Stop Ray Kelly from leading Homeland Security Department

With Janet Napolitano stepping down, some are pushing for the NYPD commissioner to take over. That's a scary idea

Published July 12, 2013 6:43PM (EDT)

Ray Kelly          (AP/Matt Rourke)
Ray Kelly (AP/Matt Rourke)

If you thought Big Brother couldn't possibly get bigger, and if you thought this Dr. Strangelove era couldn't possibly get any Strangelovier, welcome to the debate over the next head of the Department of Homeland Security.

In the midst of disclosures about the Obama administration's sprawling -- and likely illegal -- national security state, the news today is that current Secretary Janet Napolitano is stepping down and that senior Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer is pushing New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly to fill the position. And predictably, from their green room couches, elite media blowhards are already frantically cheering on a potential Kelly nomination.

Lost in the noise is the fact that in the midst of disclosures about the Obama administration's sprawling -- and potentially illegal -- national security state, a Kelly nomination would put a national surveillance apparatus fit for a sci-fi satire in the hands of a comic-book-worthy thug.

Five parts of the police commissioner's record paint a picture of Kelly that seems almost too cartoonish to be accurate. But, alas, it is Kelly's undisputed record:

1. Kelly is the man behind New York City's brutish stop-and-frisk program. According to New York state legislators, Kelly defends the program's disproportionate targeting of people of color by insisting that it is specifically designed to “instill fear in them." Read much more on the practice here.

2. Kelly has helped oversee a collusion between law enforcement and tech companies for the creation of an unparalleled surveillance regime in New York City. As CNN reported, the "crime monitoring system -- developed with Microsoft -- designed to allow law enforcement to better collect data and review the city in real time, using a collection of cameras, license-plate readers and other resources.

3. Kelly forged an unprecedented -- and possibly illegal -- program allowing the Central Intelligence Agency to embed itself in the NYPD for the purpose of domestic surveillance. Despite the CIA being statutorily barred from conducting surveillance inside the United States, Kelly has loyally defended the program.

4. Kelly created a program to target New York's Muslim community for mass surveillance.

5. Kelly insists that law enforcement authorities should be shielded from independent public oversight. Yes, that's right, when confronted with a proposal to follow other cities and create an independent police monitor, Kelly blowtorched the proposal.

Consider this record, and then consider it backed by the resources of not just the New York City police department, but the entire federal Department of Homeland Security. That's what a Kelly nomination to head DHS would represent.

As mentioned before, coming in the context of an already-out-of-control national security state, it's the stuff of a 21st century Strangelove flick. Only it wouldn't be satire -- it would be real life.

By David Sirota

David Sirota is a senior writer for the International Business Times and the best-selling author of the books "Hostile Takeover," "The Uprising" and "Back to Our Future." E-mail him at, follow him on Twitter @davidsirota or visit his website at

MORE FROM David Sirota

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Barack Obama Chuck Schumer D-n.y. Department Of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano Nypd Ray Kelly