Soon-To-Be-Ex-Police Commissioner Ray Kelly Will Join the Council on Foreign Relations

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Ray Kelly
We all wondered how Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would spend his time after January 1, when new mayor Bill de Blasio is sworn in, and Kelly's replacement, Bill Bratton, takes his spot. Golfing with Michael Bloomberg in Bermuda? Freelance stop-and-frisking? In a New York magazine profile published earlier this month, the commissioner waxed mysterious, telling the magazine: "I mean, I'm going to remain active and employed, and I can't go into much more because lawyers have advised me not to talk about it, conflict of interest, that sort of thing. But this has been a great job. I couldn't stay, anyway, I understand that. But people had told me, 'Well, you'll know when it's time to go.' Well, it's time to go."

And now we know what that means: this morning, the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank with a focus on global politics, announced that Kelly will join them as a "distinguished visiting fellow." The CFR says Kelly will begin work with the organization in early January at its New York HQ, where he'll focus on "counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and other national security issues."

CFR president Richard N. Haass is quoted as saying, "Ray Kelly spearheaded the modernization of the New York Police Department. The result is that crime is down and the NYPD's counterterrorism capabilities are second to none. We are excited and proud to have his experience, expertise, and judgment at the Council."

The CFR has always been an interesting mix of politicians and big-deal businesspeople; the board members right now include former Clinton and Bush II officials (both Colin Powell and Madeline Albright are board members), executives from financial institutions like Morgan Stanley and the Blackstone group, and prominent media figures, including Tom Brokaw and Fareed Zakaria.

The think tank has always been very, very kind to Kelly; in a 2009 forum on the post 9/11 NYPD, board member James D. Zirin called him a "visionary", credited him with reducing violent crime, and declared, "No police commissioner in our history has been as qualified as Ray Kelly at the time he took office." The same year, an "expert brief" put out by the CFR called the NYPD a "counterterrorism model," adding, "The counterterrorism program the NYPD developed gave new meaning to the phrase, 'think globally, act locally.' It has become the most global of local police forces."

Kelly and the NYPD have yet to comment publicly on his new appointment.

The full press release from the Council on Foreign Relations is reprinted on the following page.

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