April 21st, 2013
02:13 PM ET

NYPD Commissioner: Availability of guns, other materials concerning

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Fareed speaks with New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly about the lessons from the attack in Boston this week, and how New York law enforcement is working to protect the city.

Congressman Peter King says that what we need, what this Boston marathon attack proves is we need a more aggressive and explicit targeting, or targeting investigation of America's Muslim communities. Would you agree with that?

Well, I certainly wouldn't single out a community, but what we do is follow leads wherever those leads take us. As I said, we've been targeted 16 times, a combination of good work on the part of the federal government, NYPD, and sheer luck we haven't been attacked. But we will follow leads wherever those leads take us, irrespective of the community that we're talking about.

But the vast majority of those attacks did come from people who would have been Muslim radicals, Islamic radicals?

That's correct, yes.

And as a result of that, presumably, the NYPD had a program of listening in on mosques, infiltrating communities. And last August, in court testimony, however, your department asserted or acknowledged that, in six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloging mosques, it did not generate a single lead…

That’s incorrect information. Basically, and I know this is somewhat detailed, but we have a stipulation, the Handschu agreement, that's been in place since 1984, which limits our ability to investigate political entities.

In 2002 we petitioned the court to change that so we could do a more effective job in investigating terrorism. And in fact the court did that. And it said, particularly, we could do three things. We could go to any public meeting that the public is invited to. We can go to any website the public has access to. And we can do reports and analysis that will enable us to have context as to what's going on in a particular area, particular neighborhood. And that's precisely what was done with our reports.

More from CNN: In Boston, life edges back to normal

So this is the most diverse city in the world, which, by the way, we have the most diverse police department in the world, too. It's something that I'm very proud of. But it's a complex environment, 8.4 million people. We wanted to know more about the neighborhoods that we were policing. And that's the report that we did.

The so-called Demographics Unit – since changed the name, Area Survey Unit – but that's what you're reporting about. And it was never put in place to generate leads. It was put in place for us to have contextual information about what's going on in the city. So…people will say that, well, you have these people, you know, it's not generating leads. Believe me, we generate leads in a lot of other ways, but not from that particular unit.

How important is it to have the cooperation of the Muslim community? Because one thing I'm struck by, in so many of these cases, it is citizen activism, or citizens who report things. So the Times Square bomber, the police was a block away, but it was a local vendor who tips you off. In this case, it appears that Jeff Bauman, this guy who got his legs blown off, immediately said "I want to tell you something, I saw this guy dropping a bag off." So is it really important that there be a cooperative relationship between a police department or federal law authorities and these communities that you're looking at?

Sure. And I think we have a very strong working relationship with, certainly, the Muslim community. I have a group that I meet with on a regular basis of opinion-formers in the Muslim community. We have back-and-forth, give-and-take. I go to many community meetings. We have very strong working relationships in the communities throughout the city. This is a complex environment, a complex city. And I would say our commanders, our community officers are – and I've been in the police department a long time – our relationships are better now, in my judgment, than they have ever been.

You'll always have some tension, some friction. It's the nature of police work that you're going to have some give- and-take. But we have strong working relationships. And, you know, we are proud of that, and we work to foster that.

Final thought: You have alienated young men, radicalized young men. Is the easy accessibility of guns and other instruments of destruction something that worries you?

Yes, absolutely. You know, we're concerned. We sent a team to Mumbai and we got very granular information very quickly. And that's what we do with officers that we have assigned throughout the world, go to the scenes of terrorist events, bring back information to help us better protect the city.

But if you look at the events in Mumbai, they were done with very, very simple weapons. And clearly, we know, in this country, the proliferation of weapons. We have about 300 million guns that are abroad in our country. So, yes, it's a concern. If you look at the bombs that were used in Boston, very simple to make…So the proliferation of weapons, handguns, rifles and certainly bomb-making and bomb-making materials, made out of ordinary even household items is very much a concern for us.

