The NYPD’s “Privately” Funded War on Terrorism
November 7, 2011
The NYPD appears to have secretly created a private foundation that raised nearly $300,000 to pay a former CIA official to become the police department’s first “scholar-in-residence.”
Police officials never announced the formation of what appears to be the department’s own non-profit, tax-exempt “NYPD Counter-Terrorism Foundation” when the foundation registered with the state’s Attorney’s General’s office in 2008, as all non-profits are required to do.
That filing and others list two high-level, civilian police officials as the foundation’s directors (see document). However the filings omitted their NYPD affiliation. Instead of their police department titles, they listed their home addresses.
Stephen Hammerman, the former Deputy Commissioner of Legal Affairs, is listed as the NYPD Counter-Terrorism Foundation’s president, with his home address on Long Island.
Joe Wuensch, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s chief of staff, is named as its treasurer, with his home address on Staten Island.
The documents also list a third director, attorney John Dadakis, as the foundation’s secretary, giving his office address in midtown. Dadakis declined comment. Hammerman did not return a phone call last month and could not be reached at his home yesterday.
Wuensch said last month that he had no knowledge of being a foundation director.
After this reporter faxed him a copy of his name on the documents, he did not respond further.
The documents filed by the foundation do not reveal its donors. Nor do they reveal where all the money was spent.
Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Paul Browne did not return an email that asked what official or unofficial role the department had played in the foundation’s formation; who its donors were or what happened to the money on top of the salary paid to the scholar-in-residence.
The foundation listed as its mission “to help educate members of the NYPD with regard to fighting terrorism” and the “sponsorship of the New York City Police Department Counter-Terrorism Scholar-in-Residence Program.”
That scholar was Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer who had worked for the Agency in Pakistan between 1987 and 1989. According to his biography, Sageman, a Harvard and NYU graduate, has a medical degree and a doctorate in sociology, and is the author of two books about terrorism.
An Associated Press story about the scholar-in-residence program in July 2008 — which included an interview of Sageman at Police Plaza — said that he believes in the primacy of the “home-grown” terrorist threat, as opposed to an international Al Qaeda conspiracy, which has become part of the NYPD’s mantra in fighting terrorism.
The police department never disclosed just what Sageman did during his year as scholar-in-residence, from May 2008 through May 2009: whom and what he taught about terrorism, how many lectures he gave, or many days he actually spent in New York City as, according to his biography, he maintains an office in Maryland.
For his year as scholar-in-residence, Sageman was paid a salary of $180,000, which the AP said was paid for by “a private foundation.”
However, the NYPD apparently never told the AP or anyone else that this private foundation was headed by two top civilian police department officials, or that the department had apparently solicited at least one wealthy benefactor to fund it.
Mysteriously, the foundation’s documents filed with the state reveal that the NYPD Counter-Terrorism Foundation received its first contribution, of $41,000, from an unnamed contributor, in 2006, two years before Sageman arrived at Police Plaza, and two years before the foundation first registered with the state.
The documents also show the foundation raised a total of $290,500, beginning with the 2006 contribution of $41,000. The foundation received a second contribution of $212,000 in 2007. The foundation made its final payment in connection with the scholar-in-residence program on June 1, 2009, the documents show.
After accounting for Sageman’s $180,000 salary, that leaves an unexplained balance of $110,500.
As far as NYPD Confidential can figure, this seems to be the first time that the NYPD, a municipal agency, has, albeit under the cover of two civilian officials, formed its own private foundation to fund one of its programs.
This raises troubling questions about the unnamed donor or donors. Do they get special treatment from the NYPD? Do they get special access to Commissioner Ray Kelly for having funded what appears to be one of his pet projects?
Two weeks ago, this column disclosed a secret meeting at One Police Plaza between Kelly and billionaire George Soros. What if someone like Soros donated to the Counter-Terrorism foundation and then needed a favor from Kelly?
