Mayor Defends Against Accusations that He Used Security Detail Excessively, by Saying Threats Are Numerous

Mayor Defends Against Accusations that He Used Security Detail Excessively, by Saying Threats Are Numerous

     by Yehudit Garmaise

     The New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) reported yesterday that Mayor Bill de Blasio may have violated the city’s rules about when NYPD security detail is available to him, but they mayor said today that all the security was arranged by the NYPD’s Intelligence Department and in the public’s interest.

     The mayor used at least $300,000 worth of tax-payer-funded personal NYPD security protection, while he was running for president in 2019, for his daughter Chiara to move into Gracie Mansion, and for his Dante to travel to Yale College in New Haven, Conn, the DOI reported, but the mayor said this morning that he followed the guidance of NYPD Intelligence “to the letter.”

     The mayor’s excessive use of the NYPD security detail was a "misuse of NYPD resources for a personal benefit," said the DOI report, which also found that the NYPD's Executive Protection Unit on numerous occasions "transported mayoral staffers to various locations, including to their homes, and assisted them in running errands for the mayor."

     “My first responsibility is as a husband and father, and so I think of the safety of my family all the time,” Mayor de Blasio said. “Not long ago, we assumed public servants were safe, and their families were safe. We don’t have that assumption anymore.

     “The ultimate decisions on how to protect [from terrorism and internal extremist security threats] those chosen to lead must come from security experts, such as the NYPD,” said the mayor, who added that the DOI did interview anyone from the NYPD: an omission he said was unfair. “The DOI chose not to ask the very people in charge why things were done to protect me and my family and others.”

     “The mayor of the city of New York is a nationally recognized figure,” said John Miller, the Dep. Commissioner for Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, who provides guidance for all of the city’s security concerns “That comes with its own implicit threats.”

     In particular, in the last eight years, the NYPD’s Intelligence Bureau has recorded 308 separate threats to the mayor by phone, e-mail, social media, and even in front of Gracie Mansion, that were not included in the DOI’s report.

     “Thirty-three of those threats have specifically referenced [the mayor’s family], 11 of those have been against the first lady of New York City, and 14 of the threats have been against the mayor’s children.

     When a reporter pointed out that now Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, paid a private security detail, and not the South Bend Police Force during his much longer run for president, while also serving as the mayor of South Bend, Ind., the Mayor de Blasio said that the “reality of Pete Buttigieg as mayor was much different than his as the mayor of the nation’s largest city.

     “This city is clear about providing protection under all circumstances.”

     Miller said that the decision to provide security detail during his presidential run was not made by City Hall, but by the Intelligence Bureau, for any mayor when they travel, as many mayors have done.

     When asked the mayor whether he would pay the money back, he said, “I am prepared to do whatever the law requires.”

     He also said that a decision has to be made about who pays for the security detail for “all future mayors” who travel.

     “The purpose of the travel is largely irrelevant from a security standpoint of the Intelligence Bureau,” said Miller, who the mayor called, “one of the nation’s most important experts in the fight against terrorism." “The mayor is still the mayor and available by phone, text, and e-mail. He is a recognizable figure, who will come back in the case of major emergency and vulnerable to all of the threats we described.”

     Complicating matters is that although the mayor claimed his security detail was overseen by Miller, the DOI alleged in its 47-page report that Inspector Howard Redmond was the NYPD official who ran the mayor's security detail.

     Moreover, the DOI concluded that the Redmond “actively obstructed and sought to thwart” a subsequent investigation, by  trying to destroy his cellphone and by refusing to answer questions. 

     Probably negatively affecting the mayor's plans to run for governor of New York, the DOI will refer the mayor’s case to the Manhattan district attorney's office for possible criminal prosecution.

Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.

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