Today the Washington DC-based think tank Center for Security Policy held its Mightier Pen Award in midtown Manhattan and yours truly was in attendance.

Also in attendance was NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who has been taking heat from critics following an associated press report that the NYPD conducted extensive surveillance of Muslim communities in New York city and beyond.

On WOR-AM radio on Monday, Kelly said, “People have short memories to what happened here in 2001.”

At the lunch today, Kelly stood and received a standing ovation from about 100 security-minded folk in attendance as well as TV journalist Lou Dobbs and former New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

Regarding the controversial intel-gathering, Kelly has refused to back down – a stance that garnered him praise from speaker Andy McCarthy, former chief assistant US attorney, and CSP Director Frank Gaffney.

McCarthy offered a rousing defense of the intelligence gathering, which included New Jersey mosques, pointing out that the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center was plotted by Muslim extremists in Jersey City mosques.

Americans, McCarthy said, “are more concerned with preventing attacks than … indicting terrorists after" Americans have been killed and added that New Yorkers will have to decide "whether we want our security managed by the Associated Press and CAIR [The Council on American Islamic Relations] or whether we want it managed by Ray Kelly.”

Gaffney stressed that New York City has been extremist Muslim terrorists’ number one target and told Kelly, “I hope your example will be an inspiration to the policing done across America.”

Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of Fox News, won the Mightier Pen Award.