Is it feds versus locals in the war on terror?
Law enforcement sources say NYPD officials are complaining that Justice Department lawyers are not moving fast enough to help obtain national security warrants in connection with terror investigations here.
A Justice Department spokesman says Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have exchanged letters, but would offer no details. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne declined to comment.
One local law enforcement source says the NYPD counter-terrorism division wants faster action by Washington on so-called FISA warrants (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) so investigators can try to better track terror suspects. Justice Department officials say only that they are enhancing coordination with the NYPD.
“While disagreements inevitably arise during the course of investigations, the Justice Department and FBI continue to work closely with the New York City Police Department with significant urgency and resolve to protect New York City and the entire nation against terrorism. This vital collaboration continues unabated through the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force,” Dean Boyd a Justice Department spokesman said.
State Homeland Security Secretary Michael Balboni says "It is incumbent upon the Justice Department to give local law enforcement every tool possible to help prevent the next attack."
Another New York law enforcement official says Justive Department lawyers understand the NYPD's concerns and is now trying to address them.
Legal experts say there are some significant hurdles to clear in order to obtain FISA warrants.