Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano is leaving that post and President Obama has yet to name a replacement. But Sen. Chuck Schumer is lobbying hard for NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, who has led an astonishingly corrupt and racist police department. And Obama is lavishing Kelly with praise:
Kelly hasn’t spoken about whether he wants the post, but in an interview with Univision, the president said he’d want to know if Kelly was considering a job change.
“Ray Kelly’s obviously done an extraordinary job in New York,” Obama said. “And the federal government partners a lot with New York, because obviously, our concerns about terrorism often times are focused on big-city targets, and I think Ray Kelly’s one of the best there is.”
Remember, Kelly has, along with Mayor Bloomberg, argued that the NYPD’s stop and frisk program, in which 87% of the stops are of black or Latino residents despite the fact that white people, who are only 10% of those stopped, are found to be breaking the law at a higher rate, is not racist enough. Conor Friedersdorf points out that the NYPD’s actions in regard to Muslims have been so appalling that the FBI criticized them for it:
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.
Ray Kelly, and Mayor Bloomberg too, should be facing federal civil rights charges, not being considered for a cabinet position.