View Full Version : The NYPD's Fight Against Terrorism

January 30th, 2003, 03:22 PM
From the February 03, 2003 issue of New York Magazine

The NYPD's War On Terror

Frustrated by the lack of help from Washington, police commissioner Ray Kelly has created his own versions of the CIA and the FBI within the department. So how will we know if he has succeeded? If nothing happens.

By Craig Horowitz

Buried deep in the heart of one of New York's outer boroughs, in an area inhabited by junkyards and auto-body shops, is an unmarked redbrick building that stands as an extraordinary symbol of police commissioner Ray Kelly's obsessive commitment to the fight against terrorism. Here, miles from Manhattan, is the headquarters of the NYPD's one-year-old counterterrorism bureau.

When you step through the plain metal door at the side of the building, it is like falling down the rabbit hole—you're transported from a mostly desolate, semi-industrial area in the shadow of an elevated highway into the new, high-tech, post-9/11 world of the New York City Police Department.

The place is so gleaming and futuristic—so unlike the average police precinct, with furniture and equipment circa 1950—that you half expect to see Q come charging out with his latest super-weapon for 007. Headlines race across LED news tickers. There are electronic maps and international-time walls with digital readouts for cities such as Moscow, London, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Islamabad, Manila, Sydney, Baghdad, and Tokyo.

In what is called the Global Intelligence Room, twelve large flat-screen TVs that hang from ceiling mounts broadcast Al-Jazeera and a variety of other foreign programming received via satellite. The Police Department's newly identified language specialists—who speak, among other tongues, Arabic, Pashto, Urdu, and Fujianese—sit with headphones on, monitoring the broadcasts.

There are racks of high-end audio equipment for listening, taping, and dubbing; computer access to a host of superdatabases; stacks of intelligence reports and briefing books on all the world's known terrorist organizations; and a big bulletin board featuring a grid with the names and phone numbers of key people in other police departments in this country and around the world.

The security area just inside the door is encased not only in bulletproof glass but in ballistic Sheetrock as well. The building has its own backup generator (everyone learned the importance of redundancy on September 11); and the center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Even the 125 cops in the bureau (hand-picked from nearly 900 applicants) look a little sharper. Some are in dark-navy polo shirts that bear the counterterrorism-bureau logo, and others are in suits that seem to be a cut above the usual discount-warehouse version of cop fashion.

Though the counterterrorism bureau is still in its infancy, law-enforcement officials from around the U.S. and overseas regularly come to see it and learn. And it was all put together practically overnight—it opened in February of last year, little more than a month after Ray Kelly was sworn in as police commissioner.

The bureau, along with the NYPD's totally revamped intelligence division, and the high-level hires from Washington—a lieutenant general from the Pentagon and a spymaster from the CIA—is part of Kelly's vision to remake the NYPD into a force that can effectively respond to the world's dangerous new realities.

There are now New York City police officers stationed in London working with New Scotland Yard; in Lyons at the headquarters of Interpol; and in Hamburg, Tel Aviv, and Toronto. There are also two cops on assignment at FBI headquarters in Washington, and New York detectives have traveled to Afghanistan, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, and the military's prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba to conduct interrogations. Members of the department's command staff have also attended sessions at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

And there are the Hercules Teams, elite, heavily armed, Special Forces–type police units that pop up daily around the city. It can be at the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, or the stock exchange, wherever the day's intelligence reports suggest they could be needed. These small teams arrive in black Suburbans, sheathed in armor-plated vests and carrying 9-mm. submachine guns—sometimes with air or sea support. Their purpose is to intimidate and to very publicly mount a show of force. Kelly knows that terrorists do a lot of reconnaissance, and the Hercules Teams were designed to disrupt their planning. Like an ADT warning sign in front of a house, they're also intended to send a message that this is not an easy target.

The police commissioner now has what's called an STU (Secured Telephone Unit) on his desk. It is a phone line that enables him to talk to someone in the White House or the Pentagon without fear of being monitored. When a key on the phone is turned, the conversation is electronically encrypted.

"We are doing all these things," Kelly says over coffee in his fourteenth-floor office at police headquarters, "because New York is still the No. 1 target. We have been targeted four times, twice successfully, and the city remains the most symbolic, substantive target for the terrorists. These are cunning, patient, deliberate people who want to kill us and kill us in big numbers."


On a bright October day several weeks after September 11, Kelly and his wife, Veronica, were finally allowed to return to their Battery Park City apartment—not to move back in, but to pick up a few personal items. Before they left the building, one block from the World Trade Center, they went up to the roof. There, Kelly consoled his weeping wife as they looked in stunned disbelief at the devastation of their neighborhood.

Eight years earlier, back in 1993 when the Trade Center was attacked the first time, Kelly was police commissioner. Mayor David Dinkins was in Japan when the buildings were bombed, so Kelly essentially took charge. It was Kelly who went on television to calm the city, to let everyone know in his powerful Marine kind of way that everything was under control.

Now Kelly is staking his reputation and his legacy on the fight against terrorism. "Four months after 9/11, when Kelly was about to be sworn in, you just didn't get a sense of confidence at the federal, state, or local level that changes were being made," says former NYPD first deputy commissioner John Timoney, who was recently named police chief of Miami. "Ray could easily have said, 'What do I know about this stuff? It's the Feds' job.' It takes a lot of courage to do what he's doing. He's leaving himself open to be second-guessed and criticized if things don't go well. So he's making decisions that may benefit the city but be detrimental to him personally."

Kelly is familiar with being second-guessed and criticized. He served as NYPD commissioner during the final eighteen months of the Dinkins administration, in 1992 and '93. Though he was essentially finishing Commissioner Lee Brown's term, he did manage several significant accomplishments. He cleaned up and restructured Internal Affairs, which was a serious mess. And it was Kelly, not Bratton or Giuliani, who took care of the squeegee guys.

Not that anyone knows it. "When Bratton came in with his arrogance and swagger, he showed Ray up nine ways from Sunday," says a former high-level member of Bratton's own team. "Giuliani and Bratton lumped him in with Dinkins as one big ineffective management disaster."

So Kelly has plenty of reasons to want to make his mark this time. Even so, isn't combating terrorism primarily a federal responsibility?

When I ask Kelly this question, he looks at me long and hard. He is a man who knows his way around Washington. In addition to his time in the mid-nineties as undersecretary of the Treasury, he was head of the Customs Service. He also worked for Interpol and was a special State Department envoy in Haiti where he was sent to establish and train a police force.

"I knew we couldn't rely on the federal government," Kelly says finally. "I know it from my own experience. We're doing all the things we're doing because the federal government isn't doing them. It's not enough to say it's their job if the job isn't being done. Since 9/11, the federal government hasn't taken any additional resources and put them here."

Has any kind of an increased federal presence been asked for? Soldiers? Fighter planes? More FBI agents? "Asked for?" he says, repeating my question incredulously. "Would you think it would have to be asked for? Look," he says, shifting in his chair and crossing his legs so the .38 in his ankle holster is visible. "It's a different world. We've redeployed. We've got 1,000 people on this. All seven subway tunnels under the river are covered, and it's the same with all the other sensitive locations. It's taken constant attention. It's extremely difficult. But make no mistake: It's something we have to do ourselves."

Every morning at eight, in the commissioner's conference room on the top floor of police headquarters (another NYPD venue where, by the way, you can watch Al-Jazeera), Kelly is briefed by his two key players in the counterterrorism battle: Lieutenant General Frank Libutti, who runs the department's counterterrorism bureau, and David Cohen, formerly No. 4 at the CIA, who is now in charge of the NYPD's intelligence division.

The two men couldn't play more to type if they were actors hired to fill these roles. Libutti, a fit, silver-haired 35-year veteran who was in charge of all Marine forces in the Pacific and the Persian Gulf, is, in a word, crisp. His navy pinstripe suit looks perfectly tailored, his shirt is starched, and he has an open, forthright manner. He is friendly in a lieutenant-general-determined-to-stay-on-message sort of way. He calls terrorists "the bad guys."

Cohen is a much grayer, more recessive presence. He has been described as "bookish," but that's not quite right. His look is much closer to that of, say, a software designer, someone who appears both geeky and cunning.

Cohen rarely gives interviews, and in the days following his appointment, he seemed to be amusing himself and perhaps trying to create a mysterious aura by playing with the reporters who questioned him. He was very sketchy on the details of his background. When asked his age, he'd respond only that he was "somewhere between 28 and 70." (For the record, he's 61.)

"I knew we had to do business differently," Kelly says of his marquee hires. "I thought we had to get some people with a fresh outlook and with federal experience to help us."

With Libutti, Kelly gets someone who has command presence, a man who has known pressure and conflict—he was injured three times in Vietnam. Libutti also has a record of accomplishment as someone who can, as they like to say in the military, organize and marshal forces and execute an objective. And in fact, he was able to "stand up" the counterterrorism bureau (Marine-speak for get it up and running) within weeks.

Job one for the new bureau is threat assessment on landmarks, public and private properties, and the city's infrastructure. The bureau has nine five-man teams, whose members were schooled at the federal law-enforcement training center in Georgia.

These teams could, for example, look at the Brooklyn Bridge, a Con Ed plant, or the offices of New York Magazine. Once an inspection is complete, the team produces a written report that includes detailed security suggestions. Though most of the sites are chosen by the bureau based on risk level, some are done by request. This process has helped the department establish closer ties to the business community.

I knew we couldn't rely on the federal government. We're doing all the things we're doing because the federal government isn't doing them. It's not enough to say it's their job if the job isn't being done.

The counterterrorism bureau also does independent intelligence analysis. The focus is on techniques. If two suicide bombers in a row in Israel are wearing Columbia ski jackets, for example, they'll identify the marker and issue an alert so cops here are aware of this.

Cohen's challenge, on the other hand, was to re-create and give new relevance to a division in the Police Department that already existed. "Our intelligence division was in essence an escort service," says Kelly. "They handled dignitaries and bigwigs when they came into town. It was an intelligence service in name only. We simply had to get better information. We didn't know what was going on in our own city, let alone the rest of the world."

On paper, Cohen is exactly what Kelly needed to execute his vision: a high-level guy from inside the intelligence community who has knowledge and access. Someone who can get the right people on the phone and find out what they know. Libutti is plugged in as well. Just before joining the NYPD, he was a special assistant to Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge. He served as a liaison between Ridge and the Pentagon.

One morning in Libutti's ninth-floor office at police headquarters, he and Cohen talked about their roles. They are kind of like the Rumsfeld and Tenet of the Police Department. Cohen, who is fairly expansive considering his reputation, admits that when they signed on, their roles were not all that well defined.

