*Updated 1/24/10 1:30 AM
** Updated 1/24/10 1:00 PM
*** Updated 1/25/10 2:30 PM
New York City’s Police Commissioner Ray Kelly addressed the New York Young Republican Club on Thursday. Two hundred and fifty members of the organization were in attendance and mainly peppered the commissioner with questions regarding the upcoming 9/11 terror trials that are to be staged in lower Manhattan.
When asked how the decision for the trials to be hosted in New York came about, Commisioner Kelly’s response produced gasps among audience members (h/t Loud Citizen).:
“We were not consulted,” Kelly said tersely of the decision. He stated that the trial “will raise the threat level of this city,” a threat that “will not fade any time soon.” And it affects more than lower Manhattan, we learned. “We will have to look at the entire city as a potential target.”
Commissioner Kelly also hinted that the terror trials could potentially be scrapped. He mentioned a recent Newsweek piece by Michael Isikoff discussing this issue. Moreover, lower Manhattan’s Community Board 1 may very well veto the idea of the trials being held in their neighborhood.
New York pols including: Senator Chuck Schumer (D - NY), New York’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I -R), Rep. Jerry Nadler (D - NY)and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D - NY) support the Obama administration’s action to have the trials held in New York City. Mr. Bloomberg recently rejected the idea of moving the trials to Governors Island. Mr. Nadler defended his position on the terror trials back in November on MSNBC. Ultimately, the Justice Department’s Attorney General Eric Holder was the main decision- maker for the terror trials’ New York location. The question remains, though, why did Mr. Holder keep the NYPD out of the loop on this critical decision?
New York Young Republican Club President Lynn Krogh confirmed Commissioner Kelly’s remarks and told the Washington Times Water Cooler,:
“We were honored to have Commissioner Kelly address our members. We, alongside all New Yorkers and Americans, are proud to have the best police force in the world. We are fortunate to have the men and women of the NYPD to protect us throughout the upcoming terror trials under the steadfast leadership of Commissioner Kelly. We urge Congress and the Obama administration to stand up for our country and fund the protection of our great city.”
The NYYRC documented on their website that Mayor Bloonmberg was also kept in the dark on the initial decision making for the location of the terror trials.:
“One of the discussion points during the meeting related to the upcoming trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and four other 9/11 conspirators in NYC. No public information has been disclosed as to when those trials will occur, however, law enforcement will be given a 45 day notice for final preparations. In response to a question, it was surprising to hear that the Justice Department’s decision for holding the trials was not made in consultation with the major stakeholders, such as Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly, nor were any prior discussions held to mitigate possible concerns. Rather, city leaders were informed on the morning of November 14th, 2009, the day this decision was made public. Nevertheless, it is evident that the NYPD is preparing for security and is more than capable of addressing any possible threats.”
Senator Schumer and Mayor Bloomberg have already requested federal funds to finance the security measures surrounding the trials which could cost as much as $200 million a year.