We don't want to alarm anyone, but it appears that NYPD spokesman Paul Browne has been caught in a fib. Or, as the NY Times generously puts it, Browne suddenly "remembered" on Tuesday that what he remembered on Monday was not specifically too true! This blow to Browne's sterling reputation for transparency came after the producer of an Islamophobic propaganda documentary proved that Commissioner Ray Kelly knowingly sat for an interview. This directly contradicts Browne's earlier claim that Kelly's appearance in the movie, called The Third Jihad, was culled from old interviews without the NYPD's permission. So sorry to disillusion you.
Browne was questioned by the Times on Monday after The Brennan Center for Justice used the Freedom of Information Law to obtain documents related to the NYPD's use of The Third Jihad. The movie first came to light in January 2011 after investigative reporter Tom Robbins published an expose about it in The Village Voice—at that time Paul Browne dismissed it as just a "wacky movie" that had only been shown "a couple of times when officers were filling out paperwork before the actual coursework began." However, documents obtained by The Brennan Center show the film was screened for 68 lieutenants, 159 sergeants, 31 detectives and 1,231 patrol officers.
Here's a 30-minute of the film:
After Browne told the Times on Monday that Kelly's appearance in the film was lifted from old unrelated interviews, The Third Jihad's producer, Raphael Shore, emailed the Times to show that Kelly had been interviewed for the film at NYPD Headquarters. "He’s right," Browne admitted yesterday."In fact, I recommended in February 2007 that Commissioner Kelly be interviewed. Commissioner Kelly told me today that the video was objectionable, and that he should not have agreed to the interview five years ago, when I recommended it."
The The Third Jihad insists that when it comes to mainstream Muslims, "one of their primary tactics is deception." Speaking of deception, Browne insists that the film's director told him The Third Jihad would be about "foiled terrorist plots and the current threat matrix." But Shore, the producer, tells the Times that Browne "was informed that the interview was for a documentary on radical Islam."
At a press conference in Albany yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg was asked about the documentary, which was screened on "a continuous loop" for an undetermined amount of time during the NYPD's "sign-in, medical and administrative orientation process." Bloomberg told reporters, "Somebody exercised terrible judgment. As soon as they found out about it, they stopped it." At press time, somebody's pants were still engulfed in flames.