Mordecai Dzikansky, a New York police detective, had only recently taken up his post in Israel in 2003, when a shrapnel-packed bomb blew a bus to shreds in Haifa. Fifteen passengers, among them a 14-year-old American girl, were killed. Within hours, reports the New York Times, long before the Federal Bureau of Investigation saw a letter the suicide bomber had left behind, a copy was on the desk of New York police commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.
Security at public places throughout the city was quietly reinforced, officials said. It was precisely the kind of information Kelly wanted when he decided in 2002 to place his own detectives in police departments overseas. “Nothing compares to having one of our own working face to face with our counterparts abroad,” he said. The department’s overseas liaison program now has New York police officers working in seven cities, from Montreal to Singapore. The effort is meant to produce significant information about the evolution of Islamic terrorism, how New York can prevent another attack, and should one occur, how it can best recover. New York is negotiating to place an officer in Madrid, and for the first time is considering having a foreign police officer, an Egyptian, in the department’s own intelligence division. The FBI is said to resent deeply New York’s efforts to collect its own intelligence. Ed Cogswell, an FBI spokesman, said, “It’s a problem for the U.S. government, which needs to have a unified voice in foreign countries; and it’s important for the foreign government to know who the official representative of the U.S. government is.” The Police Foundation, a private organization, has financed the program, which officials say costs less than $700,000 a year.