Wednesday, May 14, 2014

NYPD Commissioner Agrees with Author on Questioning Individuals Arrested

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton
In a recent interview with the Jerusalem Post,
New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton defended the right for police to ask pertinent questions to arrestees.  This comes on the heels of a recent New York Times article criticizing the PD for asking Muslim inmates if they had specific knowledge of  possible criminal activity, including terrorism that they would be willing to divulge to the police.

In response to the accusations of a prejudicial policing policy when it comes to Muslims, Bratton stated that the technique is " an essential element of policing."

He went on to say, "I created this policy back in 1994, in New York City last time I was commissioner, where every person arrested was interviewed by detectives about not necessarily the crime they committed but do they have information about other crimes and is there an ability to develop these people into confidential informants,”

The Commissioner's position was further reinforced by his Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, John Miller.   Miller, sitting along side Bratton in the interview stated;
" I think the basic tenet of policing is that when you take people into custody, you try to get information from them. This is how we take guns, this is how we seize narcotics, this is how we solve murders every single day. In the area of counterterrorism, this is how you are going to gain insight and visibility where you would otherwise have very little.”

One terrorism expert compared the comments made by the Commissioner and his Deputy to a recent article in the New York Post by the author of "The Fertile Soil of Jihad" saying: "Bratton's comments underscore what Patrick Dunleavy pointed out... Using suspects to try to learn about other crimes and conspiracies is an everyday police practice, has been for years, and simply is common sense."

Now if only the New York Times would agree...but that maybe asking to much

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Scurrilous NY Times Informant Story Ignores NYPD Successes

Exaggeration is often the tool of a disingenuous person, but when it comes to reporting, there seems to be no bounds. Case in point, the most recent article in The New York Times on the NYPD’s counterterrorism program, “New York Police Recruit Muslims to be Informers.”

The reporter goes on a mission to expose what he claims is the improper questioning of individuals arrested and being held in jails. Specifically, he decries the singling out of a specific group of criminals, Muslims. The reporter gets it dead wrong — and in the process puts in jeopardy the lives of many who have helped police fight terror.

The article claims that law enforcement personnel changed their focus of questions to home in on a specific area, religion. The writer states: “They [NYPD] showed that religion had become a normal topic of police inquiry in the city’s holding cells and lockup facilities.”
     A new technique of interrogation? I think not. As the former deputy inspector general of the New York State Department of Corrections, I can state emphatically that arrestees have been asked the question “what is your religion” for more than 40 years. It is a core part of the initial intake assessment of an individual about to be admitted to a jail. It goes part and parcel with height, weight, color of eyes, ethnicity, etc.

The writer wants the reader to believe that this type of questioning only began after 9/11. Why? It goes along with the mantra that Muslims were being singled out arbitrarily by police and intelligence officials when it comes to crime. Not so. I doubt the reporter has ever really sat in on an intake interview of an arrestee. If he had, he would have seen the line of questioning of an arrestee/inmate is founded in the historical fundamental belief by cops that, whenever a crime is committed, either someone in jail did it or knows who did it.

In gathering intelligence on specific threat groups — be they the Mafia, the Latin Kings, the Chinese Ghost Shadow Gangs, the Russian Mob, etc. — you’re going to ask a specific group of people about a specific group of criminals, and radical Islamic terrorism is a form of criminal activity. My good friend John Cutter, former deputy chief of NYPD’s Intelligence Division, put it most succinctly when he said, “I know we’re the Police Department, and we deal with crime, but terrorism is just a higher level of crime, and we have to know about it. If it’s in our midst, I need someone to investigate it.”

There are numerous examples of successful cases where terrorist acts were thwarted due to intelligence gathered from speaking to an individual in jail.