What's that? You say this image is a cliché in a story about police incompetence? No, man, YOU'RE the cliché!Gosh, it’s good to know that since 9/11, the NYPD has ramped up its counter-terrorism capabilities to the point where it now has a domestic surveillance unit that would be the envy of many a small nation-state, because, hey, apart from some niggling little complaints from civil liberties extremists, that huge anti-terror apparatus has gotten results, bucko: at least 14 serious terror plots broken up and a whole bunch of would-be jihadis sent to the Big House to ululate in solitary for the rest of their lives. NYC Michael Bloomberg, never one to exaggerate, has called the NYPD “the best police department in the world and I think they show that every single day and we have stopped 14 attacks since 9/11 fortunately without anybody dying.” So, awesome job kicking jihadi butt those 14 times! You brave NYPD anti-terror cops really earn that bloated anti-terrist budget. Maybe you should go buy another tank. Why, the NYPD itself is so proud of its accomplishments that it has published the list of all 14 on its website, so that everybody can see what an excellent job they did. Oops.

And so Justin Elliott, an investigative journalist at the awesome nonprofit Pro Publica, did exactly that. Turns out that it’s actually a list of 14 plots that NYPD either completely failed to detect or had only tangential involvement with, plots that mostly existed because government informants moved them forward, or plots that posed little actual danger or whose would-be perpetrators never got beyond the “hey, maybe I’ll go kill me some infidels” stage of wishful thinking.

Of the actually serious, developed-to-the point-of-maybe-being-dangerous cases, three out of three of them were completely off NYPD’s radar, which you have to admit is a pretty impressive ratio. They include the Times Square bombing plot, which was foiled by the bomber’s incompetence, not by skillful sleuthing (the sputtering failbomb was noticed and reported by a food cart vendor, not a cop). NYPD takes credit because, hey, it was a bomb, and it didn’t go off, now did it? WE WON, so shut up! The two other cases in this category were actually broken by other investigative agencies, but because they involved NYC in some way, a representative of NYPD got to stand near the podium at the press conference. That totally counts. For one of these cases, the “liquid bomb” plot that now means everyone has to buy bottled water in the gate area for seven bucks, Elliott details just how tenuous the NYPD’s connection to the plot was:

The plot is included on the NYPD’s list of 14 because, according to British authorities, one of the men had a memory stick that had information on flights bound for several Canadian and American cities, including, in one case, New York. The plan was to blow up the planes over the ocean.

Another three cases involved “terrorists” who were largely created through the investigative process itself, using a paid informant who finds some hotheaded twerps who say some derka-derka stuff about jihad, string them along with a little “You know, America IS a great Satan, maybe something could be done about that, ya think?” and then the informant eventually “helps” them get ahold of a fake bomb so that the hotheaded twerps can be arrested for terrorism. In these made-up terrorist plots, NYPD was at least actually involved in the sting, usually in conjunction with other agencies, so they should at least get a few hours of creative writing credit. But it’s an elective, and non-transferable.

So that’s six cases, how about the other eight?

Half of them were the terrorism equivalent of vaporware: Somebody may have said something about maybe blowing something up, but the “plot” never even got as far as a sketch on the back of a napkin. For instance, there was a rumored 2003 Al Qaeda plan to maybe release cyanide in the NYC subways, but the plan was apparently abandoned. However little evidence there was that the plot ever existed, there’s even LESS evidence that NYPD had any influence on the decision to abandon it…if it existed, you know. NYPD is also reportedly planning to take credit for preventing a series of tiger attacks by holding a banana in its ear.

