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Cops and Terrorists,
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This review is from: Securing the City: Inside America's Best Counterterror Force--The NYPD (Hardcover)
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in a rare moment of lucidity observed that fighting terrorism was 90 per cent intelligence and police work with the implication that military operations would account for only 10 per cent of the effort. Although this observation was forgotten in the ill conceived and ill managed Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), it still remains true. Most experts on counter-terrorism and on terrorist movements have maintained that fighting terrorism is a job for some combination of intelligence and law enforcement agencies. They also have noted that it is only through international cooperation between such agencies that transnational terrorist threats can be countered.
All of the preceding is by way of introduction to this rather interesting book. It is an anecdotal puff piece on the successful response to terrorism developed by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) since 9/11. In fact if read closely this book provides a resounding argument supporting Rumsfled's observation. Because their focus is entirely on protecting New York, the NYPD was able to develop an effective intelligence program that provides direct and timely support to tactical forces. By exercising the street knowledge of beat cops, standard police surveillance and investigative techniques, and the very diversity of New York as mirrored in the NYPD, the force has been able to develop an extremely effective counter-terrorism program. As a local force, the NYPD has been able to conduct operations normally forbidden to federal agencies such as the FBI. In another break with federal level operations the NYPD has developed working relationships with foreign police services around the world. Indeed NYPD has developed an impressive dossier of counter-terrorism tradecraft that is both tested and efficient. It appears to really protect the city.
Indeed if one reviews the history of Islamic inspired terrorist groups since 9/11 around the world, in almost all cases it has been police actions informed by intelligence that have either thwarted terrorist strikes or arrested the perpetrators of the strikes that have occurred. The DHS ought to think seriously about this.
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Initial post: Feb 25, 2009 6:06:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 25, 2009 6:07:49 PM PST
I heard the author on NPR today and this sounds like a very interesting book. I have no doubt it is very good. But it just occurs to me that the entire backstory to this is a bit absurd: New York, like London, has had very, very tolerant (or lax) immigration policies, including letting known terrorists not only live, but even preach in the city. Sheik Rahman was an Egyptian terror cleric, and was a KNOWN terrorist when he received a US visa in Sudan and then not only moved to New York, but preached terror, even though it was very easy to figure out that this guy was a terror mastermind (Rahman is now in federal prison in Minnesota). New York is also a so-called "asylum city", which means that the city does not actively cooperate with the feds to find illegal aliens. This strikes me as really ridiculous. Also, as the author noted, there are 100,000 Yemenis in New York city. And Yemen is one of the MAIN countries that produces the most terrorists (50 % or more of terror suspects in Gitmo are form Yemen). How did 100,000 people from a main terror-sponsoring country end up living in New York ? So now the answer is 1,000 policemen and women in New York, dedicated to counter-terrorism, to make up for the past 20-years of laxity and illusions with respect to immigration. This is also happening in London. So we now have the "modern liberal city": lax on immigration, and then turning into a police state in order to deal with the obvious and growing terror threat.
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