After Sept. 11, 2001, as New York City began to build a counterterrorism effort to rival those of most nations, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly decided to put an end to the department’s reliance on the FBI for classified data. He wanted to install a classified-information vault, like the FBI’s, at his headquarters. Kelly made the request in the spring of 2002 and waited six years for an answer. After questions from the Washington Post, the FBI approved the vault, a guarded room known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.
No other police department in the United States has responded to the threats of terrorism in quite the same way as New York’s, or clashed as sharply with the nation’s primary counterterrorism agency, the FBI. A thousand officers are assigned full time to operations drawing on the traditional missions of the CIA and the FBI. New York has so many native foreign-language speakers that it lends translators to the Pentagon. “People have information, and they want to control information,” Kelly told the Post. “Controlling information is power, and they don’t want to let it go — it is as fundamental as that.”