagogue in Manhattan he can find, what do you call it, mischief?”

Eight months ago, two guys in Queens seek weapons and plan to bomb the largest synagogue in the city, they’re called terrorists. Today, a guy in Queens makes bombs and actually does attack the most prominent Shiite mosque in the city, that’s called a hate crime.

Mind you, I’m not sure either of these should be called terrorism. But I do think the NYPD should maintain some consistency about whether bombing a house of worship is terrorism or a hate crime.

Now, I actually don’t think the NYPD has chosen to call plots they concoct through entrapment terrorism, while calling this a hate crime out of any explicit prejudice. Rather, I think they’re doing it for crime stats.

By charging Lengend–someone with a criminal history, so they’ve known about him for years–with a bias crime rather than terrorism, they can sustain their boastful claims about how successful they’ve been at “preventing” “terrorism.” If they actually did charge Lengend as a terrorist, they’d have to admit that, in spite of his criminal history, they hadn’t discovered his plans to commit terrorism. They’d have to admit they’re misallocating the $330 million annually they’re spending to profile Muslims. They’d have to admit that seeking out terrorists among certain religious groups doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find the “terrorists” (as they NYPD has defined them) out there.

They’d rather engage in a blatant double standard, it seems, then admit their domestic spying operation failed.