Thursday, January 06, 2011


Radiating power: Prediction on who might replace Big Sis at DHS.

"What happens to these guns? They’re melted down, and they’re turned into coat hangers. So, it’s sort of like turning swords into plowshares. And we hope to do a lot more of that.” -- NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Talking with a good friend last night, we agreed that the evil dwarf Janet the Second, aka "Big Sis," would likely shortly be replaced at DHS for serial incompetence. "Who do you think will replace her?" he asked.

My money is on this guy, if he wants the job:

Meet Ray Kelly.

The long-serving NYPD commissioner is autocratic, dismissive of civil-liberties concerns—and effective. Is that a reasonable trade-off . . .? -- "Boss Kelly" by Geoffrey Gray, New York Magazine, 16 May 2010.

If I'm right, we're in for a rough ride because Ray Kelly is no ex-chicken farmer like Heinrich Himmler. Ray Kelly would be a COMPETENT national political policeman.

More from Geoffrey Gray's story:

Kelly’s management creed is to control everything he can control. After 9/11, Kelly’s posture was that security was something an NYPD commissioner couldn’t delegate to others. Inside the massive Police Department, he’s fashioned a counterterrorism force staffed by former CIA officers, FBI agents, and Ivy Leaguers that has, essentially, its own foreign policy as well as informants throughout the city. He’s developed a whole new suite of tactics not only to make the city safer but also—almost as important—to make it feel safer. And part of the strategy is keeping himself in the frame: He is the department, and the department is him. “As a result of his success and longevity, Ray Kelly has become to the NYPD what J. Edgar Hoover was to the FBI,” says Michael Palladino, head of the detectives union.

Though the Feds sometimes complain about Kelly’s detectives’ stepping into their long-term cases and his poaching of headlines, they’ve acknowledged him as a partner in counterterrorism work. On the domestic front, he’s proved to be an administrative magician. With dwindling resources and thousands fewer cops on the streets, the number of reported crimes has continued to dwindle. Despite this year’s dramatic rise in shootings (one of the highest numbers since Bloomberg took office) and uptick in murders (the only crime stat that’s hard to fudge), the homicide rate in New York is still near its lowest in history, give or take a few dozen DOAs. Criminologists say many factors contribute to this, but Kelly has been happy to give the NYPD the credit.

These days, despite the occasional scandal . . . Kelly’s biggest problem can be his own success and the burden of high expectations. No one expected the crime numbers to continue going down throughout his tenure, yet until the past six months they did. The commissioner is famously sensitive to criticism . . . so the recent spikes in crime are unsettling for Kelly. What else can he do to drive the numbers down further?

If he were a politician, a role he’s sometimes flirted with, Kelly would be the most popular one in the city. Earlier this year, he received a 70 percent approval rating, matching his highest ever (and nine points higher than Bloomberg’s). Mitchell Moss, an NYU public-policy professor, has said the commissioner “radiates power.” Thomas Reppetto, the author of NYPD: A City and Its Police, calls Kelly “the greatest police commissioner in the history of the city. He invented the playbook on terrorism from scratch.”

Not everyone buys into this heroic picture. Donna Lieberman, head of the New York Civil Liberties Union, calls Kelly a “master of PR” and his policies “hyperaggressive.” Under Kelly, the NYPD “has taken on the aura of an occupying force.”

Conga lines of patrol cars flash sirens and barrel down streets, the kind of maximum-visibility, flood-the-zone feint that’s a signature of Kelly’s department. Cops sit high above the street in watchtowers. And more New Yorkers are getting stopped, questioned, frisked, and put into a database. People like Lieberman are mind-boggled that city leaders would allow a commissioner like Kelly to collect information on hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers . . . Kelly won’t apologize for his tactics. With his military bearing and unforgiving attitude, he’s an odd fit for such a progressive city. But his resilient popularity is a testament to the times he lives in and the dynamics of modern fear. “Even liberals don’t like to be blown up,” says Hank Sheinkopf, who advised Bloomberg in 2009. “Kelly is the guy who seems to know how to protect people from getting blown up. The issue is not whether he knows or doesn’t know. It’s the perception he knows. He has made it believable that he is all that is standing between the citizens of New York and destruction.”

