King: Christie makes 'cheap shots' at NYPD

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has accused New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of taking "cheap shots" at the NYPDs commissioner.
Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has accused New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of taking "cheap shots" at the NYPDs commissioner. (EVAN VUCCI / Associated Press, file)

The N.Y. congressman blasted the governor's criticism of police in Muslim surveillance.

Posted: March 03, 2012

NEW YORK - An interstate feud escalated Friday when a New York congressman berated New Jersey Gov. Christie for "trying to score cheap political points" instead of saving lives when he complained that the New York Police Department's monitoring of Muslims across the state line was arrogant and secretive.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said Christie crossed a line when he mocked Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as "all-knowing, all-seeing," and said the NYPD's intelligence operation in Newark may have been "born out of arrogance."

"I wish Chris Christie was more concerned about keeping people alive than he is about trying to score cheap political points," King said on a program on WOR-AM.

Both King and Christie are Republicans.

New Jersey officials raised concerns about NYPD operations in their state two weeks ago, after a series of stories by the Associated Press detailed how police officers had monitored Muslims around the metropolitan area and prepared a report cataloging the location of Muslim-owned businesses and mosques in Newark.

The tactics have prompted objections from civil rights groups and raised questions over whether the NYPD has been inappropriately monitoring people who are not suspected of any links to terrorism.

Christie, who was the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey when the surveillance took place, said on a radio program Wednesday that the NYPD had arrogantly overstepped its bounds by not telling law enforcement officials in New Jersey about the monitoring of Muslims in Newark.

Christie said he was concerned with "this kind of affectation that the NYPD seems to have that they are the masters of the universe."

On Friday, King accused Christie of "overreacting" and said that if he had legitimate concerns, he should have called Kelly.

"I just found it a real disappointment the way he was conducting himself, the way he was taking cheap shots at Ray Kelly," King said. "I can't believe Gov. Christie is so narrow-minded that somehow he thinks terrorism is going to stop at the state line or the city line."

King also suggested that Christie was driven by ego. "His main objection seems to be that he wasn't . . . brought in. But the fact is that he wasn't governor. He was U.S. attorney. And I'm not aware of any major terror plots that he ever uncovered while he was U.S. attorney in New Jersey."

Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said Friday that King "doesn't know what he's talking about" when dismissing Christie's record on terror, citing a post-9/11 conviction of a man who was trying to sell a missile to a would-be terrorist, and those of several men accused of plotting to kill military personnel.

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