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Topics: Terrorism • United States

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soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. vonrock

    We could go to any public meeting that the public is invited to.
    We can go to any website the public has access to.
    And we can do reports and analysis that will enable us to have context as to what's going on in a particular area
    Transparency ? open the doors and let them in

    April 21, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  2. ug

    Now the gun bs stays in the lime light...this was all staged by Ovomit...

    April 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Reply
    • SigmundFreud

      Find yourself a good psychiatrist. You need one, very badly. And don't forgot to take your medicine.

      April 21, 2013 at 3:08 pm | Reply
      • puddintane

        How about you come up with an on-topic retort thats not so totally hokey and stale?

        April 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
      • Simon

        pudd, why not find someone that is not insane to defend?

        April 21, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
      • j. von hettlingen

        Indeed, SigmundFreund, you should conduct psychoanalysis on these young immigrants, haunted by old memories of their nations of origin and help them face new challenges in their adopted countries.
        Radicalisation is often the result of marginalisation. If these unemployed youngsters feel neglected and embittered, well see what happens in the Middle East.

        April 22, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • a

      wow, are you really believing your words?

      April 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  3. Brian Merritt

    The Boston Marathon attack was with bombs made with pressure cookers packed with ball bearings, nails and explosives.This type of device is to produce maximum carnage. Cluster bombs have hundreds of smaller bomblets also filled with explosive fragmentation to produce similar results on "softer" targets. Children in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon have picked up and played with these colorful unexploded devices thinking they were toys, only to have them explode in their hands causing bodily harm and death. Afghan civilians continue to die in targeted missile attacks from U.S. drones, for which there is relatively brief media coverage, unlike the 24/7 coverage of the past few days in Boston and its environments.
    We do feel sorry for the casualties of Boston, but do we have any sympathy for those civilians who have suffered losses due to the indiscriminate use of cluster bombs and drones? Something has gone awry with our sense of proportions.

    April 21, 2013 at 3:06 pm | Reply
    • longtooth

      Of course we feel sorry for the deaths and injuries of innocents in Afghanistan and Iraq. That's precisely the difference between us and the taliban and their cohorts. How can you not see the difference?

      April 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Reply
      • joe

        so it's ok to kill innocents as long as you are sorry afterwards?

        April 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
    • Melvin Sterne

      The United States does not use cluster bombs, and has never used them in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere. Research your facts. The Russians used cluster bombs in Afghanistan. We do not use them.

      April 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Reply
      • Doug c.

        Where do you get the idea we don't use cluster munitions? Better tell the State Deoartment, because they think we still use them as a humane alternative to a "larger unitary device" in certain operations.

        April 21, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
      • Brian Merritt

        Go to

        April 22, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • TommyB

      Where is your sympathy for the troops and volunteers who are murdered daily just trying to supply the sick and hungry with food and medical help in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon ?

      April 21, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Reply
    • strangways

      do you have sympathy for the young school girls getting acid thrown in their faces by the Muslim "warriors" for trying to get an education? How about for the doctors and aid workers, killed in Pakistan trying to prevent diseases that have been eradicated everywhere else? Has America made some battlefield mistakes – of course – but we're fighting an enemy that has zero regard for human life and brutalizes the local populace whenever and wherever they are in control.

      April 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Reply
    • K.K.

      Agreed. There are lots of tragic things going on that deserve attention and claims of responsibility. But sadly, most people are not aware of them, and only few are interested in them since these things don't happen within our reach of sight. Since those tragedies were not inflicted on us, no emotions are invoked. Hence, there is less incentive for the media to engage in such stories. And because there's less coverage, lesser people know about them. This cycle feeds itself.

      April 22, 2013 at 2:03 am | Reply
      • david


        April 22, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • AS

      The issue of unexploded ordinance in former war zones is global, not just in Iraq & Afghanistan, which is the reason for the 2008 Dublin Convention Agreement.

      April 22, 2013 at 7:35 am | Reply
  4. anonymous

    Is it possible that the more we focus on the issue of terror the more we fuel the fires of those who act irrationally.

