Saturday, March 31, 2012
The NY Times article mentions the book “Securing the City” in passing, which I’ve read. It’s about how NYC built its own global anti-terrorist effort following 9/11. The NYC effort is quite analogous to that of the French, but presents an even better point of comparison to our federal effort.
Like the French, NYC does a lot more with a lot less than the Feds. Post 9/11 we’ve created an inflated federal intelligence effort. I suspect it’s mostly a colossal waste of money, and a potential threat to our civil liberties.
e.g., The Feds have a difficult time finding the right kind of foreign language speakers. I know a guy who came out of the Army and went into State. I suspect he’s a pseudo-spook. At great expense, the Feds have been teaching him Arabic.
Compare: The NYPD Intelligence Unit recruits from the ranks of the NYPD. Out of 35,000 cops, several thousand already have basic fluency – collectively in almost any language you can name. Many of these folks have cousins with connections back in their native lands.
This is a broad statement: The Feds recruit “bubble boys.” The NYPD gets people with diverse real-life skills.
e.g., After the first World Trade bombing, an NYPD investigator used his skills as a former grease monkey to open the axle to the rented bomb-carrying van to get the hidden VIN number that almost no one knows is there. With the vehicle identified, the perps were arrested when they came to pick up their rental deposit.
There are more stories like this in “Securing the City.”
Now to one of the topics of the day, given Trayvon Martin: The NYPD racially profiles. Wantonly.
(1)E.g., The NYPD has been monitoring (and infiltrating) “centers of Islam” in places like Jersey City. They haven’t been doing it to synagogues.
(2)E.g., looking for guns, the NYPD “pats down” young men of color far more than it does Wall Street bankers.
When asked, NYPD Commissioner Kelly will shamelessly tell you that (1) is the most likely source of the next terrorist attack on NYC, and efforts like (2) are what have gotten guns off the street, making NYC the safest big city in the USA, and that the biggest beneficiaries of (2) have been young men of color who are now far less likely to get shot by other young men of color.
The NYPD has begrudging political support for these non-PC efforts from one of the most crazy-ass liberal constituencies in the USA. That’s because we know what’s at stake, having lived through the alternatives.
There’s also a metaphor in here about the need and place for federalism. Our federal government should only do a few things, hopefully well. Not just because the Constitution was written to say so.