Ray Kelly is as anti-firearm as they come, making him a happy partner with Mayor Bloomberg. But the bloom is starting to fade off Kelly's New York rose. Crime is up, he's having frictions with Bloomberg over looming budget cuts -- it may be just the right time for a step aqway from the Big Apple. He's done it before during the Clinton Administration:

Kelly served as Director of the International Police Monitors of the Multinational Force in Haiti from October 1994 through March 1995. This U.S.-led force was responsible for ending human rights abuses and establishing an interim police force there. . . . From 1996 to 1998, Kelly was Under Secretary for Enforcement at the United States Department of the Treasury. At that post he supervised the Department's enforcement bureaus, including the Customs Service, the Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. . . Kelly served on the executive committee and was elected Vice President for the Americas of Interpol from 1996 to 2000. . . From 1998 to 2001, Kelly served as the Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service, where he managed the agency's 20,000 employees and $20 billion annual budget. . . Kelly was Senior Managing Director for Corporate Security at Bear Stearns from 2000 to 2001. -- Wikipedia.

Gray reports that Kelly secured his Clintonian bona fides which led to these jobs by being a most useful tool:

After three decades at the NYPD, Kelly’s next job—not reported on in his official biography—was in the private sector. Seven months after leaving One Police Plaza, Kelly became the New York president of Investigative Group International, Inc., a P.I. firm that has been referred to as “Bill Clinton’s private CIA” and that Dinkins had hired to prepare the opposition research on Giuliani.

Kelly is a rock star in his own right and can think outside the box, especially when it comes to expanding his own power. Again, Gray:

He’s now a permanent fixture on the red-carpet circuit, cavorting with cigar chompers like Ron Perelman, starlets like Jennifer Lopez. He recently recruited Bloomberg’s old crush Sharon Stone to appear at a benefit for the New York City Police Foundation, a nonprofit that funds many of Kelly’s projects.

The foundation has also helped Kelly revamp his and the NYPD’s image. In 2007, the foundation hired HL Group, a marketing company that promises to “increase brand equity” and “furthers client presence at an exponential rate within respective circles.” The foundation put HL Group on an $8,500-a-month retainer, according to a foundation source. While it has been blurry which brand HL is boosting—the police commissioner’s or that of the foundation that pays the bills—Kelly has proved to be an able rainmaker in the black-tie crowd.

The foundation also funds what some might consider Kelly’s own CIA. The city charter forbids cops on the NYPD payroll to work in other law-enforcement jurisdictions, so when he returned to headquarters, Kelly started the International Liaison Program, where NYPD detectives are sent to Tel Aviv, Amman, London, Lyon, Madrid, Paris, Montreal, Singapore, Santo Domingo, Abu Dhabi, and Toronto. The mission is for the NYPD to develop its own relationships with foreign intelligence officers and report back to the NYPD’s Intelligence Division, which is run by David Cohen, a former CIA official who is so secretive he refused to give out his age when asked (“between 28 and 70”). The arrangement has tweaked the NYPD’s counterparts in the FBI, who have their own agents deployed overseas.

The FBI would cringe if Kelly were given the DHS post and Eric Holder despises him for successfully fighting to keep the KSM trial circus out of New York. But if what I think is about to happen -- the entire retooling of American federal law enforcement into an MI-5 style national police agency which would attempt to control ALL American LEOs, state, county and municipal-- actually does happen, then Eric Holder is toast as well right along with Big Sis.

Gray speculated early last year:

There’s no obvious avenue open for Kelly. The federal post of Homeland Security director is filled. Same with the CIA. The post of FBI director will open up next year, but the appointment is for ten years, and Kelly is already past retirement age. But why would Kelly want to move to Washington and deal with agencies so big he couldn’t control them? He’s custom-fitted his NYPD to do some of the same work as all three. Plus, running the department with a Marine’s efficiency, he’s treated like a general.

That may be about to change. Personally I prefer the devil I know to the devil I don't, so the cannibalization of the ATF and all other federal law enforcement agencies with the probable exception of FBI and DEA does not make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

But if things are about to change, Ray Kelly is just the guy to do it and he will be the most ferociously competent and fierce national political policeman ever seen.

Keep your powder dry.


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