NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly appeared on 60 Minutes last night to talk about New York City’s counterterrorism unit, created after 9/11, which now numbers 35,000 uniformed police officers and 15,000 civilian employees. The interview with Scott Pelley includes a look at the NYPD’s $3 billion joint operations center, developed over the last 10 years and including representatives from the military, FBI, FEMA, and state and local first responders. Of particular note was this question from Pelley: “Are you satisfied that you’ve dealt with threats from aircraft, even light planes, model planes, that kind of thing?”
Pelley: “Do you mean to say the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?”
Kelly: “Yes. I’d prefer not to get into the details, but obviously this would be in a very extreme situation…”
Pelley: “You have the means and the training?”
Ray Kelly: NYPD has ‘means to take down a plane’
In an interview that aired Sunday, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly shocked CBS’ Scott Pelley by telling him that the NYPD has the capability to shoot down a plane if needed.
“Are you satisfied that you’ve dealt with threats from aircraft, even light planes, model planes, that kind of thing?” Pelley asked.
“Well, it’s something that’s on our radar screen, Kelly replied. “I mean in an extreme situation, you would have some means to take down a plane.”
“Do you mean to say that the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?” a stunned Pelley wondered.
Can the NYPD Shoot Down a Plane? Kinda, Sorta, Not Exactly.
But don’t let your imagination run too wild: There’s no stealth jet emerging from 1 Police Plaza; there are no anti-aircraft missiles mounted on the top on the Williamsburg Bank. Kelly’s talking about a simple sniper rifle, which an NYPD helicopter crew could carry into the air and target the engines of a plane. A small plane, I’m guessing.
Which makes Kelly’s eye-popping assertion, issued on Sunday’s edition of 60 Minutes, accurate in only the most narrow, literal sense. Police sources tell the New York Post that the (potentially) plane-shooting Barrett .50 caliber rifle is “stored in an NYPD safe and is deployed only for ’special occasions,’ such as when the president is in town.”
Under Kelly, the NYPD has had a decade-long history of, oh, let’s call it information operations, to go along with their substantive counterterror ops. This anti-aircraft talk is just the latest example.