New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly slammed the entire field of New York mayoral candidates for their lack of interest in counter-terrorism efforts during an appearance Monday.
“Over the past twelve years, the New York City Police Department has built a comprehensive counterterrorism program to do just that,” Kelly told an audience at a breakfast for the Association for a Better New York and the Council on Foreign Relations. “It’s critically important that our efforts be sustained in the next administration. But where do the candidates stand on these issues? Surprisingly, we haven’t heard much.”
“The threat of terrorism is as great, if not greater, today than it was before the World Trade Center was destroyed for reasons that I’ll explain in a few moments. Yet I can tell you that none of the candidates has requested a briefing from the Police Department on this topic,” said Kelly, whose job security is looking pretty weak as Bill de Blasio takes the lead among the mayoral candidates.
“I believe the public has a right to ask them some important questions. For example, what is their understanding of the terrorist threat to New York City and its immediacy? What is their perspective on the role the NYPD should play in protecting New York from global terrorism? Will they expend their political capital and continue to fight in Washington, D.C. for the federal funds we need to maintain our defenses? It is imperative that we find out,” Kelly said.
Kelly went on to describe several terrorist plots that were stamped out in the Greater New York City area in the last ten months.
“By fully supporting the efforts to protect New York City from another terrorist attack, Mayor Bloomberg has ensured the economic survival and resurgence of our city,” Kelly said.
“Will that resolve still emanate from City Hall come January? There are few questions more important than what the next mayor will do to protect the city from terrorism. What do the candidates have to say?… We simply don’t know,” Kelly said.
De Blasio, the liberal front-runner in the race, has actively campaigned against Kelly and the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policy, which he claims unfairly profiles minorities.
De Blasio’s campaign currently holds 43 percent support in the Democratic mayoral primary, which would be enough to avoid a run-off election, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. De Blasio leads his closest competitor Bill Thompson by 23 points. The Democratic primary will be held Tuesday.