The other half are plots for which someone was actually prosecuted, but which federal officials or other experts have said didn’t constitute a serious threat. One of these was the prosecution of Jose Pimentel, who awaits trial on “rarely used state-level terrorism charges” after federal law enforcement agencies decided that the case against him was too weak to pursue:

In a series of leaks, federal authorities expressed skepticism that Pimentel was a threat. A federal source told the New York Post that Pimentel was a “‘stoner’ who wasn’t a real danger to anybody other than himself.” Another source cited by the Post questioned his mental faculties, saying he had once tried to circumcise himself. A federal source told DNAInfo criminal justice editor Murray Weiss: “Let’s just say there were issues whether [Pimentel] had the ability to do this without the intercession of the confidential informant.” Weiss also noted that the informant went shopping with Pimentel at Home Depot to buy pipe bomb materials, and the bomb was constructed at the informant’s apartment. Pimentel, who reportedly could not afford to even pay his cell phone bill, has pleaded not guilty.

Way to go, NYPD counter-terror unit! Keep on interrogatin’ that chicken![ProPublica]

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  • Oh yes, I remember the scam where the informant got the "terrorists" to plan a bombing of a synagogue in Riverdale, NY. No bomb. No plot (apart from some talk) and certainly, no threat.

    Oh. And the Times Square bombing, which was thwarted by a homeless street vendor selling tchotkes. I assume they claim credit for that one, too. That was an actual bomb threat but hell, how many cops walked or drove right past that illegally parked SUV and never batted an eye?

    Meanwhile, I lose the bell from my bike's handlebars, and I get a stern lecture…

  • SorosBot

    The NYPD even takes credit for plots that were foiled by that Spider-Man, even though they're trying to arrest him half the time.

    • How about that Batman!?

      • SorosBot

        This is the New York police, not the Gotham City police!

  • The Keystone pipeline has a lot in common with the NYC cops.

    • va_real

      That's an odd-looking banana he's got in his ear. But I don't see any tigers in the photo, so I guess it worked.

    • Keystone beer bongs, also.

    • Keystone. Cops. I see what you did there.

  • Jus_Wonderin

    Doktor, I think the Wonket is working you too hard. Tell them to pull their share of the load.

    • He's getting paid, JW. So just zip it and make with the page views already.

    • Well, Vlad is not gonna fix itself, you know.

  • FakaktaSouth

    I find this type of propaganda to be a form of terrorism itself. Saying that there were 14 thwarted attacks, like NYC is just crawling with scary "be afraid!" plotters and feeding the "hate the Muslim crew," when you know for a fact you are bullshitting, should put you on some kind of watch list, no? Can't you just be happy being a rich little man Michael?

    • BigSkullF*ckingDog

      Yesterday I sneezed on a bus. That counted as one act of bio-terrorism.
      BE AFRAID!

    • sharethegrief

      This reminds me of the color-coded terrorism alerts that were constantly paraded before the 2004 elections. After Bush won, they disappeared. Same bullshit, same insult, same blatant desire to mine a tragedy for political and monetary gain.

  • JustPixelz

    But can they stop the home-grown threat of large sugary soft drinks?

    • hagajim

      No chance in hell!

    • Guppy

      Even Bloomberg can't outspend Coca-Cola.

    • pdiddycornchips

      Not to mention the threat posed by old people dancing. It took eight patrolmen but they were able to take down the 55 year old ring leader.

  • Baconzgood

    "the best police department in the world".

    I think someone didn't watch Serpico.

  • You can't get away with a crime in NYC because of all those cop and lawyer shows.

    • Protip: if you want to move to New York for college, make sure you avoid Hudson University there. It has basically the worst violent crime rate in the entire city.

  • Barb

    I wonder if Rudy has taken the mileage he's gotten from 911 and used it as a tax deduction?

    • SorosBot

      Why, Rudy 9/11 Giuliani would never 9/11 try to personally or 9/11 politically take advantage of 9/11 that tragedy 9/11!

      • MissTaken

        Dammit Soros, don't you know you owe Rudy $25k each time you say 9/11?

        Ah fuck, now I owe him, too!

        • SorosBot

          Aw, sorry about that. Guess we should refer to it as 11/9, in the fashion of our European friends.