    April 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • a

      sooo.....just turn a blind eye to terror? you think that will cause less?! i think not

      April 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm | Reply
      • InMyHappyPlace

        Nope. Just stop sensationalizing it. They love the carnage they create almost as much as the fear they put in people. And I don't doubt that they do either. But they learned a long time ago that they love to see it in the news too. We empower them by showing the fear of the people and the carnage day after day after day. Stop playing into their hands.

        April 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
      • Adam

        Question.... the gun issue is being raised elsewhere...(in various debates) but notice why the gun issue is not raised in the Boston bombing case? There were two reports ..one that Tamerlan engaged the police in a firefight and fired at them. Then cnn.reported that the younger brother Dzokhar fired at police from boat. Where did they get the guns and the hundred of rounds of ammo (fired by Tamerlan) from? or is it that both the reports are falsely planted stories... to justify the heroism of some cops firing indiscriminately hundreds of rounds. It was reported that bombs were easy to make and they even threw some (home made) bombs at police that (miraculously) exploded, while they were trying to escape. A lot of the details dont add up. Farid Zakaria is not keen enough to catch them and do an investigative report

        April 21, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
      • Craig

        I agree that we need to stop sensationalizing the terror attacks.
        All of the news last week, and in the weeks that will come, is exactly what they are after.
        Had there not been one death or even no injuries, people hiding in their homes and cops searching them was the terrorists' win.

        April 22, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • mysensetwo

      Like before 9/11 you mean...?

      April 22, 2013 at 12:58 am | Reply
  5. EdwardTr

    @Fareed You as “How important is it to have the cooperation of the Muslim community? Because one thing I'm struck by, in so many of these cases” and then you give two examples that have nothing to do with cooperation of Muslim community? Ok the vendor was most likely a Muslim but that still does not correlate to the question directly.

    April 21, 2013 at 3:25 pm | Reply
  6. sickofitall

    This kind of sympathy/guilt trip we have for monitoring Muslim communities is ridiculous. You go where the enemy is. If you were trying to gather intelligence on the operations of MS13, you would probably be mostly investigating in Hispanic neighborhoods. If you were trying to keep tabs and infiltrate a white supremacist group, people would by and far have no problem with it. Whites wouldn't have to be approached for their cooperation, there would not be any " committee " that law enforcement would have to appease for cooperation. American Muslims should be tripping over themselves with assisting law enforcement. This however is rarely the case, its not like theses terrorists are going to bomb a mosque or something.
    Are you an American or are you something else living in America!

    April 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm | Reply
  7. JAL

    Cold War deja vu to an intermittent and slight degree. Now is a good time to be better educated on this very important time in US history.

    April 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  8. InMyHappyPlace

    I really don't see the purpose in this article except that someone in NYC did not like not being in the spotlight.

    "As I said, we've been targeted 16 times, a combination of good work on the part of the federal government, NYPD, and sheer luck we haven't been attacked." WHAT?!?!?!?! You haven't been attacked? Seriously? The World Trade Center was attacked once in the parking garage and the second time by flying commercial jetliners into it. The article even mentions the Time Square Bomber who luckily did not succeed. So what do you call being attacked? Total annihilation?

    The best weapon the Muslim community in NYC has had is the courts. They use them against the city every time you attempt to go after them. Partially because you go against our own laws thinking you can get away with it.

    I'm glad I moved out of NYC years ago. I don't think I could support that ego anymore.

    April 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  9. Terry

    Vender? Illiterate Fareed Zakaria ...

    April 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  10. uncdig

    Another paid polictical announcement courtesy of the Prez & his stooges – this article basically reported on nothing but gave him the stage to cry about their failed attempts at gun control.

    Come on – let's get some real reporting. Oh wait that would require real reporters

    April 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm | Reply
    • wrm

      What, NYC fussy about not being in the spotlight? Or that the rest of the country didn't fall in line what your "gun control" nonsense?

