Christie Administration in NJ Concludes NYPD Surveillance Was Legal
As a number of readers are aware, I've had more than my fair share to say about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie of late, much of it on the negative side of the ledger -- although I'd caution that that "ledger" is more about whether he is a "consistent conservative" (no) than about his quality as a governor (above average, particularly for a blue state). So it's necessary to give credit where credit is due: The Christie administration is to be commended for conducting a fair and objective investigation of the New York City Police Department's intelligence gathering efforts in the Garden State, which date back to at least 2007, when Gov. Christie was the state's Bush-appointed U.S. attorney. New Jersey's state Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa has concluded that the NYPD's surveillance activities did not violate state law.
This is one of those situations where the inquiry could easily have been politicized to make the boss look good. Gov. Christie initially blasted the NYPD and got into a public spat with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Congressman Pete King (R., NY). Christie's first statements echoed the CAIR Islamophobia talking points; nevertheless, the governor seemed to tone it down and argue that his quarrel was more with the fact that he had not been informed of the NYPD surveillance (while he was U.S. attorney) than over the fact that the surveillance had happened.
As I've noted, the substantive condemnation of the NYPD's investigative activities is absurd -- it is well established that mosques and Muslim businesses in fundamentalist Islamic communities (not all Muslim communities) have been hubs for the spreading of Islamic supremacist ideology and jihadist plotting. In addition, the governor's "failure to inform" complaint is overwrought because there is immense reason to believe local police in Jersey were informed even if he and the other feds were not. (And if the feds were not, it is because the local Jersey police did not feed the information to the feds, just as the feds and cops in New York don't always share.)
Obviously, the attorney general did not politicize the investigation -- neither he nor the governor appears to have slanted things to bolster the governor's previously expressed concerns. As the Associated Press reports (hat tip, Robert Spencer), the NYPD surveillance was spurred not by bigotry or profiling people just because they were Muslims; the cops were following leads (information or tips regarding suspicious and potentially threatening activity) whenever they investigated in the Garden State.
Given that the AP has spearheaded the jihad against the NYPD, channeling Islamic supremacist organizations like CAIR (which has notorious ties to Hamas and a history of championing terrorists), we should not be surprised to find that the AG's rationale for concluding the surveillance was legal is buried several paragraphs into its story. Nor is it surprising that the story emphasizes the disappointment of Muslim community "leaders" rather than the propriety of the surveillance -- and it is dismaying that state authorities, including the governor and the attorney general, feel the need to go to great "outreach" lengths not to offend these Muslim community activists (whose profession calls for them to be in a constant state of agitation).