"When we got here, there was no counterterrorism doctrine for a city like New York," he says in a faint Boston accent. "There was no playbook, no manual you could turn to and say, 'We should do two of these and a couple of the things in that chapter, and we have now built our counterterrorism program.' The process for us has been to write and implement the playbook simultaneously. And it's like trying to change the tires on a speeding car."

What comes through most clearly from the two men is that the lifeblood of their efforts is information. Cohen makes this point when he discusses the recent incident in London when authorities arrested three men suspected in a plot to unleash cyanide in the Underground: "When something like that happens, we need to know in real time everything we can find out about it. Obviously, the subway is a real hot spot for us given that three and a half million people a day use it. So we need to understand what kind of operation they tried to roll up, was it pre-surveillance-stage, planning-stage, was it really cyanide, was the subway the real target? The more times things get rolled up overseas, the smarter we get. And the smarter we get, the stronger we get."

The flow of quality information is also critical in helping Kelly decide how to respond to threats. Most threats that come in, according to Cohen, don't name a place, so it is often difficult even to be sure New York is the target. "You have to understand the nuances of the threat," Cohen says. "Where it's coming from, how to define it, what it really means. Frank and I help interpret the information, and that enables the commissioner to make an informed decision about responding. This war is going to go on a long time, and you've got to calibrate your response. You don't want to burn everyone out."


What Kelly has done with Libutti and Cohen, essentially, is to create his own FBI and CIA within the New York City Police Department. "This is all about Ray Kelly's contempt for the Feds and how they blew it, over and over again," says a former member of the NYPD who knows the commissioner well.

"The Feds kept getting information they didn't act on," he continues. "So what Kelly's trying to do is say, 'Hey, just in case they don't fix all that stuff at the FBI and the CIA, we gotta find out the things they're finding out. And we gotta act on them.' Let's face it: A lot of this isn't rocket science. It's cultivating sources, talking to informants, running down leads, getting search warrants, and following up on every piece of information you get. In other words, it's good, solid investigative police work. The kind of thing New York cops do every day."

It's not every day, however, that a major figure in law enforcement like Kelly does something so contemptuous of the system. Yet there has been no outrage, no intramural rock-throwing over what he's done. Even the FBI, which has traditionally looked down on local cops, has barely raised an eyebrow over Kelly's moves.

"Our intelligence service was in essence an escort service," says Commissioner Kelly. "They handled dignitaries and bigwigs when they came into town. We simply had to get better information."

One possible explanation for the FBI's passivity is that the agency has been under such relentless critical fire from Congress and the media that it is in no position to take on new battles. Another possibility is assistant FBI director Kevin Donovan, who was recently put in charge of the FBI's New York office. Donovan gets high marks for competence and as a team player. By all accounts, he is someone who looks to eliminate problems rather than create them.

But the most significant factor may be the most obvious. Given everything that has happened, the FBI may simply be happy to have the help. When I interviewed both Donovan and Joseph Billy, the agent in charge of counterterrorism in New York, they praised Kelly and his cops with alacrity.

"This is a very big city," says Donovan, "and we just don't have the resources to collect all the information. We don't have 40,000 eyes and ears on patrol like the NYPD. We have 1,100 agents in this office. And no one knows the streets here like the local officers. They know what to look for at two in the morning. They know what's out of place, what doesn't seem right. What Ray Kelly is doing makes perfect sense and is complementary to what we do. No city is better prepared right now than New York."

Tom Reppetto, who heads the Citizens Crime Commission and has written a history of the department called NYPD: A City and Its Police, more or less agrees with Donovan. In addition, he says, the FBI is not an immediate-response agency in any event. You wouldn't call the FBI, for example, if you found a bomb in Union Square Park.

"Remember, too, that the police can do a lot of the counterterrorism work as part of their regular duties," Reppetto says. "You'll notice there's been a surge in arrests of homeless people recently, and they seem to be getting arrested under bridges and in tunnels. Know why? Because police are spending a lot of time under bridges and in tunnels."

The relationship between the FBI and the NYPD has probably never been more critical than it is right now. The FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force is one of the key instruments in the effort to protect the city. The task force was a relatively sleepy backwater run by the FBI but made up of both agents and detectives. One of Kelly's earliest moves was to pump up the number of detectives from 17 to 125, a huge commitment that the FBI matched. Kelly's intensity and his willingness to push the envelope were demonstrated early on when he tried to muscle control of the JTTF away from the FBI. According to sources, Kelly and Libutti sent a two-star police chief named Phil Pulaski over to the JTTF, which is housed at the FBI's New York headquarters.

Pulaski is generally viewed within the NYPD as brilliant—he designed and set up the police lab. However, as one cop put it to me, he also has a "Ph.D. in pissing people off." So he trooped over to the JTTF and told them, after the FBI had been in charge for over twenty years, that he was now the boss. Though you can imagine the reaction by the Feds, Donovan managed to maintain his cool and prevent a truly damaging explosion.

He simply told Libutti it was not going to work. "You can't send a guy to my house," the director reportedly said, "and have him say he's in charge. Especially without even calling me." Libutti said he was sorry and reeled Pulaski back in.

But the response from the two sides when this episode is brought up is perhaps more revealing than the incident itself. "Pulaski had a job to do," says the FBI's Joseph Billy. "He had to integrate a large number of detectives into the task force, and he's a very results-oriented individual. There was some tension, but it all worked out. The FBI is still the lead agency for the JTTF."

Libutti is not quite as conciliatory: "Without criticizing their efforts, part of our responsibility is to reach out to the federal side and demand excellence in support of what we're doing. I got a guy over there—Pulaski—who's hard-charging. His job is to keep me posted, and he's going to press, press, press, to turn over every rock to find out everything that's happening on the federal side. I think I know what's going on. What worries me is what I don't know."

Part of what Kelly learned during his first term as commissioner—and its aftermath—is the importance of perception. It may not be fair and it may not be right, but sometimes it is not enough just to do a good job.

Self-promotion is not Kelly's natural mode, but it seems he has learned a few things from watching eight years of Giuliani. Kelly has become the face of the NYPD in the same way that Giuliani was always the face of New York. If there's a bodega robbed in the Bronx on a Sunday afternoon, it is most likely Ray Kelly who will be on the six- and eleven-o'clock news.

He also must have recognized, coming back to the NYPD, that no matter what he did on the crime front, he would not get any credit. When the FBI crime stats were released last month, New York's numbers were terrific. That week, in an editorial celebrating the continuing crime decline, the New York Post congratulated Kelly this way: "The local crime rate continues to drop—even as crime nationwide is on the rise—because Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg continue to employ the previous administration's anti-crime tactics."

Terrorism, by contrast, is Kelly's fight. But for all of the risk and the additional headaches, Kelly may, ironically, end up getting very little credit on this front even if he succeeds. When you're battling street crime, success and failure are easy to measure. Murder goes up or goes down. Rapes increase or they decrease. But how do you measure the terrorist acts that didn't happen? The ones all the painstaking work may have prevented? In fact, some of the successes may never even be made public when they do occur.

In November, the Times ran a full-page story with the headline deepening shadows that stated in its lead, "Once again, it's not uncommon to feel a vague sense of dread when walking down a shadowy street." And "New Yorkers are more fearful these days."

"You don't want this kind of perception to fester," Kelly says with a hint of frustration in his voice. "I'm aware it's out there. But it is a little difficult to deal with when it's not based on some reality."

With the crime numbers way down from four years ago, why do average people say they feel less safe? What has changed for them? "The elephant in the corner of the room," Kelly says, "is 9/11. That's why people feel less safe."

So Kelly's job is to end the fear. Not the fear of conventional street crime, which continues to be under control, but fear of a menace that can be very hard to see. "Kelly's a very methodical guy who does things step-by-step, by the numbers," says Reppetto. "And he is clearly determined that if something does happen, nobody is going to be able to say they didn't do everything possible to stop it. There won't be some report issued afterward saying the NYPD fell short."


The most obvious tests of Kelly's new counterterrorism strategy are large public events. And two months ago, with several hundred thousand people gathered in Times Square for New Year's Eve, the pressure was really on the commissioner and the NYPD. They had executed what Kelly calls their "counterterrorism overlay package." Undercovers were everywhere. Intelligence officers mingled in the crowd. Sharpshooters were on the rooftops. Police boats were on the water, choppers were overhead, and Hercules Teams were ready to move.

Kelly also had the department's Archangel package in place, which includes ESU teams equipped to detect a chemical or biological attack and to respond if one does in fact occur.

Is New York less safe than it was? "You don't want this kind of perception to fester. I'm aware that it's out there. The elephant in the corner of the room is 9/11. That's why people feel less safe."

The five days leading up to the celebration had been especially difficult. There were intelligence reports detailing serious harbor threats, including information about a possible plan to stage eight separate diversionary acts culminating with a major terrorist attack. All the locations were covered. The water had an eerie, blacker-than-usual look to it because it was mostly empty. No pleasure boats were allowed out.

Police had also been looking for the five men who might have come across the border from Canada using illegal documents. Michael John Hamdani, the Pakistani document forger under arrest in Toronto, told the NYPD detective who interrogated him about the men. This prompted the FBI to instigate and then call off a nationwide manhunt. Hamdani, however, didn't say they were terrorists, just that they were trying to sneak into the U.S. For Kelly, this highlighted what he believes is an ongoing alien-smuggling problem. Cops hit various locations around the city during the day, and several arrests were made.

Kelly also had credible intelligence that something might happen between Christmas and New Year's Day at the stock exchange. All week, Hercules Teams had been flooding the financial district. And then, of course, there was the gathering in Times Square itself.

"We were covering a lot of bases," says Kelly. "But we were addressing all these things appropriately. We all felt we'd done everything we could've reasonably done to make the night a safe one. You can really see the force and the power of the Police Department manifestly displayed on a night like New Year's Eve."

Finally, at around 1:30 in the morning, when most of the crowd had drifted away, Kelly had a momentary flash of relief, and satisfaction. The night had been so well handled that there were only three arrests—for disorderly conduct—in a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people. But Kelly's pleasure was short-lived. "When you get past a particular event now, there's the next event you have to address. And we were concerned about New Year's Day."


Kelly has taken on this burden at an extraordinarily difficult moment for the Police Department. With the city facing its most serious deficits in 30 years, budget cuts have hit the department hard. By July, Kelly will be down 3,000 officers from the roughly 40,000-man force he took over last January. In addition, he has 1,000 cops assigned full-time to his fight against the terrorists.

In an attempt to fill in the gaps, Kelly has energetically tried to convince the federal government that the cost of protecting New York is no longer just a municipal responsibility. Though a half-billion dollars of need has been identified, Kelly and his staff have whittled it down to a $261 million list that includes money for training and equipment. Despite several trips to Washington, Kelly has so far made no progress.

