Here’s a spooky story: The Central Intelligence Agency has once again called unwanted attention to its clandestine collaboration with the New York Police Department, a relationship that was fortified after 9/11 and led to special NYPD surveillance of the city’s Muslim communities, as it has come to the notice of select lawmakers and media outlets that an experienced CIA operative has spent the last three months at the NYPD serving as special assistant to the deputy commissioner of intelligence. Right. Now what does that mean? —KA
NBC New York:
The arrangement surrounding the newly arrived CIA officer has been portrayed differently than that of his predecessor. When first asked by the AP, a senior U.S. official described the posting as a sabbatical, a program aimed at giving the man in New York more management training.
Testifying at City Hall recently, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the CIA operative provides his officers “with information, usually coming from perhaps overseas.” He said the CIA operative provides “technical information” to the NYPD but “doesn’t have access to any of our investigative files.”
CIA Director David Petraeus has described him as an adviser, someone who could ensure that information was being shared.
But the CIA already has someone with that job. At its large station in New York, a CIA liaison shares intelligence with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, which has hundreds of NYPD detectives assigned to it. And the CIA did not explain how, if the officer doesn’t have access to NYPD files, he is getting management experience in a division built entirely around collecting domestic intelligence.
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, mischaracterized him to Congress as an “embedded analyst” — his office later quietly said that was a mistake — and acknowledged it looked bad to have the CIA working so closely with a police department.