Kelly defends Muslim monitoring

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly pointed to foiled terrorist plots against the city while defending the NYPD's surveillance of Muslim student groups outside of the city. Photo by Christina Santucci
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The NYPD released a transcript of Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly speaking at a breakfast Saturday morning where he defended the police department’s surveillance of Muslim student associations and other groups beyond of New York City’s borders.

“If terrorists aren’t limited by borders and boundaries, we can’t be either,” Kelly said in the statement. “It is entirely legal for the police department to conduct investigations outside of city limits, and we maintain very close relationships with local authorities.”

Kelly was referring to a set of rules known as the Handschu Guidelines, which stipulate the the NYPD can only follow up on credible leads that are vetted by the city Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence — a position currently held by former Central Intelligence Agency member David Cohen — when they infiltrate student groups or conduct surveillance inside of a Mosque.

Otherwise, Kelly defended the department’s right to access public information and send officers into public places.

Kelly said that the NYPD generates leads and acts on them to catch terrorists the same way it arrests drug dealers or other criminals, and that the NYPD only infiltrates private gatherings after being vetted under the guidelines.

“The notion that the Police Department should close our eyes to what takes place outside the five boroughs is folly, and it defies the lessons of history,” he said, envoking 9/11 and the previous World Trade Center bombings in 1993.

Kelly then described foiled terrorist plots against the city that originated in New Jersey, Colorado or Connecticut.

Kelly and the NYPD have come under fire recently by Muslim activists who have called their infiltration of student groups a violation of privacy and even racist.

A group of protesters congregated outside of a Manhattan restaurant where Kelly gave his remarks Saturday morning and protested the NYPD’s surveillance practices.

Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey, recently criticized the NYPD as well for operating in the Garden State without alerting authorities there to the department’s actions.

“What bothers me is that they seemed to have abandoned the key lesson from Sept. 11, which was that we should be sharing information with each other,” he said.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 10:12 pm, March 3, 2012
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Reader feedback

Ken from New York says:
Nice to see some good sense in office.
March 7, 2012, 11:32 am
Maria from Jamaica says:
Thank you Commisioner Kelly! One lesson learned on September 11,2001 is that we never let anyone get the upper hand on us. God bless America!
June 28, 2012, 4:23 pm
mind yours from NY says:
I dont understand, especially after the September 11 attacks, how our country, continues to let these people in our country. If you are worried about them, why let them in?
July 20, 2013, 3:40 am
mind yours from NY says:
If these people are let in our country to be surveillanced, than, why pay for homeland security? You are blantely risking the lives of the US citizens in our country. What the hell is wrong with the leaders of our country? Do you guys need prozac, cause your system is insane. There should clearly be an intervention and medication for our leaders of our country. But who will do the intervention, when our leaders have clearly lost their minds. Insane and unbelievable!!
July 20, 2013, 3:48 am

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