One Police Plaza

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Predictions For 2012: Follow All Leads

January 2, 2012

JANUARY. Declaring that reports of pervasive NYPD spying on the city’s Muslim communities are “misguided instances of media hype,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg hosts a “Meeting with Muslims” breakfast at police headquarters with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Both Bloomberg and Kelly assure guests that, in spying on Muslims, the NYPD “only follows leads.” A teenager, wearing a t-shirt that reads, “I Am Also an American,” asks what specific and credible lead the Intelligence Division followed in creating its secret pie chart that lists the percentage breakdown and national origin of every Muslim in the entire city.

Under the headline, “A pie in your eye,” a Daily News editorial declares: “Anyone who doesn’t think the NYPD should know the exact percentage breakdown and national origin of every Muslim in the entire city ought to have his head examined.”

Claiming to act “in the interests of full disclosure,” the News then lists the percentage breakdown and national origin of the Intelligence Division’s secret pie chart: Afghanistan, 3% ; Iran, 5%; Syria and Lebanon, each 7%; Turkey, 8%; Egypt, 11%; Pakistan, 21%; Bangladesh, 17%; Other Arab, 17%; Other, 4%.

The editorial adds that the NYPD provided these confidential percentages exclusively to the Daily News and concludes: “All this goes to show is that if you play ball with the police department, the police department will play ball with you.”

Bloomberg and Kelly hold a “Memorial Service of Appreciation” for the late Robert Morvillo, one of three former prosecutors Kelly appointed more than a year ago to investigate whether the NYPD intentionally failed to investigate certain crimes and downgraded felonies to misdemeanors to keep the city’s crime statistics low.

After the service, Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne is overhead telling Kelly that while Morvillo “was admittedly a great New Yorker, the upside is that his death gives us an additional six months breathing room before we have to issue a report.”

Commissioner Kelly appears at Barnes and Noble to praise a new book by police historian Tom Reppetto: “Battleground New York: Countering Spies, Saboteurs and Terrorists since 1861.” Reppetto’s thesis is that, after such crises as 9/11, U.S. security agencies follow a four-stage cycle. In the first, they are caught totally unprepared when the enemy blows up things. In the second, they ramp up their forces and fight among themselves. In the third, they go wild, ignore the laws and lock everybody up. In the fourth, they apologize, fire those responsible for the abuses and promise it will never happen again — until the next time.

Asked at the news conference at what stage the city is currently, Reppetto answers, “Two.”

Dissatisfied with the public’s reaction to his “Meeting with Muslims” breakfast, Mayor Bloomberg hosts a “Meeting with Muslims” lunch at City Hall, again with Commissioner Kelly. Again, he assures guests that in spying on Muslims the NYPD “only follows leads.” A Muslim man wearing a t-shirt reading, “Is this how it began for Japanese-Americans in WWII?” asks, “Where was the specific and credible lead that prompted the NYPD to write on page 6 of a secret Intelligence Division document: “In excess of 250 mosques, their ethnic orientation, leadership and group affiliations have been identified in NYC. Fifty-three mosques have been assessed as mosques of concern. Twenty-four mosques have a Salafi influence.”

Bloomberg is overhead asking Kelly, “What’s a Salafi?” Kelly is overheard answering him: “Just say that the NYPD is investigating and you can’t comment.”

. Responding to the Salafi question, a New York Post editorial declares: “How can any sane person question what’s a Salafi? Hasn’t anyone attending the “Meeting with Muslims” lunch heard of the 14 plots against New York City?”

Henry Kissinger hosts a party for Bill Bratton’s new book, “Collaborate or Perish!” which Bratton wrote in collaboration with Zach Tumin of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Unlike hostess Georgette Mosbacher, who threw a book party for Bratton last December and invited Kelly and Rudy Giuliani, Bratton asks Kissinger if he can parse Kissinger’s guest list before the invitations go out.

Bratton explains to Kissinger that although he kept his promise to Giuliani during his failed 2008 presidential bid by keeping his mouth shut about how the former mayor mistreated him while police commissioner, Giuliani has never acknowledged Bratton’s gesture of silence or even invited him to a Yankee game.

Bratton also tells Kissinger that Kelly has warned him to never again enter Police Plaza. “I attended former First Deputy George Grasso’s walkout two years ago and even the chiefs I promoted were afraid to go near me,” Bratton says.

Police Buff Supremo Reginald Ward announces a settlement in his lawsuit against his Park Avenue co-op, where he also runs his New York Law Enforcement Foundation. He denies turning on his Mount Vernon police car’s lights and siren outside his 58th street building to chase away other drivers so that he can take their parking spots. He also acknowledges carrying his loaded, licensed handgun inside the building but says he wears it hidden on his ankle so as not to frighten his neighbors.

Former police commissioner Bernard Kerik blogs from federal prison, where he is serving a four-year sentence for fraud and extortion: “In a strange and heavenly way, I thank God for giving me the opportunity to see what I had previously missed in my life. Having run two of the largest law enforcement organizations in the world with unparalleled success and achievement, my incarceration has given me a spiritual peace and understanding and a newfound realization of the importance of love, friendship and family.” Kerik denies a report that he and Bernard Madoff are discussing a future business venture.

Congressman Peter King refuses to allow reporters into his Washington, D.C office after Geraldo Rivera reports that King has mounted signed copies of Kerik’s prison blogs on his walls.

NOVEMBER. Regis Philbin offers to hold another Bratton book party, suggesting that Bratton invite both Kelly and Giuliani. “While I have no leverage with Rudy, I might be able to arrange something with my friend, Ray,” Philbin says. “Why don’t we start with something simple. Maybe I can convince Ray to take your phone calls.”

Mayor Bloomberg holds his third “Meeting with Muslims,” this time a dinner at Gracie Mansion. Yet again he promises that in spying on Muslims the NYPD “only follows leads.” A child wearing a t-shirt reading, “Is this how it began for the Jews in Nazi Germany?” asks which specific and credible lead prompted the NYPD to designate seven Muslim Student Associations at the City University as “Muslim Student Associations of Concern.”

“What lead did the NYPD follow in identifying 263 locations citywide as ethnic ‘hot spots’?” the child asks. “What lead did the NYPD follow before sending undercover detectives to spy on Muslim Student Groups at Brooklyn and Baruch Colleges? What lead did the NYPD follow in calling the Al Noor School in Brooklyn, which teaches kindergarten to 12th grade, an ‘Islamic School of Concern’?”

“Well, what about that, Ray?” Bloomberg whispers to Kelly.

“Would you believe a child?” Kelly answers. “The NYPD only follows leads.”


Copyright © 2012 Leonard Levitt