Chris Christie Really Not a Fan of NYPD Spying

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Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (R) looks on as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a campaign rally outside a grocery store in Des Moines, Iowa, on December 30, 2001. Romney on Friday ripped President Barack Obama over his annual Hawaii vacation, painting him as out of touch with Americans' economic suffering.  Romney was speaking at a rally four days before this heartland state holds its presidential nominating caucus, the first battle in the state-by-state fight to pick a Republican challenger to Obama in the November 2012 elections. AFP Photo/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Add Chris Christie to the growing list of people and institutions who've spoken out against the New York City Police Department's clandestine Muslim surveillance program. Some of the spying was conducted in New Jersey (among many other non–New York locations), and Christie, who was the state's U.S. attorney at the time, says he wasn't notified, ever. "Why can’t you be communicating with law enforcement here in New Jersey?" he said on his "Ask the Governor" radio program yesterday. "Are we somehow not trustworthy?" 

Christie also proceeded to critcize the NYPD in a way that would have been unimaginable for a major national Republican figure ten or even five years ago, post 9/11: "I hope that almost 11 years past 9/11, we are not going to go back to those days because no one is omniscient,"  he said. "No one knows everything in this world in law enforcement."  And, he added, "This is the New York Police Department. I know they think their jurisdiction is the world. Their jurisdiction is New York City. My concern is this kind of obsession that the NYPD seems to have that they’re the masters of the universe."

Christie is, of course, not known for taking gentle positions, but his unflinching criticism of the way Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Ray Kelly handled the situation ("Well, because he’s Ray Kelly, what are you going to do," he said, dripping with sarcasm, "He’s all knowing, all seeing") is the latest sign that the surveillance program has drained the Department's stockpile of goodwill, even in quarters where there ought to have been plenty to spare.