New York and Washington react to 9/11 threat with practiced seriousness
New York and Washington react to the unconfirmed bomb threat with heightened security amid intelligence from the raid on Osama bin Laden affirming his interest in the 9/11 anniversary.
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Both New York and Washington have wide experience with ramping up for potential security threats.Skip to next paragraph
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“Every year there is an anniversary, that’s the time when you would think that we should heighten our security, and we do,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, at a briefing Thursday evening. “The risks are greater then, we imagine, but nobody is really sure.”
In the past during heightened security levels, the NYPD has set up roadblocks outside the city’s bridges and tunnels and pulled over trucks, vans and other vehicles. On Friday, they started those efforts again, pulling over vehicles.
In New York’s hot and steamy subway stops, police set up tables to search backpacks. Underneath Grand Central Station, four police officers eyed travelers as they entered the subway. Travelers using Amtrak reported an increased number of police and canine units as well.
The police presence is expected to get tighter and tighter as the weekend progresses. By late Saturday or early Sunday, access to the area around Ground Zero is expected to be very tightly controlled in what officials are terming a “frozen zone.” There will be quick-strike reaction forces buttressed with automatic weapons and heavy armor.
That’s on top of an already significant antiterror effort. According to Mr. Bloomberg, there are radiation detectors and 3,000 cameras positioned around the city, police offers stationed in a dozen cities around the world, 100 more assigned to work with the FBI, and a budget of $8.5 billion to keep the city safe.
“And, a lot of what we do you don’t see – the undercover people who are really the eyes and the ears,” Bloomberg told CBS News on Friday. “The level of security in this city probably makes it the safest place to be.”
According to Bloomberg, the city has broken up at least 13 terror plots in the past decade. “For all we know there were many others that, when terrorists want to attack us, took a look at what kind of precautions the NYPD and other agencies take here and said, ‘We’re not going to get away with it, so we’re not going to do it.’ ”
Cilluffo says it’s true that New York’s efforts are at a high level. But, he points out, “No one is 100 percent – that’s why they are taking it so seriously.”