Mayor Bloomberg On Muslim Surveillance Critics: 'It's a Made-For-Television Thing'

Bloomberg at press conference.jpg
Sam Levin
The loud critics of the New York Police Department's practice of spying on Muslims are speaking out because it's good publicity.

That's what Mayor Mike Bloomberg said this morning on his weekly radio show with John Gambling.

"You know, it's a made-for-television thing. It gets you publicity. If you want to talk, there's somebody willing to stick a microphone or a camera in front of you and put it on the air. I don't know how much of it's that," said the mayor, who has continued to shoot down criticisms coming at him from different places, including other governments, civil rights groups, and universities.

These latest comment comes on the heels of Attorney General Eric Holder calling the surveillance "disturbing," and announcing that the Justice Department is beginning to review the practice.

The mayor went on to defend the NYPD's relationship with other jurisdictions. "I thought...Mueller, the FBI director Robert Mueller, said...the NYPD has done a remarkable job protecting New York City -- and so one of his guys in Newark said something different," he said. "Every agency at every level of government would like to be involved. And so, you know, if you have a big case, everybody rushes to get on board."

"Oh, do you think that's what the issue is in New Jersey maybe?" Gambling interjected.

"No," Bloomberg responded, "but I think there is always that tension."

It's about pride -- and that can be a good thing, he continued.

"But to say that the NYPD and the FBI and the CIA don't work together is ridiculous. They work as seamlessly together. You are well served, I can just tell you that. Do they each have their own pride? Sure. It's like Police and Fire in New York City. You've got two groups that have this enormous pride, can-do attitude. They want to be the front guy. They want to be the first one in. That's a healthy tension. You want to make sure it doesn't get out of hand. You want to make sure that in the end they work together -- and they do," he said.

"In all fairness to Governor [Chris] Christie and Mayor [Cory] Booker, sometimes the communications within my...administration, or their administration, is never as perfect as you'd like it to be," he continued. "There's lots of times I said, 'We did what? We knew what?' You can't know everything. If you run a government where everything has to get to the top guy, you can't run it. Things are too big to do that."

Bloomberg also pointed to this op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that defends the NYPD.

Muslims in the city want this surveillance, he added.

"The Muslim groups that I have talked to in the last few weeks -- to say 'all' I think is very close to being accurate -- they keep saying, 'Look, we don't want to be out there, you know, getting involved in this. We should just keep our heads down. But we do not need another terrorist attack.'...They have as big a vested interest in staying safe. They're Americans. They're citizens. They have kids. They have the same aspirations that you and I do. They contribute to our society, and they want to be safe."

[SamTLevin / @SamTLevin]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.


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4 comments
TaraLGragg
TaraLGragg

God I miss Palm Beach. There they put the Jews under surveillance and invite the Arabs to The Red Cross Ball.

TaraLGragg
TaraLGragg

The issue Mr. Bloomberg is: that most Americans loathe and detest living in the Big Brother Nanny City you have created, and further the creepy unwelcome cameras. Most of us are more likely to die a billion other ways than the boogey man created terrorist threat. I guess you assume we all would like to live in Israel.

None
None

"I think" " So , if some Muslims are opposing this surveillance , they just confirm , that NYPD actually has a point and these communities are need to be watched closely"

Dear Muilly, ignorant individuals who have had lobotomies and as a result are incapable of reaching a valid conclusion (i.e. don't have the brainpower to "think") shouldn't subject the public to their prattle....

Mullly
Mullly

I think mayor is absolutely correct here , and believe me , I have never supported THIS. Mayor before . But this time he nailed it ! I agree with him 100%. Don't forget , NYPD is the only police department in a country that really fights terrorism . So we have to give them a full green light to watch the communities , that potentially could generate the most terrorist threat . So , if some Muslims are opposing this surveillance , they just confirm , that NYPD actually has a point and these communities are need to be watched closely . I actually disagree with Bloomberg that they're good citizens , as right now they use all the mass media to attract attention to themselves and causing a lot of confusing this way . Also they don't let police and city goverment to work normally , meaning they don't care for public safety . In my opinion that doesn't make them good citizens . They need to reconsider and let NYPD to do their job .

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