Congressman Pete King, hosting John Gambling’s radio show this morning, interviewed New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly about the recent criticism the NYPD has received over its extensive surveillance of Muslim businesses and mosques. Both the interviewer and interviewee blasted the media for calling the NYPD’s actions “spying.”
“I just wish the media would show some responsibility and use the words ‘surveillance’ or ‘police investigation’ rather than ‘spying.’ To use that term, to be accusing you of ‘spying,’ is, to me, really offensive,” Mr. King said, asking Mr. Kelly what he thought of the issue.
“It’s a pejorative term, it sells well,” Mr. Kelly responded. “They forget we’ve the subject of 14 plots since 9/11 … We’ve been lucky. We just have been lucky.”
Mr. King also discussed the political implications of the debate. He said the “spying” rhetoric “puts a cloud over what you’re trying to do. That’s why I worry about the campaign and whoever the next mayor happens to be, if it’s against the back drop of ‘spying’ charges.”
Over the weekend, Azi Paybarah looked into where the 2013 mayoral contenders stood on the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims, and found them largely vague on the issue. Of the candidates, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer was the strongest critic, specifically calling the reports “troubling.”
In the interview, Mr. King indicated he would unlikely to be a big fan of Mr. Stringer’s on another issue as well. Immediately after the “spying” discussion, Mr. King castigated an unnamed City Councilman for saying residents in his community “are more frightened by the NYPD than they are of drug dealers,” something Mr. Stringer recently said almost exactly word for word as well.
“Pandering is going on, that is the season that we’re entering now,” Mr. Kelly replied, dismissing the issue.