Hours before the primary polls open, New York City mayoral candidates are hitting back at claims by the police commissioner that they haven’t sought information on terrorism.
“The threat of terrorism is as great, if not greater, today that it was before the World Trade Center was destroyed,” Commissioner Ray Kelly said Monday during a speech. “Yet I can tell you that none of the candidates has requested a briefing from the Police Department on this topic.”
Democratic frontrunner Bill de Blasio did request a briefing with the NYPD on August 29, according to his spokesman.
“Bill de Blasio believes there is nothing more important than protecting New York City from the threat of terror and keeping New Yorkers safe,” said Wiley Norvell. “After the president’s remarks on Syria, the office requested a briefing from the NYPD on the city’s counter-terror efforts and is working with City Hall to schedule it.”
Kamran Mumtaz, deputy press secretary for Bloomberg’s office, told MSNBC in statement, “The Public Advocate’s Office made a request specific to steps the Police Department was taking after the President’s Syria announcement-–and they were given a reply. Today, following Police Commissioner Kelly’s speech, they asked for a broader briefing on the Department’s counter-terrorism efforts. We are working with the NYPD to arrange that.”
The leading Democratic candidates have been critical of the city’s signature “stop-and-frisk” policy, which Bloomberg and police department have repeatedly argued prevents both crime and terrorism. In August, a judge ruled the policy was unconstitutional.
“Frankly, the police commissioner and the mayor have politicized a lot of issues in this race,” Democratic candidate Anthony Weiner said on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. “I’m not sure how much credibility they have right now given how eager they’ve been to try and influence this campaign.” A still optimistic Weiner, who’s currently trailing at fourth place in the polls, added, “Once it becomes clear that I’m going to be the mayor obviously I’ll get all the briefings that I need.”
Christine Quinn, fellow candidate and speaker of the New York City Council, also pushed back on Kelly’s claims.
“My staff is constantly in touch with Ray Kelly’s staff at the police department getting regular updates, checking in and getting briefings on a regular basis. We have to worry every day in New York City about a terror attack,” Quinn told MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts.
Kelly’s comments came on the eve the primary and just days before the 12th anniversary of the deadly September 11th attacks.