Friday, July 19, 2013

So you think Ray Kelly should head up the Department of Homeland Security?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Well, whether you do or don't, you should read Conor Friedersdorf's excellent piece at The Atlantic, "Prominent Democrats Are Now Comfortable With Racial and Ethnic Profiling," which includes:

Under Ray Kelly, the NYPD infiltrated Muslim communities and spied on hundreds or perhaps thousands of totally innocent Americans at mosques, colleges, and elsewhere. Officers "put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because of their ethnicity," AP reported, citing NYPD documents. Informants were paid to bait Muslims into making inflammatory statements. The NYPD even conducted surveillance on Muslim Americans outside its jurisdiction, drawing a rebuke from an FBI field office, where a top official charged that "the department's surveillance of Muslims in the state has hindered investigations and created 'additional risks' in counterterrorism."

Moreover, "In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques," the Associated Press reported, "the New York Police Department's secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation." The horrifying effects on innocent Americans are documented here. But despite the high costs and lack of counterterrorism benefits, Kelly stands behind the surveillance on Muslims.

*****

On its own, Kelly's treatment of Muslims ought to disqualify him from the position, and even from being praised by the president of the United States. On its own, his treatment of blacks and Hispanics ought to disqualify him from being promoted, too. But his tenure has also been characterized by a dearth of transparency that has exacerbated his abuses. As Murray Weiss explains, "The lack of transparency during the Kelly administration played a pivotal role in keeping the public -- and by extension the NYPD -- from recognizing years earlier that the number of stop-and-frisks in New York was escalating to troubling levels. Kelly failed to disclose the stop-and-frisk numbers for seven years despite being required by law to do so. When he was finally forced to release them, the numbers were stunning, and caused critics to ask why stop-and-frisks escalated from 100,000 during Bloomberg's first year in office to 500,000 seven years later."

Yet New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer is lobbying for him, and on Wednesday President Obama said Kelly's "obviously done an extraordinary job" and would be "very well qualified for the job" of Homeland Security secretary.

Sadly, this isn't at all surprising, though it is to the immense discredit of both men.

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1 Comments:

  • We liberals seem to be aping the other guys by advocating questionably legal and ethical things that don't work and often make things worse.

    I've spent a long time mocking them for the attitude that "it's OK when we do it" and it's embarrassing to see this going on with liberals as well.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 10:25 AM  

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