FBI relations with the NYPD have a storied history

The FBI criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton is back on.  But we may know that it is only because the NYPD was involved (somehow) with the FBI in retrieving the emails from Anthony Weiner’s and Huma Abedin’s computer.  Which in turn means that Comey might have rushed the news out because he knows that the NYPD has, from time to time, played his stuffy and very self-important Federal Bureau of Investigation like a fish. 

And enjoyed every minute of it.

At one time, I was chief of police of our local P.D., and my father-in-law retired NYPD who did his twenty years in the six six in Brooklyn, while my best friend was a sergeant in the three three in Manhattan.  The former told me a story that the latter confirmed hearing but, laughing, also told me he didn’t know if it was true or not.

It concerns an NYPD detective sergeant torpedoing the career of the SAC (the special agent in charge) of the New York FBI’s office.  A man even more impressed with himself than is usual among the Federal Dicks.  It goes like this:

An NYPD detective squad in Brooklyn was outraged at the manner in which the FBI big-footed one of their ongoing cases.  More or less just barging into their squad room when there was some rookie watching the phone, opening a file drawer, pulling out the file they wanted, slamming the drawer shut, and walking out.

After not getting any satisfaction from his cowed superiors, the detective sergeant concerned took the extraordinary (and possible career-ending step) of visiting the FBI field office in order to personally complain to the SAC.  He got to see the man but was humiliated, laughed at, and more or less thrown out on his duff.

So the detective sergeant returned to Brooklyn and set about organizing his revenge.  Pulling in some favors, he got an NYPD surveillance type to follow the SAC around from time to time, snapping photos of the man whenever a street shot made it look as though he was talking to or in the company of some young man.  Then the sergeant dummied up surveillance reports, which identified the young men as known male prostitutes and the photos of the SAC as some unknown organized crime associate they were trying to identify.  Finally, the sergeant salted an ongoing investigative file with the material and flagged it in such a way that the FBI would try to grab it.

It took a couple of months, but eventually, the FBI elbowed their way into the squad room again and pulled that file, too. 

Then the squad waited, confident that the New York SAC would never see the file.  That some lower-level anxious to make brownie points with D.C. for guarding the Bureau’s reputation would make certain it found its way down to FBI headquarters in Washington first.

Which is exactly what happened.  And so, as day follows night, the full weight of a frightened FBI organization fell on the FBI’s New York field office.  Indeed, the impact rattled the windows way out in Brooklyn as the SAC was hustled down to D.C. and teams of FBI investigators descended on New York in order to tear apart his office and home and interrogate every employee.

Big laugh in the squad room with no blowback, because after what happened happened, and the FBI figured who was responsible, the Bureau went out of its way to pretend: one, the file never existed, and two, that the investigation of the SAC (now the former SAC) never happened.  Because the Bureau just couldn’t admit to being made such fools of by an obscure NYPD detective.

Especially since they themselves lit the fuse on the detective’s bomb by once again and very arrogantly big-footing another local case.

To sum up: It’s an old story, possibly apocryphal, and I don’t know if FBI director Comey was ever told it, but I bet you dollars to donuts he’s heard a dozen others just like it.

And knew he couldn’t depend upon on the NYPD caring one whit about the FBI’s reputation.

Richard F. Miniter is the author of The Things I Want Most, Random House, BDD.  See it here.  He lives and writes in the colonial-era hamlet of Stone Ridge, New York; blogs here; and can also be reached at miniterhome@gmail.com.

The FBI criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton is back on.  But we may know that it is only because the NYPD was involved (somehow) with the FBI in retrieving the emails from Anthony Weiner’s and Huma Abedin’s computer.  Which in turn means that Comey might have rushed the news out because he knows that the NYPD has, from time to time, played his stuffy and very self-important Federal Bureau of Investigation like a fish. 

And enjoyed every minute of it.

At one time, I was chief of police of our local P.D., and my father-in-law retired NYPD who did his twenty years in the six six in Brooklyn, while my best friend was a sergeant in the three three in Manhattan.  The former told me a story that the latter confirmed hearing but, laughing, also told me he didn’t know if it was true or not.

It concerns an NYPD detective sergeant torpedoing the career of the SAC (the special agent in charge) of the New York FBI’s office.  A man even more impressed with himself than is usual among the Federal Dicks.  It goes like this:

An NYPD detective squad in Brooklyn was outraged at the manner in which the FBI big-footed one of their ongoing cases.  More or less just barging into their squad room when there was some rookie watching the phone, opening a file drawer, pulling out the file they wanted, slamming the drawer shut, and walking out.

After not getting any satisfaction from his cowed superiors, the detective sergeant concerned took the extraordinary (and possible career-ending step) of visiting the FBI field office in order to personally complain to the SAC.  He got to see the man but was humiliated, laughed at, and more or less thrown out on his duff.

So the detective sergeant returned to Brooklyn and set about organizing his revenge.  Pulling in some favors, he got an NYPD surveillance type to follow the SAC around from time to time, snapping photos of the man whenever a street shot made it look as though he was talking to or in the company of some young man.  Then the sergeant dummied up surveillance reports, which identified the young men as known male prostitutes and the photos of the SAC as some unknown organized crime associate they were trying to identify.  Finally, the sergeant salted an ongoing investigative file with the material and flagged it in such a way that the FBI would try to grab it.

It took a couple of months, but eventually, the FBI elbowed their way into the squad room again and pulled that file, too. 

Then the squad waited, confident that the New York SAC would never see the file.  That some lower-level anxious to make brownie points with D.C. for guarding the Bureau’s reputation would make certain it found its way down to FBI headquarters in Washington first.

Which is exactly what happened.  And so, as day follows night, the full weight of a frightened FBI organization fell on the FBI’s New York field office.  Indeed, the impact rattled the windows way out in Brooklyn as the SAC was hustled down to D.C. and teams of FBI investigators descended on New York in order to tear apart his office and home and interrogate every employee.

Big laugh in the squad room with no blowback, because after what happened happened, and the FBI figured who was responsible, the Bureau went out of its way to pretend: one, the file never existed, and two, that the investigation of the SAC (now the former SAC) never happened.  Because the Bureau just couldn’t admit to being made such fools of by an obscure NYPD detective.

Especially since they themselves lit the fuse on the detective’s bomb by once again and very arrogantly big-footing another local case.

To sum up: It’s an old story, possibly apocryphal, and I don’t know if FBI director Comey was ever told it, but I bet you dollars to donuts he’s heard a dozen others just like it.

And knew he couldn’t depend upon on the NYPD caring one whit about the FBI’s reputation.

Richard F. Miniter is the author of The Things I Want Most, Random House, BDD.  See it here.  He lives and writes in the colonial-era hamlet of Stone Ridge, New York; blogs here; and can also be reached at miniterhome@gmail.com.