Thursday, November 20, 2008

New York Police Fight With U.S. On Surveillance, NYPD Needs Phone Surveillance in Subways, FBI Says No, Back Off !

WASHINGTON — An effort by the New York Police Department to get broader latitude to eavesdrop on terrorism suspects has run into sharp resistance from the Justice Department in a bitter struggle that has left the police commissioner and the attorney general accusing each other of putting the public at risk. Raymond W. Kelly, the New York police commissioner, accused federal agencies of blocking the police’s surveillance requests.

The Police Department, with the largest municipal counter-terrorism operation in the country, wants the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to loosen their approach to the federal law that governs electronic surveillance. But federal officials have refused to relax the standards, and have said requests submitted by the department could actually jeopardize surveillance efforts by casting doubt on their legality.

New York’s department, as a local police force, cannot apply directly, but must seek warrants through the F.B.I. and the Justice Department. The police want those agencies to expedite their requests, and say that the federal agencies unfairly blocked the city’s applications for surveillance warrants, first in June and then in September 2008.

While the letters do not specifically identify the target of the eavesdropping requests, Mr. Mukasey said that the Police Department had sought authority in one of them to eavesdrop on “numerous communications facilities” without providing an adequate basis for their requests. Some officials who have been briefed on the cases said the requests, from the police Intelligence Division, were unusually broad, and included telephones in public places, like train or subway stations, rather than phones used by a specific individual.

There has been at least 3 terrorist bomb plots averted on the NYC Subway system since 9/11/01, see my prior post, Sunday, June 08, 2008 NYPD COUNTER TERRORISM BUREAU FIGHTS THE THREAT OF AL-QAIDA IN THE CITY 24/7 FROM IT'S GLOBAL INTELLIGENCE ROOM IN BROOKLYN

The police Intelligence Division makes its requests for eavesdropping warrants through the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, a unit in which F.B.I. agents, police detectives and investigators from other agencies work together. The Intelligence Division and the task force work independently of each other, a situation that has been at the heart of the worsening relationship.

Nearly 150 Police Department detectives work with a like number of F.B.I. agents and roughly 100 others from nearly four dozen other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, several officials said. At the same time, the Police Department’s Intelligence Division has several hundred other detectives working separately, running a sweeping network of informants and collecting a mass of intelligence aimed at forestalling another attack in New York.

The NYPD Intelligence Division is run by David Cohen, a former top Central Intelligence Agency official who holds the rank of deputy commissioner and is often a vocal and unapologetic critic of the F.B.I. Indeed, the Police Department and the C.I.A. are two agencies that often seem to have contempt for the F.B.I., even as investigators work together on many cases.

Tensions between the task force and the Intelligence Division detectives, according to a number of investigators and officials in both agencies, have become intense and in some instances, of significant concern. The detectives have sought to infiltrate some of the same groups singled out by the task force and collect information in some of the same mosques, bookstores and other locations without notifying the task force, the investigators and officials said.

The FBI is the lead dog on all terrorism cases, no matter who initiated the case, whether it is the NYPD, the Bureau of Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the U.S. Secret Service, say the word terrorism and the FBI takes over the case. Nobody works "with" the FBI on a terrorism case you work "for" the FBI and give them all your Intel and get nothng back. I know for a fact that the FBI drags it's feet in terrorism surveillance cases and even throws out important Intel for fear of reprisal from the Justice Department. The chain of evidence presented to the FBI is a a very long and tiresome trail with suspects moving on, out of the country, before any action is initiated. Look at the Sami al-Arian debacle in Tampa Fl, the FBI and the Justice Department tried Al-Arian on old, out dated evidence from the stone ages rather than the current money laundering support of terrorism evidence that would have put Al-Arian away for life.

Bill Warner
Private Investigator