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The New York Police Department (NYPD) Counter-Terrorism Division operates a controversial International Liaison Program (ILP) that places officers overseas, in at least 11 cities. None of the NYPD liaison officers has any legal standing for dealing with the local authorities. The detectives travel on tourist passports, stay in hotels, and do not report to the U.S. ambassador, nor to the CIA Chief of Station. The FBI would like to see all the offices shut down as they confuse foreign police forces as to whom they should be speaking to. The bureau also notes that the NYPD already has 100 officers linked by secure communications to the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Washington. They are fully cleared and able to review all information coming into U.S. intelligence and law enforcement, making the ILP completely redundant.

There have been some memorable gaffes, as when NYPD officers show up at the scene of a terrorist attack, start waving their badges in the air, and demand access. The ILP has perhaps not surprisingly been most active in Israel, where it opened a branch in early 2003. A new office in Israel in the Tel Aviv suburb of Kfar Saba opened at the beginning of September. The office is manned by Charlie Ben-Naim, an Israeli citizen by birth and dual national who is also an NYPD detective. The office is far from the U.S. Embassy by design because the official and accredited U.S. presence wants nothing to do with what it regards as a loose cannon on deck. The NYPD analysis section recently blamed Iran for a series of attacks on Israeli targets, a claim that is not being made by U.S. intelligence due to lack of evidence. There is also apparently a report on Hezbollah making the rounds which suggests that the group is preparing attacks inside the U.S., which is also an unsubstantiated claim.

The ILP is funded by the private New York Police Foundation, which operates with little transparency. The foundation has been criticized for picking up the tab for Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s $12,000 bill at the New York Harvard Club and also paid $400,000 for a public relations firm to improve Kelly’s image.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: NYPD, Terrorism 
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  1. Don says:

    Maybe we should be asking what the FBI is doing in foreign cities?

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This is only one of many reasons why conservatives ought to be more critical of the NYPD; institutionally, they have absolutely no regard for the rule of law, or even normative standards of governance.

  3. Everybody wants a piece of the lucrative imperial pie. New York City is bigger in population than many nations and given its demographics has its own foreign policy preferences. I would say more but I don’t want to misspeak as Jesse Jackson once did!

  4. tick tock says:

    This is ridiculous. A dual citizen living in a foreign country is an “NYPD Officer” with access to the Joint Terrorism Task Force system?

    Time for taxpayers to pull the plug on the idiot politicians who enable this insanity.

  5. “The office is manned by Charlie Ben-Naim, an Israeli citizen by birth and dual national who is also an NYPD detective.” This alone says a lot. Given that Israeli security organizations were caught engaging in spying on US citizens under homeland security aegis, this just helps complete a sinister circle. They’re spying on us here and we’re commingled with them there.

    The NYPD always had a “Red Squad” to engage in local counter intelligence activities during the Twentieth Century. This on the other hand smacks of something completely unaccountable. Who’s interests do this office really serve? There is also an inference that this activity serves as both a information collection and dissemination operation for neo-cons in aid of Israel. I’d be interested in seeing the linkages if any to certain NY Neocon think tanks.

  6. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    With all the progress LAPD has made, now the New York guys are gonna stick their nose into the LAPD’s foreign investigations? Those things gotta be coordinated. You can’t have NY cops stumbling into the middle of LAPD operations. Foreign ops are very sensitive.

  7. Gerard says:

    Good point Don.

    The $15 tolls to get in and out of NYC and the unliveable costs/taxes sustains this stuff. New Yorkers need to keep working hard, there are many retired NYPD in the Carolinas and Florida making six-figure pensions that are relying on hard-working and tax-paying New Yorkers. New York’s finest retired on disability (income not taxed) in their 40’s and are playing golf and tennis every day in the sunshine.

    Now New Yorkers have to lay out $$$ for Ben-Naim’s living expenses abroad and El Al flights to an from Kennedy.

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This smells pretty fishy. What are New York policemen with dual citizenship doing opening an office in Israel? I hope they don’t have access to information on American citizens. We’ve had enough problems with Israeli spies over here.

  9. This reminds me of when they sent old Bernie Kerik over to Iraq to set up the Iraqi police forces. Now the police over there are being accused of torture and corruption and Kerik’s behind bars. Only the best and the brightest for our overseas brethren!

  10. Nick K. says:

    Don, the FBI has been doing CT operations in far-off places like Pakistan since at least the late 1990s. It does beg the question of why the FBI is doing CIA type stuff overseas. We certainly wouldn’t want the CIA doing domestic law enforcement.

    As for the wayward NYPD. A municipal police department’s justification for having overseas liaison officers is vanishingly thin. If the NYPD (or any municipal, county, or state LE organization) needed foreign intelligence or liaison then they should be going through channels at the Federal level.

  11. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    When USAID was prohibited from police training in the late 1960s an empty spot was left in US armor overseas. In only a few posts were I served was there an FBI “legal attache”–Manilla were there was much US crime and El Salvador (the nuns)–now there are many more. Why? Because the CIA is not a law enforcement organization and crime is more international in a globalized world. And State can’t do everything and usually crime is not its high priority–still the FBI should not be doing CT, and while it has a lead role in counter intelligence (CI), it needs to work closely with others in that area. In its CI role, it should be looking closely at the NY-Israeli nexus. Despite its clout in Congress, Israel is not the 51st state and doesn’t start with Coney Island.

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