FBI stresses that it gets along with NYPD

September 30, 2009

When U.S. law enforcement authorities launched a series of raids in New York City that culminated in the arrest of an Afghan-born airport shuttle driver (Najibullah Zazi) for an alleged bombing plot, there was a fair bit of speculation afterward questioning whether the FBI or the New York Police Department bungled the investigation by acting too early.

But at a Senate committee hearing, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller insisted that the two organizations were getting along despite the reports which he said were exaggerated.

“I believe our relations are exceptionally good, as good as they’ve been in a long time,” he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

However, Mueller got a bit heated when he was pressed by Democratic Senator Carl Levin on whether there was a problem and whether he would have done things differently given the chance.

At first Mueller tried to gently dodge the question, noting that in every investigation some steps they take may or may not work out, especially in a fast moving situation like the Zazi case.

USA-SECURITY/NEWYORKBut Levin persisted and Mueller’s replies got testier as they talked over each other.

Levin asked if there was something that someone should have done or not done, or any lessons to be learned.

Mueller again tried to end the line of questioning by noting that an investigation never really goes the way they want it to but that it did no good to dissect such situations.

But that fired up Levin prompting gruff answers from Mueller:

LEVIN:  Yes, it does do good.  We want to learn lessons.  Is there a — I’m just asking.

MUELLER:  Yes.

LEVIN:  I know things are overblown, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there.

MUELLER:  Yes.

LEVIN:  Is there a lesson to be learned?

MUELLER:  On this one, I don’t think so.

LEVIN:  Good.  That’s an answer.

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- Photo credit: Reuters/Molly Riley

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