FBI Approves NYPD's Intelligence Vault

By Matthew Harwood

After six years of waiting, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has been given the green light  by the FBI to create a classified-information vault, according to The Washington Post.

The vault, known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), is a room where sensitive information can be "stored, discussed, and processed," reports Newsday.

The NYPD's request came after the attacks of 9-11 when Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly decided it was time to end the department's reliance on the FBI for classified information while simultaneously building up its own intelligence- gathering abilities.

The Post reports the NYPD's efforts have been successful, creating an intelligence apparatus that rivals the government's:

Working largely on its own, the NYPD has transformed an unmarked Brooklyn warehouse into a counterterrorism center with a national and global reach. In a second facility in Manhattan, the department runs undercover operations, recruits spies, and houses intelligence analysts.

Inside police headquarters is a high-tech situation room where rows of computer monitors give off a moody blue light and floor-to-ceiling television screens beam images from around the world. It is staffed 24 hours a day with officers tracking local and international threats, as well as the movements of as many as a dozen NYPD detectives on foreign assignments .... Successes include the arrest in 2004 of two Muslim men on charges of plotting to blow up a subway station near the Republican National Convention, and the arrest and deportation in 2003 of two Iranian men who were filming a subway track in Queens, Cohen said. The former probe, in which one of the men pleaded guilty and the other received a 30-year prison term, was based on a year of undercover work by one of Cohen's top detectives.

The NYPD even has 70 Arabic speakers, so many that it lends some to the Defense Department and foreign intelligence services.

The Post notes that while the NYPD's initial efforts to build up its intelligence efforts were looked upon with disdain by the FBI, the two law enforcement organizations have cooperated in recent years with the government giving the NYPD $100 million in counterterrorism funds.



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