He has also been a good soldier and not publicly fought with the mayor over budget issues. When the mayor was booed last week at the graduation ceremony for 2,108 new cops—largely because his budget-cutting included talk of police layoffs—Kelly enthusiastically came to his defense. However, the police commissioner was not always so sanguine about the cuts. When Bloomberg made his first statement last July calling for 7.5 percent cuts across all city departments, sources say, Kelly balked.

According to one source, Kelly initially told the mayor he couldn't play ball on the budget cuts. He was not going to be the police commissioner on whose watch crime began to go up because the department was underfunded and undermanned. Though everything was worked out amicably, Bloomberg's people actually contacted several former commissioners—including Bratton and Timoney—to see what they were up to. "The conversations were to put out friendly feelers that were one stop short of 'Are you still available?,' says the source.

The potential downside for Kelly of this focus on counterterrorism is enormous. "I know there's a universe out there just waiting to say, 'Aha, I told you so,' " he says. "But let me tell you something. We're taking care of business. There is this notion that this administration cannot do it all, something's gotta give. Well, the city is safer than it's ever been in modern history."

Before september 11, the nightmare that haunted New York's police commissioners—and commissioners in other big cities as well—tended to revolve around police brutality and race—Amadou Diallo, say, or Rodney King. One commissioner who left his job not all that long ago while riding a wave of popularity in his city reportedly told a confidant that he believed he was "one 3 a.m. phone call away from having it all fall apart." Since 9/11, of course, "having it all fall apart" means something entirely different—and much scarier. "We don't know the time and we don't know the place," says Libutti, "but we do know the bad guys are coming back."

Sitting in his office one recent evening as a cold wind whipped across the plaza in front of police headquarters, Kelly showed no signs of the pressure he is under.

"I enjoy this job and I'm living in the moment," he said while eating a cookie. "The world has changed, but I believe I'm doing the right thing. We're the biggest, most important city in the world, and this is the biggest, most talented police force. And we have done everything we can reasonably do to prevent another attack."

February 15th, 2004, 08:16 AM
February 15, 2004

New York Police Take Broad Steps in Facing Terror


New York City police joined the medical examiner's office in a chemical weapons attack drill last September at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

The New York Police Department, working with city health officials, federal authorities and other agencies, has been preparing for a possible attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, perhaps the most daunting threat facing municipalities in a post-9/11 world.

Meeting in secret and conducting complex drills, the department has brought together government agencies in a broad effort for much of the last year. In doing so, it has put together a program that some national security and law enforcement officials describe as unrivaled among American cities.

Police officials say special units have trained and drilled, for instance, to board cruise ships from helicopters and piers and have begun reviewing floor plans of most large Midtown theaters, conducting exercises inside some to improve their ability to respond to a possible attack, in the aftermath of the deadly siege of a Moscow theater two years ago. This spring, city and federal officials say, the police will work alongside the city health department and other agencies to open a pilot program that they hope will ultimately allow officials to test the air across the city for biological agents quickly and constantly.

The Police Department has also begun to prepare for its role in a sweeping citywide plan to get antibiotics or vaccine to every resident after a widespread attack with biological weapons, and is drafting security plans for about 200 sites that could function as distribution centers.

Officials say the department has even taken to the city's streets to conduct a drill with the city's medical examiner's office to prepare for a chemical weapons attack that would litter the streets with contaminated bodies.

"We're thinking about the unthinkable — what a few years ago was the unthinkable," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in a recent interview, adding that the preparations were not in response to a specific or direct threat. "It's something we're trying to take head-on, but the scope and magnitude of the problems are daunting."

Department officials said that much of the planning was still preliminary, and that much remained to be done. And already, they acknowledge, they recognize that some measures may simply be unworkable. The Police Department, for example, has deep concerns about its ability to enforce a quarantine in all or part of the city.

"They are trying to do what Washington is supposed to be doing, but isn't," said a former national security official in the Clinton and the second Bush administrations, Richard A. Clarke.

Weeks spent with department officials and exercises in recent months in which officials brainstormed and struggled with the novel problems an attack could pose underscored both the epic challenges facing the city and the size of its ambitions.

Extensive interviews show, among other things, that the Police Department is scheduled to begin chemical and biological training for entire units on Wednesday, with the goal of having 10,000 officers ready in time for the Republican National Convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 at Madison Square Garden. The department, too, is helping to prepare guidelines so police detectives and F.B.I. agents can conduct joint investigations with city health department epidemiologists in the event of a biological attack.

Some health department officials will also obtain top-secret security clearances so they, too, can use classified information as part of those inquiries, officials said.

The Police Department is also preparing a plan to house and feed thousands of police officers, in some cases in city schools, to help keep them working in the aftermath of a catastrophic attack.

The Lessons of Sept. 11

The agency's past performance in responding to terrorist attacks has not been an unmitigated success. Indeed, some critics have said that major gaps in coordination and planning were evident in its response to the Sept. 11 attacks. But officials say that it was partly to address many of those sorts of issues and to plan for the threats of the future that it brought in a team of experts, including David Cohen, a former top official at the Central Intelligence Agency, and Michael Sheehan, the State Department's counterterrorism chief under President Bill Clinton.

After a huge attack, officials acknowledge, the responsibilities of the Police Department would be enormous and would potentially create a significant strain on manpower, despite a force of roughly 37,000 that makes it the nation's largest municipal police agency. Officers would be needed to provide security for hospitals, drug distribution centers and other locations. They would also play some role in securing or transporting the drugs from the strategic pharmaceutical stockpile, which is where the city would get antibiotics or vaccine to distribute after a biological attack.

Additional officers would be required to maintain order in a potentially panicky city, which could experience an exodus, at the same time the department would be seeking to increase patrols to deter a possible secondary attack as they were investigating the one that had already occurred.

The city also faces other potential obstacles. While a catastrophic attack would undoubtedly put the police to work beside the Fire Department, as well as a variety of other agencies, the two uniformed services have yet to complete a set of formal rules for how they should respond to disasters, a requirement to receive federal funds, despite plans to complete them by last summer. And enduring tensions between the two agencies remain.

Further complicating matters, the city's Office of Emergency Management, the agency charged under the City Charter with coordinating the response during a disaster, has been without a commissioner since October.

"The traditional rivalry between the police and other departments is worse than ever," said Jerome M. Hauer, a former acting assistant secretary of health and human services for biodefense in the Bush administration who now heads a biodefense center at George Washington University. Mr. Hauer also served as the city's first emergency management director.

A spokesman for Mr. Kelly, Paul J. Browne, dismissed the criticism, noting that Mr. Hauer campaigned on behalf of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's onetime rival, Mark Green. He cited what he said were a raft of measures Mr. Kelly had taken to improve relations with the Fire Department.

But Mr. Kelly acknowledged that no one was overconfident.

"I know that we've done more about this problem than any other police department in the country, but that's not enough," Mr. Kelly said. "It's like an onion: you peel it off and there are so many other issues that emerge."

A High-Tech Wall of Defense

Early detection, experts have long argued, is perhaps the most important aspect of a response to a biological or chemical attack. And so for months, New York has been trying to acquire the most sophisticated detection equipment available.

To that end, the city has been working with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, developers of the autonomous pathogen detection system, a set of devices that not only continuously monitor the air, but also automatically detect and identify, through multiple simultaneous testing, the presence of more than 100 different bacteria or viruses - within 45 minutes.

Fully automated, they operate 24 hours a day for an entire week without servicing or human intervention, said John M. Dzenitis, a Livermore engineer in charge of the program.

J. Patrick Fitch, the head of Livermore's chemical and biological national security program, said the detector's ability to test for more than 100 agents by seeking protein and DNA signatures distinguished it from other detectors. He said Washington had invested almost $20 million since 1998 in developing the system, which has been field-tested at the Albuquerque and San Francisco airports, and in Washington's Metro transit system.

"This is as close to instant detection as any system has come," said Dani-Margot Zavasky, the physician and infectious-disease specialist whom the city's counterterrorism bureau hired as its medical director in 2002.

Because germs spread rapidly, hours can mean the difference between warding off an epidemic and allowing it to take hold. If the city were attacked with smallpox, it would have only four days to vaccinate people potentially exposed to the virus, which kills about a third of those infected.

But city and federal officials caution that the pathogen detection system is not ready to operate outdoors or on its own because, among other things, it has yet to be "ruggedized." "That means we don't know if it can function well in ice or heat or high winds or with someone climbing all over it," one federal official said.

Federal and city counterterrorism officials said they hoped that several of the new detectors would be installed in time for use during the Republican convention.

For the moment, then, the city remains reliant on the technology in place at 30 cities nationwide. The system, known as Biowatch, uses environmental air monitors to sniff the air for about 15 potentially lethal pathogens. Ten of the portable, nondescript monitors are scattered throughout the city.

But Biowatch, officials acknowledge, does not provide "real-time detection." Federal officials or contract workers must collect filters from the monitors each day - or more often during a heightened threat - and take them to government labs for testing. This means at least a 24-hour delay before results are known.

But similar surveillance is going on elsewhere throughout the city. The Police Department has been using more than 700 personal radiation detectors for more than a year to identify unusual radioactive materials, checking trucks on the street and cars in garages around the city, among other objects.

And in a 14-month-old federal program, employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey equipped with radiation detection devices have been stationed at the entrances to New York bridges and tunnels, subways, airports and ports.

Eight Million Vaccinations

"No other city is as eager for everything we have to offer as New York," said Parney Albright, an assistant secretary of homeland security.

The city's plan to vaccinate residents or distribute medications after a sweeping biological attack or infectious-disease outbreak, initially formulated before the Sept. 11 attacks, remains a monumental logistical challenge that would involve more than a dozen agencies and, officials say, tens of thousands of city workers and volunteers.

In the worst case, a large attack, the working plan provides for more than 200 distribution points in the five boroughs, where as many as eight million people would go for medication or vaccinations.

The plan was created by the city's Office of Emergency Management, which first began working on it in 1998. Officials there and at the health department, which plays perhaps the biggest role, say it will allow the city to vaccinate or distribute medication to the entire population, moving roughly 40,000 people through each distribution point, in 5 to 10 days' time.

Officials acknowledge that the goal - giving the city the capability to provide medication quickly enough to save lives - would be extraordinarily difficult to achieve in the kind of crisis atmosphere that an attack with smallpox or other pathogen would create.

But the health commissioner, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, along with emergency management and other officials, call the plan flexible, carefully considered and exhaustive. They say it will get the job done.

