Um... no... I'm not surprised... that's depressing...
How do you say "because reasons" in Latin?
At this rate we'll just have to send Snake Plissken in to get it, by any means necessary, soon enough.
If anyone who wasn't an awful classicist, years ago, wants to chime in, feel free. In the meantime, the NYPD's grasp of rule of law appears to be even weaker than my grasp of Latin, so it should work provisionally.
/Latine loqui non intellego quam utor Google
Organizations such as the NYPD theoretically act according to policies, and procedures that help ensure that the organization's decisions do not depend on the agent executing those decisions, but instead are standardized across the organization. The FOIA handbook contains policies that similarly ensure that a high level of intransigence and stonewalling are maintained throughout the unit, so that the more receptive clerks are constrained by unspecified "policy."
Release of the FOIA rules could enable journalists to discover how to "hack the policy" so that clerks who have followed policy in denying access could be manipulated into following the rules to allowing access.
And we can't have that? Why, that would make the NYPD accountable to the people, instead of to whatever insular interest controls them. Dangerous times. Dangerous times.
When I went to college in the early 1990s, the Governor was in the habit of applying attorney client work privilege to the daily workings of his bureaucracy, especially the environmental protection bureau. So this is nothing exceptional. But that doesn't mean that it's defensible.
What creeps me out about the NYPD's "FOIL" nonsense and extraterritorial spying shenanigans (aside from the obvious 'New York is attempting to become a belligerent police state forever because terrorists' problem, compounded by their illustrious history of fine police work) is what the structural pressures on their hiring process must be.
So, a cop shop wants to build themselves a sinister clandestine intelligence acronym soup, combining as much of the overt menace of the CIA, the elastic jurisdiction of the FBI, and the panopticonic data-crunching of the NSA. Now, they don't necessarily have that in house, so they go hiring:
Trouble is, there are already actual federal agencies, with actual powers, and badges, and relationships with foreign states, and other neat stuff that a police department with delusions of grandeur notably lacks. What to do? One is led to the disquieting consideration that the NYPD's wannabe division either has some damned amazing salaries, even by the standards of people who can get the fed jobs that require clearances that you need clearances to know about and/or it may not...to put it politely... be hiring from the deep end of the talent pool.
If your options are 'Work for the FBI' or 'Work for New York's pitiful wannabe squad and associate yourself with its noble tradition of meddling in foreign investigations and being told to buzz off, the big kids are trying to work here..', which are you going to pick? Obviously Option #1, unless NYPD is offering crazy good compensation, or a dangerously long leash, or there is something sufficiently...substandard...about you that the real feds don't want you.
What kind of team are they assembling under those constraints? Best case, I'd assume its largely mercenary semi-retirees of federal agencies who don't have the juice for a career in lobbying; but can pull a nice paycheck for comparatively light work fluffing New York's ego.
Less good case? Well, a lot of B-listers who don't have any overt dishonor associated with them; but we can't all be astronauts when we grow up, now can we...
Even less good case? Even...morally flexible... organizations probably have to cull the fuckups, the troublemakers, the just-can't-finish-one-damn-project-without-a-diplomatic-incident rage cases, the people who keep the classify-and-bury stamps particularly busy. Now, where would a newly unemployed person with a background in fedding; but some slightly troubling paragraphs on the CV go looking for work? Maybe some creepy-as-all-hell private security firm, maybe a police department trying to buy its way into the big kids club.
What could possibly go wrong?
I'm far from a lawyer, but I do remember my civics classes. Being a governmental agency, isn't anything the NYPD produces a product of the city government and therefore owned by the good people of New York?
Also, as a governmental agency, aren't the actual clients for any NYPD lawyer ultimately the people of New York since they pay for the NYPD and the NYPD operates at the peoples behest from which their powers to police are ultimately derived?
I was worrying about the same thing--where does this particular rabbit hole end? How long before I'm being denied access to the FOIA guidelines for Podunk City, Anystate, USA?
Wait a sec, I feel a kneejerk librul' thought coming on...I see this, and our recent problem with the CIA spying on its overseers, as outcomes of Bush/Cheney's implementation of security across the US (not to mention their tangential process of sowing distrust and discord against anyone with views different from theirs, e.g. "If you're not with us, you're against us").
In addition, and I say this as a veteran myself, I feel like the near-deification of the American security services ("Support the Troops!") at the national and state level contributed to this issue. When that same Podunk City can have Homeland Security (blech) purchase them an armored personnel carrier because terrorists, then the security system in America needs some serious rethinking.
If they had written any, there would probably be seminar junkets (Operational Security Training, chief!) organized by 3rd rate John Yoo wannabes to teach Sheriff Cletus how to keep meddling journalists away from his precious files.
Already, team cop has their precious "Law Enforcement Sensitive" bullshit-classified-lite that they love to stamp on more or less random and/or embarrassing things, so I'm sure that they'd adore the chance at some additional ratings.
Immediately following 9/11 the feds took over the investigation of the "crime", removing the nypd and immediately branding the event as terrorism. To my knowledge no nypd report has been issued concerning any "investigation", or whether the feds ever left their nest inside.
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