Bill O'Reilly and former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly defended the NYPD's now defunct surveillance program called, “The Demographics Unit” in response to the deadly attacks in San Bernadino, California. Kelly argued that the program foiled sixteen terror plots in New York City, but a report found that the program never produced one viable lead since being adopted.
On December 2, multiple gunmen attacked a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California killing 14 people and wounding several others. Authorities have not yet ruled out the possibility of terrorism, and revealed the suspect's identity as Syed Rizwan Farook, an American citizen, and his wife Tashfeen Malik.
Bill O'Reilly discussed the San Bernardino attack and NYPD's Muslim surveillance program on the December 3 edition of his show with Kelly. O'Reilly lauded the program claiming “it did work” and said the program was merely about “protecting New York City.” Ray Kelly agreed, arguing that the program was “perfectly legal” and insisted that the profiling unit stopped “sixteen plots against New York City.”
O'Reilly ignored Kelly's false assertion, instead claiming that current Mayor Bill de Blasio labeled the program as profiling because he was “grandstanding” to his liberal base.
But a New York Times report found that the NYPD abandoned the surveillance program because it was completely ineffective. In an April 2014 New York Times report on the profiling program, “the police acknowledged that it never generated a lead,” contradicting Commissioner Kelly's claim that the program stopped “sixteen plots against New York City.”
Moreover, while O'Reilly argued that the program “was all about ... protecting New York City,” the ACLU found that NYPD's surveillance program to be “suspicionless,” “discriminatory,” and “unlawful,” and a United Nations report stated that the profiling based on race, ethnicity or religion “may constitute disproportionate interferences with human rights.”