"I'm not minimizing how difficult it would be," Dr. Frieden said. But he cited the city's sweeping smallpox vaccination effort more than 50 years ago as an example. "In 1947, the city vaccinated six million people in three weeks, so it's been done before," he said.

The plan, subject to revision, could also be instituted on a much smaller scale, such as for a neighborhood.

Police officials, working with the health department and the Office of Emergency Management, have begun to put together their own specific programs for each of the 203 distribution points, which would be in specially selected city buildings in the five boroughs, city schools among them. The Police Department has dispatched a commander to each location to begin drafting a plan to help get them up and running.

Police officers would provide security outside the buildings, and school security officers would be stationed inside, another official said.

Planning Without End

"I don't think our planning will ever be done," Dr. Frieden said. "We always want to be more prepared.''

Officials pointed to a distribution drill in May 2002 run by the Office of Emergency Management, along with the health department, the Police and Fire Departments and other agencies. During the daylong exercise, a single distribution point was able to process more than 1,400 people an hour, well beyond, the 400-an-hour rate each of the 200 distribution points would need to handle to vaccinate or provide medication to eight million people in five days, officials said.

The proposal on the table at an emergency response strategy session one Saturday late last year was ambitious but complicated: a plan to distribute atropine anti-nerve agent auto-injectors to all city police units to enable them to respond more quickly to a chemical weapons attack.

The Office of Emergency Management, city hospitals, ambulances and police emergency teams now have 100,000 Mark I auto-injectors that American soldiers in Iraq were given in the early days of the war to protect them from a deadly nerve agent attack.

To be effective, the needles containing the powerful antidote must be jabbed into a victim exposed to a nerve agent within minutes of exposure. But the injectors are useless against non-nerve agents. And administering this powerful drug to someone who has not been exposed to such an agent could have severe and adverse health consequences, Dr. Zavasky warned those at the meeting that day.

The atropine injection kits, she also noted, are designed mainly for military use - for young, healthy soldiers. They have not been widely tested on civilians, she said.

"For most chemical agents, removing clothing and washing with soap and water eliminates 85 to 95 percent of the chemicals," she said.

In the end, then, the city decided not to expand its distribution of the antidotes to greater numbers of police officers, which, officials said, would be impractical and risky.

Understanding Limitations

As the city wrestles with the question of how best to prepare for a major attack, officials say, deciding what not to attempt is almost as important as deciding what to try.

"Be realistic," Mr. Kelly cautioned at a recent gathering of senior police officials.

That realism, officials say, can be dictated in part by financial, legal and practical constraints. And federal counterterrorism officials and private experts have praised Mr. Kelly's decision not to opt for what terrorism experts call a theoretical "gold standard" in efforts to deter and, if need be, respond to an attack with unconventional weapons that may not be practical.

And so, because of cost or logistical reasons, the city has also ruled out developing its own stockpile of drugs and vaccines for police use in an unconventional terrorist attack. Instead, it has chosen to rely on the federal government's strategic stockpiles, which are supposed to be able to be delivered to New York in a matter of hours.

A critical issue police officials have agonized over is the question of enforcing a quarantine and isolation in the event of an epidemic caused by natural or unnatural causes, like a terrorist attack.

Initially, the Police Department considered devising its own plan to isolate those who might have been exposed to a highly infectious, potentially lethal agent. But city health officials have begun to formulate a plan to persuade New Yorkers exposed to a deadly infectious pathogen to stay at home. The plan would use inducements, which in some cases would include food deliveries and medical care.

Moreover, the city recently changed the health code to allow the city to detain anyone health officials suspect of having being exposed to a deadly infectious pathogen.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

March 22nd, 2004, 11:53 PM
New York Post
March 22, 2004

The Tracks of our Fears


Heavily armed NYPD cop makes his presence felt.

In the wake of the commuter train bombings in Madrid that claimed 202 lives, the NYPD has mounted an unprecedented security effort in the city's subway system in the hopes of thwarting a massive terror attack here.
Teams of police officers have been doing surprise "security sweeps" on subway cars before they enter a tunnel or cross a bridge as part of a larger plan to keep straphangers safe, The Post has learned.

An NYPD Total Order Maintenance Sweep typically lasts a few minutes and involves 10 to 12 cops who inspect a train at a station just before it is set to enter a tunnel or about to go over a span like the Manhattan or Williamsburg bridges.

The sweeps have steadily increased following the bloody terrorist bombings two weeks ago in Spain.

"The entire train is searched," said Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown, the NYPD spokesman. "In most cases, the public doesn't even know it's happening."

The officers do a random search of each subway car, eyeballing straphangers and packages looking for anything suspicious that may be on board.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Amtrak cops have been doing similar checks since the bombings in Spain, sources said.

Commuter trains are "more at risk" of an attack because they have luggage compartments and overhead racks that make hiding a bomb a lot easier than doing so in a subway car, law-enforcement sources said.

The counterterrorism sweeps are part of an ongoing effort by police - in uniform and plainclothes - to beef up security on the rails.

The NYPD's massive security effort in the subway system focuses on training, intelligence gathering and surveillance.

Some of the anti-terrorism measures include:

* Hercules Teams - groups of heavily armed cops - unexpectedly swarming stations in a bid to thwart terrorists from unleashing an attack.

* Looking for suspicious behavior on trains, including cops who scan crowds and read body language.

* Deploying cops to stations located in Jewish and Muslim neighborhoods like Cobble Hill, Borough Park and Sheepshead Bay to establish a presence.

* Equipping over 3,200 cops on subway duty with a lightweight, military-style gas masks, which can withstand prolonged exposure to a contaminated area in the event of a biochemical attack.

The NYPD would not comment on how many officers have been assigned to subway duty.

There are 2,838 transit cops who work for 12 subway districts.

Meanwhile, the MTA cops and a contingent of National Guard soldiers and State Police - equipped with bomb-sniffing dogs - have flooded Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station in an effort to secure the hubs.

There are currently 692 MTA cops that patrol Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road stations. The increased security comes as the MTA prepares to make $591 million in security improvements to shore up its infrastructure.

While how the MTA plans to spend the money is a closely guarded secret, the agency has made numerous enhancements since 9/11, including boosting its police force from 521 officers in 2001 to 723 by the end of this year.

Other security measures include the installation of surveillance cameras in tunnels and placing at various stations shoebox-size sensors that analyze the air and would sound a silent alarm in the event terrorists unleash a biochemical attack.

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

March 23rd, 2004, 03:03 PM
New York Daily News
March 23, 2004

Big hit in Gaza has city wary

With Tony Sclafani

Tourist talks to Emergency Service Unit police officer who was stationed near Penn Station yesterday.

The NYPD stepped up security across the city yesterday as members of the Hamas terrorist group vowed revenge for the killing of its founder by Israel, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

NYPD patrol cars were outside mosques and synagogues, and security was visibly increased at the UN and in front of the Israeli Consulate.

Anti-terrorism Hercules teams patrolled city landmarks, and uniformed cops surged into the subways and transportation hubs, an increase sparked after the bombing of a commuter train in Madrid earlier this month.

"There are no specific threats, but we're concerned about it," Kelly said. "We have additional coverage in Jewish neighborhoods and at high-visibility locations."

Kelly said investigators also are eying neighborhoods where there are pockets of Hamas supporters.

"Are there people who are supportive of Hamas? Yes. There are areas we give special attention to," Kelly said, adding that the Hamas belief that the United States supported Israel in the assassination was "significant."

"I can only believe our national security adviser Condoleezza Rice that we were not informed [of the killing in advance]," Kelly said. "But the perception that is out there is significant."

In the minutes after an Israeli helicopter gunship blew Sheik Ahmed Yassin out of his wheelchair yesterday, his followers and Hamas leaders vowed a violent and bloody revenge, which sent ripples of fear through the Jewish community.

"I certainly thought [Yassin's assassination] was the right move, but it always comes with anxiety," said Yocheved Kushner, 35, of Rockland County, whose mother, Leah Stern, 69, of Passaic, N.J., was one of 15 people who died in a July 30, 1997, Hamas terror bombing of a Jerusalem market.

Gregg Salzman, 32, who survived the Sept. 4, 1997, Hamas suicide bombing on Ben Yehuda St. in Jerusalem, said Israel must take tough stances against violence.

"I do feel strongly that demonstrating weakness, giving over lands, giving the Palestinians what they want, will be the downfall of Israel," said Salzman, a chiropractor from East Brunswick, N.J., remembering his own injuries and the shock of seeing three teenage girls die before his eyes in the bombing.

Avi Weiss, senior rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and national president of the Coalition for Jewish Concerns, said spiritual leaders were meeting across New York State to discuss security.

"Everyone should be taking precautions, but life should go on, and people should do the things they normally do, and lead our normal lives," Weiss said. "The real goal of terrorism is to inspire fear - if they do that, they win and we lose."

That was the sentiment of Mayor Bloomberg, who rides the subway to work most days.

"I am concerned about every terrorist group," Bloomberg told reporters at a school on the lower East Side.

"We have to make sure that we don't go back into our houses and apartments and lock the door and not go out - and let the terrorists win that way."

Copyright 2004 Daily News, L.P.

April 2nd, 2004, 10:46 AM
New York Newsday
April 2, 2004

Cops drill to prep for terror


Police officers from across the city played out terrorist scenarios yesterday, from a gas attack in a hotel room to an explosion in a subway in preparation for the Republican National Convention in August.

The two-day drill, called COBRA training, is part of a goal of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to train 10,000 members of the department in terrorist preparedness for the upcoming convention.

"I think at some point the command structure of the country will be here," Kelly said, standing in a mock-up of a mobile decontamination center. "It's our job to be concerned about it. But I think we'll be very well prepared to handle any contingency."

To further ensure the safety of conventiongoers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday that the city would probably shut down Penn Station only during Bush's apperances.

For the terrorist preparedness training, as many as 150 officers take a day of classes, where they learn about the effects different biological, chemical and nuclear attacks have on the human body.

On the second day, they go through a series of simulations that include a decontamination drill. Then they go outside to a parking lot of the Transit Training Learning Center in Coney Island. Police officers dressed in cotton Tyveck suits — sealed shut at the cuffs and collars with masking tape — and wearing gas masks are instructed on how to work as teams when responding to unexpected events in the wake of an attack.

The officers were told that an explosion had occurred on the subway and that they needed to look for survivors and secondary devices.

Inside a subway car sitting on a replica of tracks were two police officers acting like panicked victims, grabbing at the officers and shrieking in pain. The victims are fitted with color-coded tags indicating their level of injury for triage. Next, they go to a trailer fitted with a fog machine called the "smoke house" looking for a colleague.

