After carefully reviewing the lessons of the failures of law enforcement agencies to repel the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly realigned and expanded the Intelligence Division to implement an anticipation and prevention strategy, with the goal of protecting NYC from future attacks. Necessary deployments of capable NYPD personnel overseas were among the steps taken to implement a new and effective post-911 approach to counterterrorism.
Like Mr. Reif, (“They’re cops, not spies,” Letters, March 29) I wish that we could return to the days of compartmentalization, when law enforcement agencies weren’t allowed to cross institutional boundaries, and we lived in a different world. Sadly, when those policies were in effect, U.S. Ambassador Barbara Bodine made the careless and costly mistake of shutting down the Yemeni operations of John P. O’Neill, even though he and his FBI team of over 150 were hot on the trail of Osama bin Laden and the perpetrators of the U.S.S. Cole bombing.
(Author Murray Weiss tells this disheartening story in a 2003 posthumous biography, “The Man Who Warned America, The Life and Death of John O’Neill, The F.B.I.’s Embattled Counterterror Warrior.”)
Since Ms. Bodine was all about power, turf and ego, a great opportunity was lost.
In time, when their stories can be safely told, I am sure that Mr. Reif will also be proud of the very talented, often multilingual, and sometimes Ivy League-educated NYPD detectives, sergeants and lieutenants who serve overseas to help keep NYC safe. Many of Mr. Reif’s concerns are also addressed in Christopher Dickey’s 2009 book, “Securing The City: Inside America’s Best Counterterror Force, the NYPD.”
Just as John Gunther’s “Inside ...” series books opened readers’ eyes several generations ago, Dickey’s book also offers quite a glimpse into new NYPD directions, and furnishes many details on how the Intelligence Division was wisely restructured in the aftermath of 911.