NEW YORK — Former New York City police commissioners want to see the surveillance program used to investigate suspected jihadists back on the street.
Former NYPD chief Bernard Kerik says there should be more surveillance programs to watch those who individuals suspected of having ties to terrorism if the city wants to find ways avoid any more incidents like the Chelsea bombing.
“I’ve been consistent in saying we need these surveillance programs, if you will. And I know everyone jumps on this bandwagon as being racial profiling and that’s nuts in my opinion. This isn’t about racial profiling,” Kerik said on The David Webb Show Monday.
“This is predicted criminal profiling. This is a circumstance where you know the people you’re looking for. You know what they do. You know where they live. You know the arena they hang in—the things they may do on the side with their friends,” he said.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio ended the NYPD unit that organized surveillance of suspected radicalized mosques in the city two years ago. Muslim activist groups had demand the program be put to rest, calling it discriminatory. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made it an issue on his campaign and took shots at de Blasio for dropping the program.
“He thought it was inappropriate… that was unbelievable, that was one of the best of all systems. We need intelligence gathering like never before,” Trump told CBS back in June.
“You’re not gonna find the bad guy if you don’t get into those communities. Sometimes we have to get into those communities to see what is there. This isn’t about race. This is about protecting the homeland,” Kerik explained. “This is about national security. And I know everybody likes to throw the race card in there but the bottom line is the success of beating radical Islam and protecting this country is all about intelligence.”
Kerik is not the only New York former police commissioner critical of de Blasio for dropping the surveillance program. NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told AM 970’s John Gambling in late August that he was “incensed” that de Blasio crippled the surveillance program.
Kelly noted that a recently released Inspector General’s report showed that the department only violated one rule regarding notification of an extension of an investigation.
“I see a headline and it says ‘Police broke surveillance rules after 9/11, inquiry finds.’ Obviously, it’s something that interests me,” Kelly said. “I read the article, it is really absurd. The only rule that it mentions broken were that the department did not notify itself about the extension of an investigation.”
A de Blasio rep shot back, telling The NY Post: “Mayor de Blasio will continue to trust and support our NYPD, and he will continue to reject the divisive worldview of Donald Trump, Ray Kelly and Rudy Giuliani.”
The recently retired NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton disbanded Kelly’s five-officer Demographics Unit that Kelly established in 2003 to examine the social habits and locations of city’s ethnic and religious groups. Kelly called the move “dumb.”
Back in January, de Blasio, agreed to appoint a civilian to monitor to the NYPD’s counterterrorism unit as part of a settlement of two separate lawsuits claiming the department’s Handschu guidelines were violated.
Kerik, however, warned, “It’s all about collecting intelligence and preventing things like [the bombings in New York and New Jersey] from happening, because you have to be a complete moron to think that these people aren’t already here. We consistently see they’re here. They’re either coming in from other countries or they were born here and they get radicalized over time.”