The program is effective, Kelly said, because it allows officers who normally work together to train together. The instructors, most of whom received intensive training at an Office of Homeland Security facility in Anniston, Ala., said it works because it replicates the conditions of an attack.

"You're killing my realism here," said a sergeant and instructor, as a television reporter let fog escape from the trailer. "It's about the realism! All about the realism!"

Staff writer Glenn Thrush contributed to this story.

Copyright 2004 Newsday, Inc.

April 7th, 2004, 10:18 PM
New York Daily News
April 7, 2004

Terror training off track


Transit workers complain they're being left out of NYPD anti-terror training exercises - potentially putting riders in greater danger if there's an attack.

Concerns over the Madrid train bombings and a federal warning that New York buses and subways could be targeted prompted union leaders to demand a role in the training sessions.

"We are concerned that training on a possible attack on a subway car could be planned and executed without the transit workers who will be on site were the attack to take place," Transit union boss Roger Toussaint wrote Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and other officials.

In the letter, obtained by the Daily News, Toussaint said transit workers should be included in an ongoing attack-response program for police.

The two-day sessions, part of preparations for this summer's GOP convention, include a simulated subway car explosion.

Jimmy Willis, a vice president with the Transport Workers Union Local 100, said subway and bus workers desperately need more training.

"We are not prepared as we should be," said Willis. "We have people who aren't being taught anything now.

"If something happens in the system, it's the transit worker who is going to discover it first. We need to work with the Transit Authority to make the system as safe as it possibly can be."

Willis said train operators are supposed to go through evacuations drills every three years, but that doesn't always happen.

Conductors and station agents get the evacuation training when hired, but there are no refresher sessions, he said.

Other employees - including track workers, signal maintainers and some station cleaners - don't get the training at all, he said.

The union wants all workers who could be in a position to help in an emergency to participate in live drills at least once a year.

He said the Transit Authority has been fortunate in the past. Workers safely evacuated hundreds of thousands of passengers from the system after the terror attacks, and even more during last summer's blackout.

The letter also was sent to Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow, whose spokesman said only, "Safety of our customers and our employees is a top priority."

The NYPD declined comment.

Copyright 2004 Daily News, L.P.

April 7th, 2004, 11:31 PM
We should be grateful for such a complaint. There could be other issues brewing behind this, but the basic complaint is sound and logical as the first line of defensive action.

April 8th, 2004, 08:28 AM
New York Daily News
April 8, 2004

Transit to get terror training

By Pete Donohue

Transit workers will take part in anti-terror exercises, police said yesterday - a day after the Daily News detailed union gripes about being shut out of the training sessions.

"There are multiagency training exercises planned that will include personnel from the Transit Authority," a police spokesman said yesterday.

Transport Workers Union Local 100 officials fired off a letter to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Metropolitan Transportation Authority brass and others Monday, griping that they were not part of ongoing NYPD exercises.

The training sessions are being done in advance of the GOP convention and include a mock subway car explosion.

In a statement yesterday, the Transit Authority said: "Our employees are transit professionals, but they are not emergency first responders. ... They are trained to identify an incident, notify the command structure and initiate evacuation procedures."

Copyright 2004 Daily News, L.P.

May 10th, 2004, 02:53 AM
Gotham Gazette - http://www.gothamgazette.com/article//20040510/202/973

May the Force Be With You

by Raymond Kelly

May 05, 2004

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly

When an operative for al-Qaeda named Lyman Farris came to New York, his plan was to take down the Brooklyn Bridge and derail some railway cars. But he looked at the heightened security in the vicinity of the bridge, and changed his mind; the “weather was too hot” to complete the operation.

This one incident was prevented, then, thanks to the counterterrorism policing work of the New York Police Department. Our successes in this area are usually a lot more difficult to measure.

We are now, of course, in a new era. When I came back as police commissioner in New York, having served ten years ago under Mayor David Dinkins, the biggest change for the police in New York was obvious -- the threat of terrorism. It has had an impact on virtually every decision the department has made.

But counterterrorism is just one of the "three C's" that the police department under the Bloomberg administration continues to focus on. We are also moving forward on crime reduction and community relations.


Since 9/11, the police department has taken serious steps to defend our city against terrorism.

We have put into place a counterterrorism bureau, really the first of its kind in the country, which now has 250 officers, and we have reformed our intelligence division.

We have identified people with language skills in the department and certified them. We now have certified 45 Arabic speakers -- more, we believe, than any federal agency that we’re aware of. We have even made them available to federal agencies. In addition, we have Urdu, Pashto, and Hindi speakers.

We have assigned detectives overseas – to Lyon, London, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Montreal, and Singapore. In March, we had someone in Madrid the day of the bombing on that city’s subway. Our world has gotten smaller, and we need information of any sort that’s going to help us better protect this city.

With the advent of the Iraqi war we’ve put in place something called Operation Atlas, which is an overlay security program for sensitive locations throughout the city. We have kept that program in place. Today, we have critical response vehicles that come into Manhattan every day from other locations in the city.

Average New Yorkers are also being more vigilant, and we ask people to continue to look at things through the prism of 9/11. Depending on what is in the news, our counterterrorism hotline averages from 30 to 60 calls a day. There are some very thoughtful calls, many about people taking pictures of infrastructure. We also get many bomb scares and powder droppers.

We log those calls in – we have a database where we log those calls. If that location shows up again, then we’re able to match it with previous calls.

There’s just a lot going on, and it’s an expensive undertaking. We believe it cost us close to $200 million for our counterterrorism programs in the city last year. We’re not getting enough money. In addition, a lot of this money is skewed towards equipment, and not structured for operational costs. We need money for operation expenses on an ongoing, day-to-day basis, not just for equipment.


I believe that in certain areas, our counterterrorism tactics are benefiting our crime prevention efforts. On the subway, for instance, crime is the lowest it has been since it has been accurately recorded in the 1960s, which may be in part due to our aggressive counterterrorism efforts.

In other areas, we are looking to combine some of the things we’ve done in counterterrorism with our crime prevention programs, by doing things like incorporating our Hercules program into Operation Impact.

In Operation Impact, we took off across the city and identified locations, primarily based on shootings, that in our view would benefit from an infusion of uniformed police officers alongside officers from narcotics and from the warrant squad. We picked 21 such locations, and put two thirds of our police academy graduating classes from 2003 in these areas. As a result of that infusion of visible police officers crime went down 35 percent in those impact zones in 2003, with shootings down 50 percent. We are seeing the same numbers now in the Impact Zones for 2004.

Now this may not sound revolutionary, but at a time when we have 5,000 fewer officers than we had in October of 2000, this is the type of technique that enables us to continue to reduce crime. Crime rates are now down over three and a half percent this year, after dropping six percent last year, and five percent the year before.

To continue this trend, we’re establishing a crime information center, which will hopefully be functioning by the middle of this summer. We have already established a room at police headquarters; there will be screens that graphically depict crime and we ultimately intend to get that information on PDA’s, hand held devices. The intention is to gather information on a real time basis, digitally analyze it, and push it back out to the field as quickly as possible.

We will use this as an adjunct to Compstat, which is a valuable auditing tool that looks retrospectively at what commands have done to address crime. The police foundation has been very helpful in assisting to put this capacity in place, and obviously the mayor is very interested and involved as well. So that’s the next wave of crime fighting: information.


All members of the department are aware of the need to communicate with the public. Throughout their careers, we have them in service training. I think our community relations are better now than they’ve ever been.

But every day is a new day in New York, and when we make a mistake in this business, it costs people’s lives.

In the recent shooting of Timothy Stansbury in a Brooklyn housing project, the police department made a mistake, and we said so. It is the policy of this administration, if you make a mistake, to get the facts out as quickly as possible. That’s what we did in the Stansbury case, just as we did with terrible tragedy of Alberta Spruill, who died of a heart attack after several officers mistakenly raided her apartment. I think it cooled the environment.

If you have the facts and they’re obvious, you should get them out, but that is unusual. The Stansbury shooting in Brooklyn was a very simple case: there were two officers together, and one officer observed what happened. There were witnesses in terms of the tangential events that were going on that indicated right away that this was a mistake, so it wasn’t complex. Other shootings are more complicated; it all depends on the circumstance.

It is the nature of police work that we’re going to have tension with some communities because of what we do. We are sometimes the bearer of bad news. We give out traffic summonses, we arrest people, we use force, sometimes deadly force; it’s the nature of police business. People are not always going to love you in some places.

We’re not firefighters – everybody loves a firefighter.

So we have to work on community relations, and I think precinct commanders as a group do a tremendous job in fostering and understanding communications in the communities. We have 76 precincts, and the commanders of these precincts spend a large percentage of their time focused on fostering communication in their communities.

They know they have to do that.


Other than terrorism, the biggest change since I left the department is the size of the organization. There has been a merger of the housing police force, the transit police force, all the school safety agents, and transit enforcement agents. So the department increased significantly in size.

We now have about 51,000 employees.

Though the department has grown, the loss of officers to attrition is an ongoing issue in the police department. We have 5,000 fewer officers below our level in the fall of 2000, because of the budget situation that we find ourselves in. At this time, we have about 36,000 officers; we’re authorized to employ 37,000 officers. We’ll hire up to reach that number in July of that year.

Much of the current loss has its roots as far back as the 1970s. In 1975 there were layoffs in the department because of the serious fiscal crises. The department didn’t start hiring in a significant way until the 1980s. Those people are reaching their twentieth year anniversary, when they can retire at half pay. When police officers hit their twentieth anniversary, about 80 percent retire. Sergeants retire at about a 65 percent rate. So we know that we have to do a big job in recruiting additional people to the department.

Under Mayor Bloomberg, we’ve hired four large classes to address our attrition losses. We’re doing well with our recruiting, and our diversity is improving. The department is about 15 percent African American, about 20 percent Hispanic, and about 3 percent Asian. 16 percent of the department is female. We’re the city agency, I think, that best reflects the population of the city.

Attrition remains an ongoing issue. From recruiting to vetting to training new officers, it is a challenge. I think we’re doing that well. But those three C’s are what this administration is all about.

Raymond Kelly is the police commissioner of New York. This essay was adapted from comments he made at Baruch College.