The bizarre and unexplained arrangement of the NYPD Counter-Terrorism Foundation has yet again left the public in the dark about the department’s actions and its motives, raising the question: What was Commissioner Kelly trying to hide?
What makes the establishment of this secret foundation more puzzling is that the department has its own official police foundation, which was formed specifically to fund special projects, like this one, that the police commissioner favors.
That’s the non-profit, supposedly independent Police Foundation.
In fact, the Police Foundation currently funds the NYPD’s highly publicized, and controversial, anti-terrorism initiative — its placement of NYPD detectives in cities overseas to fight terrorism.
How effective that program has been remains unclear. What is clear is that the detectives assigned overseas have no legal jurisdiction outside New York City and, capable as they may be, have served to exacerbate tensions between the NYPD and the FBI, which has agents stationed in many of those same places.
For reasons that appear unclear, sources say that Kelly never contacted the Police Foundation about paying for Sageman as its scholar-in-residence.
At that time, sources say, Kelly was attempting to force the resignation of the Police Foundation’s longtime executive director, Pam Delaney. In 2009, he succeeded, replacing her with her longtime assistant Greg H. Roberts. Roberts is now so cowed that he is afraid to speak to the media —and to her.
“I suspect we are seeing the emergence of a police scandal comparable if not greater than that that took place with the Knapp Commission in 1972,” said Koch in a Huffington Post article.
He repeated those ideas in a subsequent telephone interview with this reporter.
“It’s not credible that it [the indictment of 16 cops for fixing tickets] only exists in the Bronx. And what is present here is that the PBA’s fingerprints are all over the skullduggery. … I believe that sooner or later — and I hope it is sooner — that there is an appointed commission like the Knapp Commission. And the sooner the better. ... I know sooner or later there will be an investigation either imposed by the city or the state at some point in the future. I just can sense that this is mushrooming.”
Koch, long a supporter of the police commissioner, added, “I have absolute confidence in Kelly and Bloomberg. I believe they would both support such a measure. I doubt that Kelly would oppose it.”
But that’s where Koch is dead wrong. Kelly has spent a decade under Bloomberg with no outside scrutiny. He will never willingly accept an outside commission.
Bloomberg, meanwhile, remains ostrich-like, his head in the sand when it comes to supervising the police department.
His newly appointed spokesman, Marc La Vorgna, blindly defended the department. “We’ll put the integrity of the NYPD up against that of any police force in the world,” he said. “But for the rare instances they are needed, we already have five district attorneys, two U.S. attorneys and the Civilian Complaint Review Board in New York City, plus an extremely aggressive Internal Affairs Bureau. There is absolutely no need to create another layer of government here.”
LaVorgna is, of course, making a fool of himself. It’s difficult to talk police integrity given the recent indictments of eight gun-running cops, 16 cops in the ticket-fixing scandals, and the flaking of suspects by narcotics cops in Brooklyn.
As for an aggressive Internal Affairs Bureau, what they have been most aggressive about is investigating cops improperly using parking placards.
Why is Kelly so opposed to an outside commission? Forty years ago, Kelly’s friend Mike Armstrong, who heads the toothless Mayor’s Commission to Combat Police Corruption, served as counsel to the Knapp Commission. Maybe Armstrong has instructed Kelly on the dangers of an outside commission.
The Knapp Commission, for example, began with an allegation from Det. Frank Serpico that his Bronx detective unit was corrupt, in league with figures of organized crime. By the time the Knapp Commission finished, it had found systemic and organized corruption within every level of the department — up to the Police Commissioner’s office.
The layoffs follow the promotion of its pro-police editorial page editor Art Browne [See last week’s NYPD Confidential on Browne’s apologetic editorial about the indictments of eight gun-running cops] to the number two news spot under editor-in-chief Kevin Convey.
Browne, too, is a crackerjack reporter, who actually went out on the stories he editorialized about.
The perfect pro-police replacement for Browne on the editorial pages: the News’s former Albany bureau chief [and no relation to Art], NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Information, Paul Browne.
Copyright © 2011 Leonard Levitt