On Wednesday morning, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly gave a passionate defense of his department’s surveillance of the city’s Muslim communities.
When asked if the commissioner had concerns about the timing of the remarks due to the current turmoil in the Middle East, Deputy NYPD Commissioner Paul Browne said the police were not at all concerned.
Browne instead criticized federal officials for what he said was prematurely releasing sensitive information about the maker of the controversial film at the heart of violence and protests abroad.
“I found it surprising that federal authorities made public so quickly and early on that a Coptic Christian was behind the film,” said Browne.
Federal law enforcement recently identified a Southern Californian Coptic Christian named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula as the man behind the controversial anti-Muslim film, “Innocence of Muslims,” that has sparked violent anti-American action around the world.
As a result, the NYPD provided extra security to Coptic churches throughout the city, Browne said.
Other than that, however, Browne said they haven’t increased security at embassies or iconic landmarks such as the Empire State Building and Ground Zero.
“We are monitoring, but so far we haven’t seen any manifestation of threats or actions against embassies in the city because of threats overseas,” he said.
When asked about security concerns related to the current turmoil in the Middle East, the UN did not comment.
Browne said the NYPD’s main focus right now is the UN General Assembly next week, where 135 world leaders will be in attendance, including the President of the United States.
“That is our major protective responsibility, along with the Secret Service and State Department security personnel,” said Browne. “To make sure this event goes off without any injuries coming to those heads of state, many of whom are controversial in their own way.”