Newspaper Article - The New York Times

N.Y.P.D.'s New Intelligence Chief Takes Reins of Secretive Unit

  • Maria Cramer
| Aug. 13, 2023

Rebecca Weiner, 46, the deputy commissioner of the counterterrorism bureau, grew up in a family that was well acquainted with clandestine work.

Rebecca Weiner

Rebecca Weiner

Rebecca Weiner learned about catastrophic threats at an early age: She grew up in Santa Fe, N.M., near the cradle of the nuclear bomb.

Her grandfather, a mathematician, fled Poland in 1939, studied at Harvard and then moved to New Mexico in 1943 to help develop atomic weapons. In college, Ms. Weiner studied the ethical questions that Manhattan Project scientists, and their wives, confronted as they devised the bombs that annihilated two Japanese cities, but that they hoped would "end war as we know it," she said.

Now, Ms. Weiner, 46, has been named the New York Police Department's deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, commanding about 1,500 people spread throughout the city. The bureau includes dozens of analysts and hundreds of officers and investigators who monitor threats like bomb plots, mass shootings and spontaneous chaos like a social media influencer's video game giveaway that drew thousands of rowdy teenagers to Union Square this month.

A lawyer and 17-year department veteran, Ms. Weiner is taking over a bureau that includes a counterterrorism unit created after the Sept. 11 attacks. Since its inception, the unit has helped foil a plan to kidnap an American-Iranian journalist and what officials say were dozens of terrorist plots.

It is also a bureau whose work remains shrouded in secrecy and that has been condemned because of its surveillance activities, including in 2011, when the public learned that its officers had been spying on Muslims for years.

The bureau has been most visible when it has violated civil liberties, but Ms. Weiner said in an interview that it had protected them more conscientiously in the past decade. The unit's focus, now, she said, was on stopping so-called lone wolves like the man who massacred Black residents of Buffalo at a supermarket, the truck driver who mowed down eight people on a Manhattan bike path and the man who stabbed the author Salman Rushdie last August in Chautauqua, N.Y....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

Cramer, Maria."N.Y.P.D.'s New Intelligence Chief Takes Reins of Secretive Unit." The New York Times, August 13, 2023.

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