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Hatfield/McCoy? In New York, It's Bratton/Kelly

December 9, 2013

Let’s cut right to the chase. Ray Kelly and Bill Bratton don’t like each other.

Don’t like each other? Let’s get real. They hate each other.

Their disagreements are not just about police policy. With them it is personal.

That’s the back story of what will be happening at Police Plaza when Bratton returns as police commissioner.

The way NYPD commissioners operate, they settle personal scores through their police policies and actions.

What better example than the conference on International Terrorism at the Roosevelt Hotel in 2006, co-sponsored by the Manhattan Institute and the NYPD to commemorate the fifth anniversary of 9/11? Hundreds of law enforcement folk from across the country attended, as did academics, foreign consular officials, and the national media.

But when Kelly learned that Bratton, then the Chief of the LAPD, was a conference panelist, he pulled out at the last minute. He then held a rival terrorism conference at Police Plaza the same day. [See NYPD Confidential, Sept. 11, 2006.]

If the past is any guide, Bratton will soon be extracting payback. How will he do it? By revamping and/or eviscerating Kelly’s key policies.

He’s already begun. Just days after mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced his appointment, Bratton — with Kelly’s supposed great friend, Al Sharpton, at his side — promised to revamp Stop and Frisk, the policy Kelly claims has reduced crime to record low levels.

[With the numbers of stops already in free-fall long before federal judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling that the policy was racist and unconstitutional, that should be an easy lift.]

Bratton also signaled change to the policy dearest to Kelly’s heart and reputation: fighting terrorism.

In his remarks following the announcement of his appointment, Bratton said he intended to foster “a collaborative relationship” with other law enforcement agencies responsible for fighting terrorism.

Readers, this was no subtle jab. It was a dagger in Kelly’s heart.

As the head of one of those law enforcement agencies that has tangled with Kelly over fighting terrorism put it: “It was a direct and well-deserved rebuke of Kelly’s behavior over the past 12 years.”

Bratton was, of course, alluding to what many feel is Kelly’s signature accomplishment as well as his Achilles heel: his establishment of an NYPD Intelligence Division to rival that of the FBI.

That accomplishment has come with a caveat: Kelly’s insistence on being top dog; his reluctance to share information or responsibility with other law enforcement agencies — in particular, as NYPD Confidential has documented over the past decade, with the Bureau.

As NYPD Confidential has also documented, Kelly’s anti-terrorism policies have resulted in spurious and over-hyped claims, such as 16 plots that were foiled by the NYPD, a claim that turned out to be untrue.

There were also the NYPD’s well-publicized arrests of “lone-wolf” terrorists, virtually all of whom turned out to be mopes with mental or emotional problems. One of them was egged on by a confidential informant to whom the NYPD paid $100,000.

Perhaps the most over-hyped of all was Kelly’s Overseas Spy Service, which stationed NYPD detectives in 11 so-called terrorism hot spots, but which Kelly admitted earlier this year resulted in not a single tip about a potential terrorist attack in New York.

Bratton knows much of this, as, no doubt, he knows of the role of the non-profit Police Foundation, which paid the overseas detectives’ expenses through donations of wealthy New Yorkers. No doubt he is also aware that, under Kelly, the Police Foundation became a surrogate arm of the police department with no accounting or accountability as to how its millions of dollars have been spent.

Bratton knows this not just from reading this column. One of his top aides at the NYPD was John Miller, who also knows something about terrorism.

Miller joined Bratton in Los Angeles as the LAPD’s head of Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence. He then became the Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the FBI.

Miller is the polar opposite of David Cohen, the Dr. Strangelove-like head of Kelly’s Intelligence Division, with his CIA background and loathing of the FBI. He is too politic to say so publicly but as the FBI’s chief spokesman, he was aware of the truth and falsity of Kelly’s anti-terrorism claims.

Miller was with Bratton at the 2006 international terrorism conference that Kelly walked out on. He was with Bratton last week when Bratton remarked on the “collaborative relationship” with other law enforcement agencies responsible for fighting terrorism.

Will he return with Bratton to the NYPD, possibly to reassemble Kelly’s Intelligence and Counter Terrorism Divisions? Now a senior correspondent for CBS-TV, he will, like Bratton, have to take a couple of hundred thousand dollars pay cut. But he did this before, when in 1994 he joined Bratton at the NYPD. He did not return an email from this reporter.

What remains unknown is how far Bratton will go in exposing Kelly’s over-the-top spying on Muslim New Yorkers, which like the rest of Kelly’s anti-terrorism policies produced next to nothing, other than alienating an entire community.

Kelly has claimed that Intelligence Division detectives “only followed leads.”

Maybe Bratton will discover what lead Intelligence Division detectives followed after NY Yankee Cory Lidle’s accidental small plane crash into a Manhattan apartment building. The crash prompted the NYPD to contact informants and undercover detectives in at least five mosques and Islamic Centers around the city and in New Jersey to gauge the reactions of Muslim congregants to the crash. [See NYPD Confidential, Mar 5, 2012.]

Maybe, too, Bratton will discover the lead followed by a half-dozen Intelligence Division detectives who were sent to Buffalo to investigate its small Somali community. This,despite the fact that the NYPD’s key Buffalo law enforcement liaison told them he “was not aware of any crime trends or crime patterns attributed to the ethnic Somali community.” [See NYPD Confidential, Feb 27, 2012.]

Bratton is not just throwing haymakers at Kelly with his remarks about Stop and Frisk and Terrorism. He’s also tweaking him.

Take his remarks about Eric Adams, the former NYPD captain and co-founder of the group, 100 Black Men in Law Enforcement. Adams retired in 2006, won election as a state Senator and was recently elected Brooklyn Borough President.

Back in 2005, Adams stated publicly that Mayor Michael Bloomberg had hidden behind a terrorism scare to avoid debating his Democratic opponent, Fernando Ferrer, during the closing days of that year’s mayoral race. The day he filed for retirement in 2006, Kelly slapped him with departmental charges for speaking out against Bloomberg and threatened to deny him his police pension.

Last week, Bratton said of Adams: “Eric was a great cop and he’s a fine political leader. … Eric will be very helpful in starting to mend the fences between the NYPD and the minority community in this city.”

Edited by Donald Forst

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