Where’s Obama?

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

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The Associated Press has always had a place in the heart of The New York Sun, in whose newsroom the wire was founded in 1845. The publisher of the Sun at the time, Moses Yale Beach, was the AP’s prime organizer. The cooperative wire wasn’t his only invention; Beach secretly built the first subway in New York. Moved by pneumatic power, it traveled a block. For all our affection, though, it’s hard to imagine the visionary editor, a booster and defender of New York, countenancing two centuries later the AP’s campaign against the intelligence operation the city has launched to protect itself against the next attack by radical Islamists.

The AP started its series on the eve of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. It issued a long expose suggesting the NYPD has been overly aggressive in pursuing our enemies. It was particularly upset that the police had entered a partnership with the Central Intelligence Agency that, in the wire’s view, has “blurred the line between foreign and domestic spying.” We said at the time that right reaction to the story is would be to “stand the police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, up in a prominent position and drape him with the highest medals our city and our nation can bestow.” We don’t take any great credit for that view; it’s widely shared.

The latest chapter in the AP’s saga concerns its discovery that the NYPD has ranged far and wide in its search for suspects. It has kept an eye on some Muslim Student Associations, in some cases going even into Connecticut and New Jersey, from the latter of which came the van used in the first bombing of the World Trade Center. The AP has run so many stories on what it sees as a scandal that we found ourselves wondering in recent days why President Obama hasn’t joined the bi-partisan chorus that has been defending the NYPD and its commissioner, Raymond Kelley. These have included among others both Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Schumer and the ex-officer of the Navy who edits the editorial page of the New York Post, Robert MacManus. Of Commissioner Kelly, Senator Schumer was quoted by the Daily News as saying: “I don’t think he has a bigoted bone in his body.”

So where is the White House? One would think President Obama would put in a word for the NYPD — particularly because it turns out that the NYPD operations against terror are funded in part by federal money. But the attorney general is now suggesting he’ll start looking into the matter. The best the White House has managed so far is to point out that it doesn’t control how the NYPD spends the federal money it gets. The way the AP characterized the White House statement was to say that Jay Carney, the spokesman, said the White House “has no control over how the New York Police Department spends millions of dollars in White House grants that helped pay for NYPD programs that put entire American Muslim neighborhoods under surveillance.” What a weak way to defend the leadership of New York implementing a federal program in a time of war.


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