The Blurring Boundaries Between CIA and NYPD – Modernization and Liberty

NYPD CIA Anti-Terror Operations Conducted In Secret For Years.

At a time when the inadequacies of the British media stands so starkly exposed, the above article is a wonderful reminder of what real journalism looks like. An unprecedented blurring of boundaries seems to have occurred between the CIA and the NYPD without, it seems, being recognised or acknowledged until now.

A thought occurred to me though while reading: you can kind of see how this would be attractive to the NYPD (which is not of course to support it). The co-operation described in the article sounds as if, in institutional terms, it’s likely to be efficient: it increases the capacity of the organisation to meet its aims. It’s easy to imagine how people like ‘supercop’ Bill Bratton, arch-modernizers in the police force with a penchant for following corporate leadership trends, simply wouldn’t get how there could be a problem with an organisational move that seems manifestly to achieve its stated ends more effectively than it otherwise would. It’s easy to imagine how scornful they would be in meetings, as well as how rhetorically powerful that scorn would be, at those who invoke abstract ideas (like the notion that the operational encroachment of the CIA onto the mainland is dodgy) to attack the plans, particularly given the context of New York where the end in question must be scarily capable of shutting down debate in these sorts of spheres.

Obviously there’s always been rationalization within modern organizations. This isn’t new. However the gaudy post-1989 corporate culture of modernisation is. It’s destructive enough in the place it originated, with its quasi-autistic quantitative myopia and chronic short-termism. It’s horrific when it infects the management of public services, with the continual assumption that lack of results means they’re just not modernizing fast enough. But it’s truly fucking terrifying when it reaches the security apparatus, police and/or military – one suspects the conceptual distinction will become ever more blurred over the 21st century – simply because it increasingly enmeshes the managerial class within a moral universe in which talks of rights and liberties, procedural constraints on means, will come to seem like ‘nonsense on stilts’, particularly when the ends seem self-evidently moral.

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