May 10th, 2004, 10:21 AM
Despite earned criticism in some other areas of their jobs, I have to say that I feel NYPD / FDNY are probably the best trained and best equipped civilian forces in the world to respond to any threat or incident. That's a place I'll give Giuliani his props. He was ahead of thec urve on it - although his placement of an emergency command center in Manhttan was just idiocy.

johnny hollywood
May 10th, 2004, 08:12 PM
I am all too familiar with Commissioner Kelly's statment don't wait for the Feds to come. I also want to re-interate what another member posted "alot is goin on". Some of you may know me by the lights an cams I network n Times square an thru out the world. I make it look like fun but i am watching too. Kelly knew last year about this and makes a pretty clear path to reach him if something is of merit. I see your city from a mountan top in Tennessee. I wish Kelly would send some of the NYPD down here to Knoxville an teach them how to be a real police officer. I was former Coast Guard myself an had been to Gov. Island long ago an the city many times. I see the foot soilder's n Times square "uniform officer's", okay - frequently - and they never fell to impress me with thier proffessionalism. I love New York and the people and I intend to retire there believe it or not. I still paddle up-stream and i will be lookin out for ya my friends an many others who know we do it not for glory [never is an or recogination] but that is not why we do what we can. We can all make a diffirence and the little ones or innocents who cannot protect themselves. Those who do not do thier job should be removed period. I have given my time an exp. I hope it helps. God bless
Johnny Hollywood n Knoxville 8) onamission for God and country.[/img]

May 16th, 2004, 10:20 PM

City Officials Call Terror Training Drill A Success

MAY 16TH, 2004

City officials say they're pleased with the results of a terror training drill held Sunday morning in Lower Manhattan.

"Operation Transit Safe" simulated a scenario in which bombs went off in two subway cars with hundreds of people on board.

About 1,000 first responders stormed the Bowling Green station on the 4 and 5 lines. The exercise was coordinated by the Office of Emergency Management, and included responders from the New York Police and Fire Departments, the MTA, and the FBI.

The drill – part of the city's ongoing terror-response preparations in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks – was scheduled for early in the morning in order to minimize subway disruptions.

Officials say the response was quick and the drill was a success.

"The objectives of each agency are elaborate," said OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno. "After this we'll all sit down next week and go over line by line what we learned."

"You can't guarantee that something won't happen," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who attended the drill. "What you see here today is another practice session to respond if something happens,"

At one point during the simulation the drill was interrupted when a real-life suspicious package was discovered a few blocks away. Crews from the exercise were set to respond, but the package was properly identified within a few minutes.

May 18th, 2004, 05:59 AM
May 18, 2004

Police Department Gives Officers a Guide for Detecting Terrorists


The Police Department has issued a pocket-sized reference card for patrol officers detailing guidelines it says are designed to help them spot terrorists.

The department tells its officers to watch out for people with drivers' licenses from more than one state, passports from more than one country, and identification papers with different names and people videotaping or photographing bridges, tunnels, utilities, landmarks and government facilities.

The card, an insert to be carried in officers' memo books, was issued this week. It is described as a "general guide" and notes that the presence of one or more of these indicators does not necessarily mean that terrorist activity is planned. It tells officers to contact counterterrorism investigators for further assistance, and warns them to take care to avoid interfering with constitutionally protected speech and not to target people based on their race or religion.

But one of the tips, headed "Possible Indicators of Terrorist Activity," has generated some concern because of fear it might invite civil liberties abuses.

It advises officers to watch for anyone who is "overtly hostile" and expresses "hatred for America and advocates violence against America and/or Americans."

Christopher Dunn, the associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the group is always concerned when law enforcement authorities use political statements as the basis for a criminal investigation. "The Police Department must be very careful that it does not confuse criticism for terrorist activity," Mr. Dunn said.

Paul J. Browne, the department's deputy commissioner for public information, said the insert clearly states that the guidelines are "general'' and that the indicators "may'' merit further inquiry; both words are underlined on the card. "I think it adequately explained that this in no way is to be interpreted to interfere with free speech,'' he said.

The guide was issued to officers, he said, because Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly "wants to get as much useful information and guidance to the patrol level as we develop it,'' adding that other counterterrorism information bulletins have already been issued.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

May 22nd, 2004, 06:35 AM
May 22, 2004

Security Will Tighten in City, Police Commissioner Says


Citing an elevated threat of terrorism that he called the "Madrid factor," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said yesterday that security would be stepped up in New York City, especially during the Republican National Convention.

"There is a certain 'Madrid factor' with what happened in Madrid, so our plans have changed somewhat to increase the level of security," Mr. Kelly said in a taped interview to be broadcast Sunday on WNBC's "News Forum," with Gabe Pressman. "I think it is reasonable to say that terrorists would be, assume to be, emboldened by the events of Madrid. They impacted on a government, on an election." Terrorists bombed four trains in Madrid on March 11, killing 191 people and injuring 2,000 others.

Mr. Kelly said there was no question that New York was a terrorist target. "There is a consensus in the intelligence community that New York is certainly close to the top, if not at the top, of the terrorist target list," he said. Asked about the likelihood of an attack, he said: "I wouldn't use the term likely, and I wouldn't say it is inevitable."

The convention, to be held at Madison Square Garden Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, has raised the stakes, Mr. Kelly said. "We have this threat, this overarching terrorist threat, that we face every day in this city," he said. "Now we have added to that the convention. We have the incumbent administration to town, with all its leaders."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

May 24th, 2004, 05:41 AM
May 24, 2004

In Age of Terror, Police Leader Gains in Access and Influence


Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly in his office: "The Police Department, practically alone, is defending New York's people."

Last Tuesday, after the city's former police and fire commissioners endured hours of withering criticism from the commission charged with investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, the current police commissioner presented his views on how the city deals with current threats.

"The Police Department," said the commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, "practically alone, is defending New York's people, its corporate assets and its infrastructure from another terrorist attack."

At a time when New York finds itself on the front lines in the worldwide battle with terror, its police commissioner is emerging as the city's top general, a city official with unparalleled influence in the Bloomberg administration. Perhaps the most powerful police commissioner in a generation, he wields enormous clout in City Hall as he strives to oversee the city's response to the terror threat and the safety of its streets, say former city officials and senior aides to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

He exercises that power in ways both large and small. Unlike nearly every other city commissioner, Mr. Kelly literally answers to no one but Mr. Bloomberg. He refuses to take even mundane requests from senior mayoral aides, several officials said, and is equally insistent on imparting information to the mayor directly.

Whether or not Mr. Kelly is single-handedly keeping another terrorist attack at bay is open to debate. But his advice to the mayor, unlike that of other commissioners, is almost always accepted without qualification, these aides say.

Earlier this month, Mr. Kelly, in what some other senior city officials have called an unvarnished power grab, secured police control in the event of various types of major disasters, edging out the Fire Department in responding to chemical, biological or radiological incidents, long viewed as the Fire Department's province because of its expertise.

The police commissioner is also widely seen as the architect of Mr. Bloomberg's recently announced plan to dismantle many of the core functions of the Office of Emergency Management, which many experts believe should be the lead agency in catastrophic incidents involving public safety and health.

Mr. Kelly's power and influence have grown in large measure out of the post-9/11 age, which has forced the police to take on broad new antiterrorism responsibilities. However, Mr. Kelly has also driven crime down to new lows with some very aggressive measures while largely maintaining his popularity among minority residents, a rare combination that eluded his predecessors under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. A Quinnipiac University poll from March of this year gave Mr. Kelly a favorable rating from 61 percent of black respondents, numbers far higher than Mr. Bloomberg's own.

The latitude given the commissioner also partly reflects the mayor's management style. Unlike Mr. Giuliani, who seemed to seethe when his police commissioner eclipsed him in popularity or outperformed him on the public stage, Mr. Bloomberg appears to have little burning desire to outshine Mr. Kelly.

"The mayor gives the power and the mayor limits the power," former Mayor Edward I. Koch said.

But for all his successes, Mr. Kelly has also managed to incur the kind of wrath that every favored child attracts — from his colleagues in government, who view his elbows as too sharp; his subordinates, who complain of his imperiousness and closed inner circle; and the police union and many among the department's rank and file, who have raged when Mr. Kelly has been unwilling to defend officers and were particularly angry after he apologized to the family of a young black man killed by an officer earlier this year and said the shooting appeared unjustified.

"He is a tough guy," said one senior administration official who has been run over by the commissioner on more than one occasion, and who did not want to be named so as to avoid its happening again. "None of us are going to take him on."

Police commissioners generally play among the most important and visible roles in any administration. The city's crime rate is arguably the single most important factor in a mayor's popularity, and it helped determine the outcome of the 1993 and 1997 mayoral elections. Moreover, the police commissioner, who is in charge of the mayor's personal security and tends to accompany him on some of his most difficult duties, like responding to the death of a police officer, tends to form a personal bond with his boss.

The bond between mayor and police commissioner has only intensified under Mr. Bloomberg. Mr. Kelly, who served as police commissioner in 1992 and 1993 under Mayor David N. Dinkins, said he then reported to a deputy mayor; now, he meets weekly with Mr. Bloomberg and speaks to him at least once every day.

The particularly close relationship is based both on their history and on the job he has done, several mayoral aides have said. Mr. Kelly, 62, first met Mr. Bloomberg, also 62, nearly a decade before he was appointed, and helped Mr. Bloomberg, a businessman with no public safety experience, with his mayoral campaign.

"He has cut crime with a smaller budget and fewer cops while also trying to deter terrorist attacks," said Edward Skyler, the mayor's press secretary. "He's had to redefine his and the department's job. No one can accomplish those types of things without ruffling a few feathers."

Mr. Kelly's résumé, as even some of his critics concede, is among the most impressive in the administration. He has held every rank in the Police Department in a 31-year career, serving in 25 different commands, and also has served in the federal government as an under secretary of the treasury and as a Customs commissioner, before becoming the senior managing director for global security at Bear, Stearns & Company.

For all his job qualifications, he is also one of the most politically astute members of the Bloomberg administration.

One day, when Mr. Bloomberg arrived late for his weekly live radio show, he joked that the Police Department or the city's Transportation Department would be held accountable. Mr. Kelly, who called in to the show later, offered his own jest, that the delay was surely the fault of the Transportation Department, which got tongues wagging around City Hall.

Further, when Mr. Bloomberg recently pressed the commissioner on the department's huge overtime bill, Mr. Kelly quickly complained that an agency in the mayor's office, the Community Assistance Unit, was holding too many neighborhood events and taking up police time, said two aides who were privy to the conversation. Others complain that Mr. Kelly's insistence on overseeing small matters and his refusal to deal with anyone other than Mr. Bloomberg slows down some interagency initiatives.

In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Kelly professed to be unaware of the simmering resentments and suggested that perhaps his pressing needs caused budget pain for other commissioners. "The only thing I would say is that I have to live in the present in this job, in the environment that we find ourselves in," he said. "And there are perhaps other officials with different things on their agenda."

But even within the world of public safety, there are complaints that the commissioner has grown too powerful. Some have pointed to the declining status of the Office of Emergency Management, which under Mr. Giuliani was charged with overseeing the city's response to disasters. That authority was a check on the power of the Police Department, which, in the words of one former department official, "tends to arrogate power to itself."

