NEW YORK seems an ideal place to practice this theory of intellectual investigation, and the unit has managed over the years to attract people who have worked in the Washington bureaucracy and seem to prefer the city.
“We had people leaving jobs with the C.I.A. and military intelligence to come work for us,” Mr. Rascoff said. “Why were they doing that? Part of it was the noir quality of being within the confines of an institution like the N.Y.P.D. There is an emotional, even an aesthetic, immediacy in being in New York rather than sitting in a cubicle in some fluorescent-lit office in Langley.”
To Mr. Silber, the attraction is the opportunity to work at street level on terrorism cases.
Mitchell Silber is the leader of [to quote]:
. . . a little-known counterterrorism team deep within the crime-fighting structure of the New York Police Department. Formally known as the Analytic Unit of the department's Intelligence Division, the team was created in 2002 as part of the city’s response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It stands as a unique experiment in breaking traditional law-enforcement boundaries, comprising two dozen civilian experts -- lawyers, academics, corporate consultants, investment bankers, alumni of the World Bank, the Council on Foreign Relations and even a former employee of the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan. The team serves as the Police Department’s terrorism reference arm: available on demand to explain Islamic law or Pakistani politics to detectives in the field.
Mr. Silber’s analysts earn $55,000 to $95,000 a year working daily shifts at their offices in Manhattan and at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, but are available to put things into context around the clock, at the ring of a cellphone. Their assistance can be as complicated as explaining the interlocking network of Afghan tribes or the nuances of the Koran, or as simple as keeping current with New York’s foreign-language newspapers.