NYPD's long arm of the law
Last Updated: 3:55 PM, January 23, 2010
Posted: 3:55 PM, January 23, 2010
Between 2002 and 2003, the NYPD and FBI arrested and deported six Iranian diplomats in New York for photographing infrastructure and rail lines. The busts set off an alarming scenario for the NYPD’s intelligence division — that Iran could aid terrorist groups like Hizbollah in an attack on the Big Apple.
To investigate, detectives had to go beyond the five boroughs. They flew to Buenos Aires to meet with Argentine authorities and learn from the 1992 and 1994 Hizbollah attacks on Jewish and Israeli facilities there.
Those deadly bombings were retaliation for the death of Hizbollah leaders in the Middle East. The quickly executed strikes led intelligence officials to believe plans had been in the bag for a while and that reconnaissance on the targets and materials were provided by Iranian officials stationed in South America.
NYPD detectives walked away from the trip with key intelligence on how terror operations can be disrupted.
But the south of the border flight was just one of many overseas trips made by New York’s Finest in the past decade.
In the years since 9/11, the nearly 38,000-strong police force has recalibrated its mission, thinking globally to act locally. In an ambitious plan, it has set up permanent posts in 11 international cities and dispatched intelligence detectives to every continent except Antarctica in order to network with local law enforcement, gather intelligence and learn terrorist techniques after attacks.
The NYPD has swooped into India after the November 2008 massacre in Mumbai to learn the terrorists’ weapons and explosives of choice, reviewed Saudi Arabia’s de-radicalization program and profiled rising Islamic extremist elements in the Balkans.
The purpose of the assignments is simple: Use that knowledge to prevent another Big Apple tragedy.
“The NYPD has a very clear focus when it comes to fighting terrorism,” said Christopher Dickey, the author of “Securing The City: Inside America’s Best Counterterror Force — The NYPD.” “It’s not fighting ideologically. It’s fighting in very practical and narrow terms based on the belief that New York City is the number one terror target in the world. Its entire mission is to stop terrorist attacks from taking place there.” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly returned to New York as the top cop in January 2002, to a city still reeling from the horrific events a few months earlier. And in the time since 1994, when he left the commissioner’s office, he had worked in Haiti, for Interpol and for the federal government, gaining international experience....http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/nypd_long_arm_of_the_law_Zs9SkOimTmrCYbfNCrLNzM