      April 21, 2013 at 6:59 pm | Reply
  11. wjm

    Its proven to be a very hard task to find those in the .uslim community who act without conscience to manipulate young people and then have them carry out these heinous acts not necessarily in the name of Mohammed, whoever is doing this doesn't think its important that the people who carry out this carnage are muslim, as long as the acts are carried out, seems to be the main thing. With the four young men from Canada two were raised muslim and two were raised in christian homes. Three of the four of them took part in the attack at the gas plant in Algeria. One is in prison their for taking part in radical islamic causes. Their was no mosque where these four people who came from the same high-school went to be turned, this was an Islamic leader working on his own or online. I personally think it was someone in their home town. If enough of these leaders are out there an are good enough to turn this young men into killers, then it does imply that those in the muslim community help law enforcement find these people before they can do this again and again. It also means more parents have to listen to their children, even when they don't seem like children anymore. We all remember how effective Charles Manson was in getting people to kill. Jim Jones and his koolaid was another one. Their are people in every walk of society are susceptible to others taking advantage of their longing for a place to belong or to fit in.


    April 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm | Reply
    • Jay

      wjm. Please use punctuation. I'd like to know what you are saying, but I shouldn't have to work at interpreting it to do so.

      April 21, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Reply
  12. Angel 1

    If any crisis hits NYC now, it would be a greater disaster. Bloomberg let St Vincents Hospital be shut down – the major care center for wtc victims. He's reduced major avenues like 8th and 9th Ave by cutting out one lane, putting in traffic islands, and bike lane (rarely used); he's reduced roads around parks (ie: times square, etc). All this has created more congestion. ( Guess its a tactic to get the 'congestion tax' he asked for in his last administration.). Even cops are p*ssed with this corporate politician.)
    Meanwhile, veterans today and former CIA confirm the Bush WH gang and Silverstein planned 9/11. Is Bloomie doing anything to bring these criminals into courts? No. Judge who awarded Silverstein the billions on WTC insurance claim was a Bush appointee. The stench of treason keeps growing.

    April 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Reply
  13. Fear not!

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

    April 21, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  14. J Howard

    The NYPD police chief is lying...the Mumbai attackers used fully automatic weapons and hand grenades in their attack...these are not 'simple' weapons and are reserved for our military forces or someone with a special federal license to own a machine gun.
    He never loses a chance to come for our guns...

    April 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Reply
  15. bryan

    Honestly, the people locked in their homes in Boston were either happy they had a gun wishing they did

    April 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Reply
    • howlyn


      April 22, 2013 at 2:50 am | Reply
  16. JAL

    Fasting and prayer is the best reaction.

    April 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Reply
  17. rightospeak

    A lot of b.s. , but little about what is going on. Totalitarian state and armed populace are not compatable and it is all about trying to get guns away from people so that insane endless wars continue, the robbing of the American public can continue without the criminals going to jail. There is little talk about our mentally ill being left out to run the streets and we call ourselves civilized.

    No news about our war criminals ? Really ?

    April 21, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  18. howlyn

    The Muslims are disgusting cretins who should be singled out for investigation

    April 22, 2013 at 2:49 am | Reply
  19. Muin

    Profiling didn't start in U.S after some muslim attacks. I don't think anyone can stop profiling because current leaders of law enforcement leaders are product of former FBI leader J. Edgar hoover who was notorious for harrasing african americans. I agree with you guys that profiling doesn't seem to stop any attack. it's just a thing that they learnt to do at their academy.

    April 22, 2013 at 3:07 am | Reply
  20. boyamidumb

    Giving up our freedoms in the name of "protection" real or imagined. It wil not be easily regained. It is an old story.

    April 22, 2013 at 7:08 am | Reply
  21. Brian Merritt

    Check out:www.hrw.org/news/2003/04/01/us-using-cluster-munitions-iraq.

    April 22, 2013 at 11:46 am | Reply
  22. 100 % ETHIO

    Is it better to install a traffic light, after death occurred? Or..., before death occurred?

    If the Law enforcement Agents and concerned American Citizens, were trained and prepared appropriately, the tragedy in Boston and shutting-down its entire City, would never happened.

    Next...., they will keep going by examples again.

    April 22, 2013 at 11:59 am | Reply

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