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Ray Kelly Won't Say If He'll Read 'Mapping Muslims' NYPD Surveillance Report

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Ray Kelly, New York police commissioner, speaks to reporters after a City Council hearing on March 12, 2013. | Matt Sledge

NEW YORK -- Police Commissioner Ray Kelly dodged a question about whether he'll read a critical report on the New York Police Department's Muslim surveillance program on Tuesday, saying only that he hadn't seen it yet.

But in his remarks before a New York City Council committee meeting to examine the department's budget, Kelly said "the only way" to stop terrorists "is through intelligence gathering. That's why it's essential that the Police Department's efforts to defend against terrorism be proactive and that we find those who are in the earliest stages of planning violent acts."

Kelly's comments came a day after a coalition of Muslim groups released the report, which details a climate of fear created by the department's informants and undercover officers.

Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, who heads the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York, handed over a copy of the "Mapping Muslims" report to a police officer at 1 Police Plaza, the department's headquarters, on Monday.

"He doesn't want to meet with us face to face, but maybe he'll accept a copy of the report," Talib said of Kelly. So far, it seems, the commissioner has not taken delivery.

During the Public Safety Committee hearing, Kelly faced questioning from Councilmember Brad Lander, a Democrat from Brooklyn, over the department's counterterrorism efforts. Lander criticized the lack of transparency around the NYPD Intelligence Division, saying it underscores his push for a police inspector general.

"We don't have anything in the mayor's management report that helps us look at that division and understand ... how to weigh what is actually being accomplished ... against the potential suppression of free speech and religious activities," Lander said. "And the lack of ability to get that information is why I continue to believe we need an NYPD inspector general."

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