Several current and former city officials see Mr. Kelly's influence in Mr. Bloomberg's decision to transform the emergency management office into something of a think tank rather than an operational agency.

"O.E.M.'s job has been totally marginalized," said one former city official who is familiar with the deliberations over the agency's role. "I think it's really a matter of having control," the former official said, referring to Mr. Kelly, "and I think maybe he sees it as a territorial issue, as having ultimate control over these scenes."

Mr. Kelly also lobbied the mayor for months to get money originally earmarked for the agency's new command center. When the center was left with just $35 million of the $110 million that was originally allocated, much of the remaining money went to the Police Department.

It was also Mr. Kelly's influence, many believe, that delayed the agreement on what are known as incident command protocols, announced on May 14 to a torrent of criticism. The central goal of that agreement is to assure interagency communication and coordination during catastrophic events.

The new protocols have been criticized by several emergency management experts, officials in the Fire Department and the fire union, and last week by the independent commission investigating the 9/11 attacks. The protocols are widely viewed as giving broad authority to the Police Department at the expense of the Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management.

John F. Lehman, a member of the 9/11 commission, said the new agreement "simply puts in concrete a clearly dysfunctional system."

Particularly troublesome to Fire Department officials was the decision to place the Police Department largely in charge at incidents involving chemical, biological and radiological materials, because they feel their department has the most training in those areas.

Mr. Kelly bristled at the notion that he was the force behind the new protocols. "The mayor spoke to all relevant parties and he made the determination," Mr. Kelly said. "I think it's a common-sense document, and it's going to work."

Mr. Kelly, who has a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, a former New York police commissioner, hanging on the wall of his expansive office in Lower Manhattan, is known for his businesslike, almost military demeanor. He dresses in hand-tailored three-button suits and may be the only person in city government to wear a white pocket handkerchief.

The police commissioner, like the mayor, appears to care about his legacy. "I wouldn't want to be sitting on the sidelines in this time in history," said Mr. Kelly, who watched the World Trade Center smolder from his home in Battery Park City. "I think I have something to contribute. I would feel frustrated if I wasn't in the game."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

June 2nd, 2004, 09:41 AM
June 2, 2004

New York City Was Alerted to Gas Lines as Terror Tool


Since at least January, the New York Police Department has been aware of the possibility that terrorists might try to ignite "household utilities" like gas lines in apartment houses to cause a building's collapse.

In a Jan. 23 letter to Calvin Drayton, first deputy commissioner at the city's Office of Emergency Management, Assistant Chief Phil T. Pulaski warned that operatives of Al Qaeda had been ordered to turn such utilities into a weapon "by renting several strategically selected apartments within a residential building and then simultaneously igniting the gas lines/appliances in order to cause a catastrophic explosion and building collapse."

Yesterday the federal government issued documents that it said showed that Jose Padilla, a terrorism suspect who has been detained for two years, had been planning to do just what Chief Pulaski warned.

And while the New York police said yesterday that Chief Pulaski's letter had been based not on any interviews by federal officials with Mr. Padilla but rather on earlier F.B.I. bulletins and other intelligence, some real estate professionals said law enforcement officials had told them repeatedly in recent months to be on guard against any anomalies, escaping gas among them.

Still, several experts contacted yesterday said that from an engineering perspective, it would be almost impossible for a terrorist to bring a building down that way.

The experts acknowledged that a terrorist might be able to rent a few apartments in a building, seal the openings, turn on the gas and set timers to ignite an explosion. And such a blast might cause some serious damage in the vicinity, the experts said. But most buildings are just too structurally sound, they said, to collapse completely as a result.

"We would expect maybe a wall blown out, maybe a bad fire, but not a building collapse," said Jonathan Barnett, a professor at the Center for Fire Safety Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. "This is actually much ado about nothing."

Even if every apartment in a high-rise building were filled with gas, and the gas ignited simultaneously, the resulting explosion would not achieve that goal.

"I think it's a nutty idea, frankly, an act of desperation," said Matthys Levy, a consultant who is a co-author of "Why Buildings Fall Down: How Structures Fail" (W. W. Norton & Company, 1994). "It's just not good from a technical point of view."

The only relevant example in history, according to experts, was the partial collapse of a 23-story high-rise building in Ronan Point, in eastern London. In that accident, in 1968, a gas leak led to an explosion that caused a side of the building to pancake. Four people were killed.

But that building was constructed in a weak way, later outlawed in Britain, that would not have been allowed in the United States, the experts said.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

July 4th, 2004, 03:57 PM
New York Post
July 4, 2004


Step Into WMD 'Hell' With City's Chem Cops


Behind the gates of a former Brooklyn grade school, the NYPD is mustering an army of 10,000 cops that will be ready to march into the chaos of a chemical, biological or nuclear terror strike - just in time for the upcoming Republican National Convention.

At the former PS 248 in Bensonhurst, city cops are getting a sobering preview of their newly appointed duty as first responders to a weapons-of-mass-destruction attack.

Their grim task: Don protective gear, descend on areas devastated by nerve gases, biological agents or a radioactive dirty bomb and decide who can be saved - and who can't.

"This is a lot different that what we normally dread: a man with a gun," said officer Dennis Lewis, a 12-year veteran from the 101st Precinct in Queens who completed the two-day training last Tuesday. "The reality now is chaos beyond belief."

The Post was given exclusive access last week to the NYPD's Chemical Ordnance, Biological, Radiological Awareness (COBRA) training, where veteran cops got a two-day crash course on counterterrorism.

They were issued a special ter ror manual and a black canvas gym bag containing $800 in protective gear designed to insulate them from toxic gases.

They also received a series of stark lectures that warned them to gird themselves for mass carnage and featured real video clips of cops and civilians being blown to bits.

"You cannot lose it," officer Kevin Johnson, a COBRA instructor, told a group of cops learning to triage victims in the school gym. "You will see atrocities all around you."

In the schoolyard, cops were sent into a Red Bird subway car, where they were confronted with mangled mannequins and officers posing as desperate straphangers caught in a purported sarin gas attack.

As a half- dozen trainees dressed in Hazmat suits and air masks approached, the train erupted into confusing cries for help and loud bang ing, "Help me, my baby," a woman holding a manne quin infant pleaded.

"Officer, please get me off this train," a man with a phony leg wound repeat edly shouted.

But the team leader ordered the officers off the train and left the victims be hind after spying an unattended black laptop bag with wires hang ing from it on an empty seat.

"That was the right thing to do," retired NYPD Bomb Squad De tective Richard Teemsa told cops.

The two groups that followed weren't so lucky, focusing on rescue efforts but missing the briefcase near the conductor's booth.

"I'd rather see you make your mistakes here than outside," Teemsa told one group. "We just want to put in your minds the idea that there could be a secondary device."

Across from the subway car sat the "COBRA house," a trailer filled with a thick steam simulating the aftermath of an explosion. Visibility was reduced to about one foot.

Trainees enter single file, each with their right hand on the shoulder of the officer in front of them, in search of victims.

They locate a mannequin and practice a two-man lift before exiting single file.

Meanwhile, another group of trainees man a "control zone" outside the house.

They pair off and order hysterical relatives to remain outside a blue police divider while preventing contaminated people on the inside from leaving.

"My wife's on that train," a dreadlocked cop in plain clothes yelled. "Mister, did you see my wife?"

The would-be husband then touched a trainee, prompting cops to take him to be decontaminated.

Back in the gym, Johnson detailed the NYPD's overall plan on responding to a WMD attack.

COBRA cops would don "tactical response hoods" they carry in a pouch and immediately try to recognize the type of agent used; avoid contamination; isolate the area; and notify headquarters - tasks they memorize through the acronym RAIN.

Cops learn that chemical nerve agents produce pinpointed pupils, drooling and convulsions in victims, while biological strains can result in rashes and fever.

Symptoms of radioactivity exposure range from lethargy and appetite loss to skin burns and vomiting.

After calling police headquarters, a computer would generate a "Downwind Hazardous Analysis" to map out a hot zone affected by the deadly airborne material.

A contingent of COBRA cops would don their Hazmat equipment, which is kept either in the trunks of their patrol cars or in lockers at local station houses. One wave would enter the hot zone to determine the condition of victims and hang color-coded "triage tags" around their necks.

Green tags denote the "walking wounded" who can be evacuated quickly, with the exception of one or two who might be asked to assist in the rescue.

Red tags mark those who need immediate care, while yellow tags signify those able to answer routine questions who can wait.

Finally, black tags are the "expectant to die" who are left for last.

Other COBRA cops would man the "control zone," while another cadre would set up decontamination areas where water is available, such as near fire hydrants, police station houses or public swimming pools.

Finally, everyone in the hot zone would then go through a three-stage decontamination wash using water mixed with bleach or soap, depending on what was used in the attack.

Johnson is one of 80 cops who underwent five days of training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Aniston, Ala., where they had to enter a room filled with live nerve gas to gain certification as trainers.

"It was pretty scary, but the confidence in your equipment took you through it," Johnson said.

The COBRA manual, replete with a history of attacks on the city, a list of potential targets and tips on how to distinguish between regular signs of criminal activity from terrorism, is the NYPD's bible on fighting terror.

The manual teaches cops that terrorists speak to each other in abrupt exchanges suggestive of military ranks, frequent Internet cafes or libraries and carry multiple IDs, global-positioning satellite units, prepaid calling cards, receipts from storage facilities and maps of sensitive locations.

Their homes are often sparsely furnished with no photos of family, have no hard-line phones and may contain disguises, blueprints, surveillance photos, chemicals or weapons.

NYPD spokesman Jason Post said COBRA graduates are dispersed throughout the boroughs, with a large contingent in Manhattan.

The Department of Homeland Security funds the program.

"COBRA training is a vital part of our preparedness for possible terrorist attacks and also part of our goal to have best-trained police force in the world," Post said.

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

July 21st, 2004, 10:08 AM

July 21, 2004

The NYPD has added four new armored tactical-deployment and rescue vehicles to its arsenal of anti-terrorism weapons at a combined cost of about $600,000, The Post has learned.

The exotic-looking Lenco BearCat — a four-wheel drive, heavily modified Ford priced at $159,000 — has room for a 10-member SWAT team and can even venture into near-war-zone situations.

With a 310-horse- power engine, the vehicles can travel at speeds up to 85 mph and are equipped with rotating rooftop turrets, side and rear running boards, ram bumpers and 200-watt police strobe lighting, sirens and public-address systems.

The vehicles also have bomb-blast-resistant floors and multihit bullet-resistant glass. They can be equipped with radiation detection devices.

