AP’s latest NYPD smear
- Last Updated: 10:19 PM, February 27, 2012
- Posted: 10:17 PM, February 27, 2012
Of all the cheesy stunts The Associated Press has pulled in its continuing calumny of the NYPD’s anti-terrorism efforts, the agency’s trip to Columbia University this past weekend will be hard to top.
Finding Columbia kids who disapprove of the NYPD in general isn’t a high-degree-of-difficulty task; ask about “spying” on Muslim students and the knees really start to jerk.
“It’s disgusting,” Dina Morris, a freshman from Amherst, Mass., told the agency — never mind that the AP has yet to show that New York City’s post-9/11 anti-terror surveillance program has been illegal, improper or even unwise.
Still, when anyone needs a barking seal, Columbia is where to go.
Wasn’t it just a year ago that the university’s best and brightest were publicly mocking a disabled Purple Heart vet of the Iraq war who wanted only to bring ROTC back to Morningside Heights?
Columbia is also where they keep the Pulitzers in the off-season; American journalism’s most treasured self-affirmation program is more or less run from the university’s J-school. Since the awards are soon to be presented, and since the AP’s lust for one is almost comically transparent, its show-the-flag campus visit is wholly unsurprising.
Of course, whether a supposedly nuts-and-bolts news-gathering agency should be in the advocacy business in any form is open to question. But the AP is, big-time (its Albany report is close to useless), and so the relevant question now is this: Has the crusade produced anything of value?
Heat? Yes. Light? No.
Strip away the emotive rhetoric and what’s left is a series of stories over several weeks that show pretty clearly that the NYPD works very hard to keep the city safe — operating an aggressive and imaginative program, but staying well within both the law and the bounds of post-9/11 propriety from beginning to end.
At least twice in the decade before the NYPD program began, Islamist sleeper agents attacked New York City. The first time, six people died; the second, thousands.
Since then, the department has disrupted a number of Islamist-initiated plots; there is no way of telling how many more were never undertaken because the city is so aggressively anti-terrorist. And there have been no terror-related fatalities since 9/11.
That could change tomorrow — presumably the AP’s Pulitzer prospects would tail off sharply if it did — but that would prove only that there are no guarantees in counterterrorism.
There is plenty of hard work, though, of the sort that inevitably generates resentment. No one wants to be thought disloyal.
But the region’s Muslim communities demonstrably have harbored individuals whose loyalties lie elsewhere — the first World Trade Center bombers and the blind sheik who inspired them lived in Jersey City, and many of the 9/11 hijackers hid out in New Jersey as that plot unfolded.
And all of those involved in the 14 NYPD-busted plots have been local.
So attention must be paid — an especially difficult task now that technology offers such a dazzling array of new ways to indulge ancient, lethal hatreds.
The Associated Press seems not to understand this — or, more likely — to much care about it.
It will win its prizes, or not. But to the extent that its activities undermine a great city’s will to protect itself from proven enemies, it may someday have much for which to answer.
Or, at least, on its collective conscience.Follow @NYPostOpinion