NYPD: CIA officer leaving department in April

AP News
Posted: Jan 27, 2012 5:19 PM
NYPD: CIA officer leaving department in April

The CIA officer working as a special assistant to the New York Police Department's top intelligence officer will leave his post in April after nine months, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday.

The department was notified of the planned departure in November, just weeks after the completion of an internal investigation into how the federal agency established its unprecedented collaboration with city police.

The Associated Press had reported a day earlier that the officer's assignment was being cut short, but at the time it was unclear how short or when the officer would be leaving.

Officially, the CIA has said little about the clandestine officer, what his job is or how long he was assigned to the NYPD. But several intelligence and police officials have said that he arrived in July for what was expected to be a one-year assignment.

On Friday, Kelly said that the department was notified in November the officer would leave in April and that as far as he knew that was when the officer was leaving.

"I don't know where that `pulled early' comes from," Kelly said. "He was here for a period of time. It was determined in November that he was going to leave in April, which was in six months. So, he's going to be leaving, that's correct."

In October, the CIA's inspector general completed an investigation into the relationship between the CIA and the NYPD after AP articles showed the police collaborated with the federal spy agency to set up operations that scrutinized Muslim communities.

The investigation faulted the agency for sending an officer to New York with little oversight after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and then leaving him there too long, according to officials who have read or been briefed on the inquiry. That officer, Lawrence Sanchez, stayed at the NYPD in various capacities until 2010 and helped build programs that have angered Muslim communities and helped make the NYPD one of the nation's most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies.

But the investigation cleared the CIA of any wrongdoing and did not find any wrongdoing with the current operative's position at the department, which is done under a more formal arrangement, specified in writing that he works directly for the NYPD. Some U.S. lawmakers have expressed concerns about the assignment, while others have praised it.

The officer, a former station chief in Pakistan and Jordan, is one of the CIA's most experienced spies.

Kelly said the officer, whose name remains classified, was working at the NYPD to help share foreign intelligence. Federal officials, however, said he was there on a management sabbatical and wasn't sharing intelligence.

Also on Friday, Kelly said he had no plans to resign from the nation's biggest police department over complaints that a documentary that uses dramatic footage to warn against the dangers of radical Islam and has been criticized by Muslim groups was shown in the halls of a counterterrorism training area. He said overall he believes the police department has an excellent relationship with the Muslim community.

"I think the department interacts with the Muslim community very well, and we're proud of that," Kelly said. "Obviously you're not going to make everyone happy. We understand that. I know the movie ... upset some folks, and we said it shouldn't have been shown. And, again, it wasn't part of our training curriculum."

Kelly was interviewed for the film, "The Third Jihad," and appeared in it for about 30 seconds. He said that when he consented to the interview in 2007, he knew it was for a documentary and the producers had "bona fides." He said that after he saw the film, which he called "inflammatory and a little much," he regretted doing the interview. He has apologized to the Muslim community for it.


Associated Press writer Matt Apuzzo in Washington contributed to this report.