  • PuckStopsHere

    This sort of administrative chest-thumping makes me think that NYPD training involves how to defend ones self against anyone who attacks them with a piece of fresh fruit. (I've got to learn how to do the linky to the Monte Python video thing.) I know these guys are heroes. Their bosses seem to be pompous asses though.

  • WhatTheHolyHeck

    This wasn't bungling; it was a clever publicity stunt for Chris Hansen's new show.

  • ChernobylSoup

    Hey, where's the credit for foiling the OWS Annoying Drumming plot of 2011?

  • BigSkullF*ckingDog

    Yeah, but they totally missed that plot where all those guys killed Julius Ceasar.

  • Goonemeritus

    “Michael Bloomberg, never one to exaggerate, has called the NYPD “the best police department in the world.”

    Joseph Stalin calls bullshit.

  • Baconzgood

    Hey I stopped 22 terriorist plots. 23 now. Oh look at that 24. Yep now 25. See I'm not arming terriorists so there fore…

  • ChernobylSoup

    Wall Street is still standing. NYPD Fail.

  • NYPD = Reno 9/11 but with much better PR?

  • I have never given a thought to committing an act of terrorism in NYC. I think the NYPD should take credit for that.

    • Jus_Wonderin

      I had an overwhelming urge to urinate in a corner on Broadway but…I restrained myself.

  • mavenmaven

    What are the current NYPD statistics on sodomizing innocent people with broomsticks?

    • chascates

      Or shooting unarmed black citizens dozens of times?

      • SorosBot

        Hey, that black guy could really have hurt the cops with his wallet!

    • MacRaith

      They're #1 in that, too, and damned proud of it.

  • chascates

    Giuliani 2012!

  • BigSkullF*ckingDog

    Detective Oliva Benson Libel!

    • Jus_Wonderin

      I haz a crush on her.

      • BigSkullF*ckingDog

        Watch out. She's my girlfriend.

        • Jus_Wonderin

          Wait, wait, wait. She cheating on me?

  • sbj1964

    Show me your papers Comrad.Freedom,and security comes with a price.What is the price of liberty will be the question in this post 911 world?

  • Schmannnity

    If NYPD is so great at stopping terror, how do you explain Donald Trump?

  • hagajim

    Methinks Mr. Bloomberg ought to send his crack terrorist goons after the assholes who destroyed the economy and see if they can make any real arrests…oh, but they might have to arrest him then.

  • SayItWithWookies

    Remember right after President Obama was elected and he terrorized New York by having Air Force One fly around the Statue of Liberty? Does the NYPD count that as one of their failures?

  • didgen

    So next men with foreskins will not be allowed on flights. Getting popcorn for next wait in line at airport.

  • Ducksworthy

    Also the radios Rudi's pal sold us worked swell and so we were able to successfully evacuate the Twin Towers.

  • ttommyunger

    NYPD is the BEST PAID Department in the World, for sure. Hell, you can buy a Captain here in Georgia for what you'd have to pay a Patrolman in New York.

  • Tundra Grifter

    Dude on the phone in that photo looks like the Pirates' relief pitcher in last night's All Star Game.

  • pdiddycornchips

    The NYPD is famous for shooting unarmed black people and sodomizing a couple more.
    All the WOT bullshit in the world won't erase Diallo, Bell and Louima. That's a legacy they earned without embellishment.

  • Did you hear about the plot for a biological attack on Florida? They suspect terrorists are planning to infect Jacksonville with tuberculosis. Get on that on, NYPD!

  • DahBoner

    And now, you can ask a NYPD cop to "fix" your zipline ticket…

  • BoatOfVelociraptors

    Let's not forget that Abraham heard voices in his head, dragged his son up a mountain to slit his throat, and then circumcised himself.

  • Baba_NinjaCat12

    NYPD = Inspector Clouseau world's version of Counter-Terrorism Unit.

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