By Jim Kouri
U.S. House Democrats are ignoring calls by Republican lawmakers for them to offer an apology to the New York City Police Department for backing an amendment that effectively rebuked the NYPD over its counterterrorism surveillance and investigative techniques.
The formal rebuke of the NYPD, which failed to pass this week on a mostly party-line vote, would have punished the 40,000-member law enforcement department by prohibiting funding for police and security organizations engaged in alleged unconstitutional or unlawful discrimination.
GOP Rep, Peter King (R-NY) — chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee — and Rep. Bob Turner (R-PA) called the vote shameful, while several police officials told the Law Enforcement Examiner that the Democrats “stayed true to form.”
“The Democrats obtain campaign contributions from groups like CAIR and other Islamic organizations and they in turn protect them from the ‘big bad cops,’” said one anonymous police officer who works in the NYPD’s Arson & Explosion Unit.
While the amendment would apply to any jurisdiction in the nation, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) who sponsored the legislation made it clear that he was targeting the NYPD, especially those divisions and units tasked with combating terrorism.
“Holt did not even have official information on the allegations made against the New York cops. He was using stories gleaned from news organizations, such as the Associated Press, and complaints made by groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations — a group that always complains whenever cops attempt to protect Americans from radical Islamic terrorists,” said former New York police detective and military intelligence officer Mike Snopes.
“Holt practically scolded the NYPD saying they infiltrated neighborhoods because they were Muslim,” Snopes said. “That congressman sitting safely in his heavily guarded workplace should be praising the NYPD.”
In an official statement promulgated on Saturday by Reps. King and Turner, the congressmen rebuked Holt for his “politically-motivated” statements and condemned Democrat congressmen for supporting the amendment — the measure failed on a 232-193 vote, with only Democrats supporting it.
“We are utterly dumbfounded and shocked that after such a slanderous attack, the overwhelming majority of congressional Democrats and the entire Democratic leadership voted for the Holt amendment and against the NYPD,” Rep. King said. “The Democrats owe New York and the NYPD an explanation for their shameful surrender to political correctness.”
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and city officials, as well as King and Turner, have defended the department’s tactics as effective and perfectly legal. Their tactics also have not been found to be unconstitutional, meaning Holt’s amendment might not have had much practical effect on the NYPD’s funding.
Holder and Democrats screaming for blood?
New York’s Police Commissioner Ray Kelly — arguably the best police commander in that city’s history — continues to defend the tactics, calling them legal and necessary. But groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are practically screaming for blood, said former NYPD police detective Sid Franes.
“What the NYPD officials did in New York and New Jersey, they’ve also done overseas in countries such as the United Kingdom, India, Indonesia, and others,” said Franes. “They are collecting intelligence not investigating and arresting suspects. And they’re not using drones to spy on American citizens the way the feds do,” he added.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric Holder had told U.S. senators that he was disturbed by what he’s read about the New York Police Department conducting undercover and surveillance operations targeting mosques and Islamic student organizations in New Jersey.
Holder was testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee when New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat, asked about the NYPD spying operation in New Jersey.
While most of the operations were conducted within New York, NYPD officials admitted some of the operations led them outside of New York State and into New Jersey, which angered politicians such as Lautenberg, and received condemnation from some FBI officials, who claimed “the surveillance damaged relations with Muslims and weakened national security.”