New York Police Department opens a new branch in Kfar Saba, Israel
By End the Lie
In what just might be one of the strangest recent news stories, Israeli news outlets are reporting that the New York Police Department (NYPD) is opening a branch in Kfar Saba, a city in the Sharon region of the Central District of Israel.
Yes, the NYPD, the same department which recently shot nine innocent bystanders in the course of taking out one murderer, employs officers who have detained people for dancing, has thrown an officer in a psychiatric ward for reporting widespread corruption, and even conducted completely illegal spying operations far outside their jurisdiction. The NYPD has also been busted for their widespread illegal surveillance of Muslims, labeling people who film police “professional agitators” and even for falsely inflating their counterterrorism record.
The above are just a few examples among countless others showing the NYPD to be a corrupt, deplorable entity which apparently has no problem with going far beyond the legal limits.
Now the NYPD has made all their past activities look almost reasonable by actually opening up a branch in Israel supposedly in order to strengthen the NYPD’s ties with the Israeli security forces according to the Ma’ariv newspaper (non-translated version here) in Israel.
The Times of Israel reports, “the prestigious police force was looking to cooperate on a daily basis with the Israel Police, one of the main police forces worldwide with which NYPD has strong ties.”
The NYPD’s Israeli branch is to be headed up by veteran NYPD detective Charlie Ben-Naim. Ben-Naim reportedly is of Israeli origin and married a native New Yorker after traveling to New York to study. He later decided to join the NYPD while maintaining close ties to Israel.
According to Al-Monitor, Ben-Naim dealt with a range of responsibilities for the NYPD including “the extradition of criminals, the transmitting of intelligence information and assistance in the location of missing persons, both in the United States and in Israel.”
In concert with the Israeli police, it was decided that Ben-Naim would not work out of the United States embassy but actually “from a building of the Sharon District Police headquarters, situated close to the Kfar Sava station.”
They even went as far as to hang the NYPD sign at the entrance of the district headquarters with one wall bearing a sign reading, “New York Police Department, the best police department in the world.”
One must wonder what a domestic police force in the United States has expanded into a foreign country, but unfortunately it is not just Israel which houses intelligence liaison offices for the NYPD.
Indeed, according to an article published in the SpyTalk blog on The Washington Post in 2010, the NYPD had opened intelligence division liaison offices in a whopping 11 countries.
In the article, the author Jeff Stein noted many concerns about the lack of oversight and accountability for the NYPD officers stationed abroad. Furthermore, he noted the fact that the foundation that actually funds the NYPD intelligence division’s International Liaison Program (ILP) has a striking lack of transparency.
The ILP is actually supported by private donations through the New York Police Foundation and the foundation will not disclose how much they have actually given to the NYPD beyond stating that they sought to raise $1.5 million for the program in 2010 alone.
The NYPD refuses to state if or how much of their $178 million intelligence and counterterrorism budget goes towards placing officers in foreign countries and the New York City Council member himself tasked with police oversight barely knows anything about the ILP.
The council member, Peter Vallone, Jr., doesn’t even know the full budget allocated to the ILP and when asked if it was “fair to say” that he had no idea what the ILP was actually spending he replied, “that’s fair. But my main concern is their use of taxpayer funds here in NYC,” according to Stein.
Leonard Levitt, former veteran police reporter for Newsday, called it “a mini-CIA,” adding, “There are no safeguards to ensure that the NYPD doesn’t break the law.”
Even the former head of the FBI Office of International Operations from 2004 to 2008, Thomas Fuentes, called the ILP “a complete waste of money.”
Laura Rozen puts it well in writing that one of the major concerns is, “that the NYPD intelligence division operates overseas entirely outside the chain of command, or oversight, of US federal agencies.”
Indeed, this is quite troubling and the fact that a domestic police agency is operating overseas seems outright absurd, yet it doesn’t seem to bother anyone enough to actually bring this issue to light and question the legitimacy of the practice.
Hopefully this latest revelation will help push Americans, and especially New Yorkers, to begin demanding increased transparency and scrutiny.
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