Ray Kelly is back in the news as a dark-horse candidate to head the FBI, following President Donald Trump’s dismissal of James Comey.
Kelly’s credentials as NYC’s longest-serving police commissioner have been cited in the media. Reps. Dan Donovan of Staten Island and Peter King of Long Island have voiced support. And his Muslim surveillance policies that played at the edge of the U.S. Constitution dovetail with Trump’s views on immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries.
Although he pushed Kelly as FBI director in 2012 before President Barack Obama appointed Comey, Sen. Chuck Schumer has remained silent this time around. As the Senate minority leader who opposes virtually everything Trump proposes, Schumer is aware his support for anyone in the Trump administration is the kiss of death.
There’s little to no chance Kelly will get the FBI job. Kelly’s age — he turns 76 in September — plus infirmities such as diabetes and quadruple bypass surgery, are not the reason.
Kelly is detested and distrusted by many at the FBI. Here are the reasons:
- As part of his Muslim surveillance policies, he refused to share information and credit with the FBI, and fought with the bureau for jurisdiction.
- NYPD detectives assigned overseas rivaled the FBI’s legal attaches in U.S. embassies. After the 2004 Madrid train bombings, for example, NYPD detectives raced there to beat the FBI in interviewing the Spanish national police. According to an FBI official at the time, “The only information they passed to us as a result of the excursion to Madrid was material that had already been in the newspapers in the Spanish press.”
- After the arrest of radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri in London in 2004 on terrorism charges, Kelly publicly singled out for praise a detective who was part of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force. After Kelly outed him, the detective had to return to NYC for “security concerns.”
- Trump reportedly has asked people about Kelly’s loyalty. Two people he might consult are former Mayors Michael Bloomberg and David Dinkins, under whom Kelly served. He followed their policies, but in Bloomberg’s case he led more than followed.
- Whether that’s the kind of loyalty Trump is searching for remains to be seen.