A department spokesman could not immediately say when the new SUVs would hit the Big Apple — but they are expected to be on the street in time for the Republican National Convention at the end of next month.

The spokesman said the four vehicles were bought to augment the NYPD's powerful fleet of nine helicopters, a tank called "Anytime Baby," a small flotilla of harbor launches, dozens of Emergency Service trucks and several large mobile command centers.

The NYPD also has a garage full of smaller specialist vehicles — scooters, vans, bikes, Jet Skis and single-riding Segways — but nothing matches up to the new Lenco armored vehicles.

Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

July 21st, 2004, 11:41 AM
Armored truck
newest NYPD weapon

The BearCat, a 15,000-pound armored car, is on view at the Javits Convention Center through tomorrow. It's a powerful weapon in the war on terror, says its maker, Lenco Armored Vehicles.

Originally published on July 21, 2004

Meet the Bearcat, the most secure armored truck police departments can buy. The truck is at the Javits Convention Center until Thursday, and you may see it on the streets during the Republican convention.

The latest model of the 15,000-pound armored vehicle has high-tech security features to protect police from bombs, out-of-control crowds and pretty much any scene they might encounter.

"There's no other vehicle quite like it for the needs of law enforcement," said Len Light, president of Lenco Armored Vehicles, which makes the trucks. "When there are potential terror threats or bomb threats for the police to respond to, what do they drive up in, bread vans? No, they need this."

Though the manufacturers said the latest security features are classified, they did tell the Daily News what owners can expect for the almost $200,000 price tag. Half-inch-thick armored plating protects the exterior of the vehicle, while police can look out the 2-1/2-inch-thick bulletproof glass windows.

The armor makes the truck bulletproof and blastproof on all sides and the bottom. The Run-Flat tires remain inflated even if they have been punctured.

The truck seats 10 people, and benches in the rear can be folded up to fit a stretcher or more passengers in the back.

Police can access eight side gun ports, which have room for a gun or give police an opening for firing tear gas. The hatch on top of the truck gives police another vantage point for surveying crowds.

Like other police vehicles, the truck is equipped with a number of strobe and other lights and has a police band radio. The BearCat is only available to government agencies. For the civilian looking for a little extra protection, the company also makes the ProCat, which sells for around $150,000.

From the outside, the truck looks like a standard sportutility vehicle with an extended cab. The truck has armor similar to that used on the BearCat.

All contents © 2004 Daily News, L.P.

July 29th, 2004, 12:32 AM
July 29, 2004

80 Sirens Wailing, but Do Not Panic: This Is Only a Drill


Dozens of officers, including Detectives Ed Menze, left, and Ed Bogdanowicz, amassed on West 59th Street Wednesday in what the police call a critical response surge. The drills are occurring almost daily.

Since its debut about a month ago, it has quickly become one of New York City's hottest acts for those lucky enough to catch a free, unannounced performance. Call it "The Police Drive Fast! And Park!"

It goes something like this: On a typical block in, say, Midtown Manhattan, as many as 80 police cars quickly stream in out of nowhere, in neat rows, their lights and sirens going. The drills seem to take place on blocks with restricted parking, and each car executes a fast back-in parking job against the curb.

Sometimes, depending on the block, they park perpendicular to the curb; sometimes at a slant. The officers - scores of them - get out of the cars. They do not rush into a building. They do not draw their guns. They pretty much just stand around for half an hour or so. Then, officers pile back into their cars and, again in perfect formation, the cars pull away from the curb and drive off.

The drills, held almost daily and coming just weeks before the Republican National Convention, are alternately impressive, alarming and even amusing, but within the Police Department, they are deadly serious - so serious that Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly refused to divulge details.

"It's part of a counterterrorism overlay that is tweaked from time to time, based on conditions and intelligence," said a police spokesman, Paul J. Browne. Suffice it to say that police vehicles are practicing moving quickly through the city en masse.

It is unclear whether the drills are part of the department's much-publicized counterterrorism operations, including Hercules, Samson and Atlas.

Yesterday's drill began at 10:30 a.m. along two blocks of 59th Street that are usually the turf of horse-drawn carriages and the uniformed doormen of the Plaza Hotel. Suddenly, a flying column of squad cars quickly filled the entire north curb, their trunks facing Central Park. It clearly rattled some pedestrians. "What is going on here?" Atle Holm, an avionics engineer visiting from Norway, asked no one in particular. "I would like to know."

Wouldn't we all, Mr. Holm. Wouldn't we all.

The strange, oddly balletic exercises in motion and stillness have their own sort-of-cool name: critical response surges. Mr. Browne would not say how many vehicles participated in a surge, or how often ("frequently," he said), or whether the surges were in preparation for the Republican National Convention ("not exclusively") or if they would continue after it was over ("they may").

"I'm being purposely circumspect," Mr. Browne said. He allowed that different locations call for different kinds of surges, and that sometimes there are surges within surges, when a small group of cars within the larger group splits off.

Moving several dozen cars from one place to another quickly in Manhattan takes work. "It's the fifth or sixth time they've done it," said Ryan Rzepecki, 25, a carriage driver, referring to the 59th Street activity yesterday.

Earlier yesterday, there was a drill on the Upper East Side outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On Monday, police cars mysteriously appeared outside several news organizations, including the New York Times building.

Outside Central Park yesterday, there were almost as many theories as parked police cars.

"We thought it was dignitaries being transported in and out," said Georgia Staab, visiting from Santa Barbara, Calif.

"I thought maybe some Democrats got lost," said her companion, Chip Oxton.

A woman hurried past officers from the heavily armed Emergency Services Unit, talking into her cellphone: "I don't know. They have machine guns "

Indeed, what must a surge look like to a tourist? Do the police turn out like this for every little thing? Is there really any place safer than New York? Roger and Ann Wright, visiting the city for the first time with their children, asked one of the officers what was up.

"He said they all gather at one point and then swarm an area," Mrs. Wright said the officer told her. "See if there's any terrorist activity going on."

Ralf Borchardt, a tourist from Germany, puffed a cigarette while his 6-year-old son, Garth, stared at an officer's automatic rifle. "He just wanted to know how far they can shoot," Mr. Borchardt said. "They said 300 yards, maybe 600. That's quite a lot."

In typical fashion, New Yorkers were less impressed. Several marched quickly by, seemingly oblivious to the surge. A 16-year-old from White Plains, Omega Spikes, studied the precinct numbers on the cars. "They're from the 20th Precinct to the 76th," he said conspiratorially. (Actually, a full-sized surge can have cars from all 76 precincts.)

His girlfriend, Daniqua Gallier, 17, said she had the creeps. "I felt weird, like something was really going wrong. Like there were terrorists around," she said.

Mark Luehrs, 50, a sanitation worker, went right on sweeping the streets around the surge. "You know," he said, "if you're going to have a drill, you better have it on clean streets, right?"

At the edge of the park, Mohammed A. Hossain, a food vendor, sold pretzels and hot dogs from his cart, with no idea what was going on. "I ask one time," Mr. Hossain recalled. "He say, 'I don't know.' Policeman!" Mr. Hossain offered his impression of a surge with hand motions. "Just moving - 'This way! This way!' "

The surge was not good for the sightseeing bus tours that leave from 59th Street, but Juan Caceres, who passes out fliers and sells tickets, did not seem to mind, sitting back to watch his fifth or sixth surge. The first one, he remembered, lasted 90 minutes.

"They're getting a little faster," he said.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 1st, 2004, 06:20 AM
August 1, 2004

New York Cites a Terror Threat


The New York Police Department, responding to new information that terrorists may be planning to attack corporations or large public institutions in the city, last night advised building managers and corporate security personnel to step up their procedures to guard against vehicles rigged with explosives and against chemical agents placed in ventilation systems.

The warning followed meetings on Friday night and yesterday between Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Pasquale J. D'Amuro, the assistant director in charge of the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to Mr. Kelly's chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne.

Mr. Browne said the meetings were held to discuss the latest reports of a terrorist threat against the city, but declined to comment on the source of the new information. "The information is considered credible," said another law enforcement official, who insisted on anonymity. The official said the police and federal terrorism authorities, who have received similar threats before, were unusually concerned about the new information.

Yesterday's warnings appeared to be linked to the arrest on July 19 in Texas of Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed after she entered the United States from Mexico by crossing the Rio Grande and crawling through the brush.

According to several news accounts, she had an altered passport along with several thousand dollars in cash and an airline ticket to New York. CNN reported that she was charged with illegal entry, making false statements and falsifying a passport.

Tom Ridge, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security was scheduled to be in New York City today, and the law enforcement official said he expected Mr. Ridge to comment on the new information this afternoon.

But federal officials have been tight-lipped about the purpose of Mr. Ridge's trip, and would not say whether it was connected to any heightened terror concerns.

The new information was first reported last night by ABC News, which said it had learned from several law enforcement agencies that an overseas source, which the network did not name, had provided information about suicide attacks being planned by Al Qaeda in the city. The ABC report said intelligence sources had described a plan by Al Qaeda to move non-Arab terrorists across the Mexican border into the United States. She has admitted to no criminal intent.

Another federal law enforcement official said the woman was believed to have been on a terrorist watch list. He said she might have been sent as "a courier" to pass along either a message or documentation to someone in the United States.

A law enforcement official in New York said, "the concern was that she may be part of a team" planning attacks in the city.

The Police Department warnings, which were distributed in a news release to reporters last evening, said, "Intelligence reporting indicates that Al Qaeda continues to target for attack commercial and financial institutions, as well as international organizations, inside the United States."

Although the release did not say that new information indicated the city was more vulnerable than others across the United States, a law enforcement official, who insisted on anonymity, said last night that "it would be right to assume that there is particular concern" about large buildings and institutions in Manhattan. He said the United Nations was considered a potential target, as were large banks, financial institutions and company headquarters.

Another law enforcement official in New York said many companies and institutions had already been contacted, and that they were warned to pay particular attention to their parking garages and heating, ventilation air conditioning systems.

"We've notified security directors to secure HVAC systems, and parking garages in particular, because of concerns about a vehicle bomb," he said.

The warnings issued yesterday were far from the first concerning the use of cars, trucks or other vehicles for bombings. Recent intelligence reports have hinted that such an attack might be planned during the Republican National Convention in Manhattan, but it was unclear yesterday whether the new information suggested any timetable.

In its statement yesterday, the police department reiterated many of its previous recommendations to corporate and building security officials. It said the alert level city had not changed it remains at "orange," the second most severe level as it has through the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

David Johnston and Eric Lichtblau contributed reporting from Washington, D.C., for this article.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 1st, 2004, 10:42 PM
Im nervous and worried for NY right now :(

August 3rd, 2004, 05:08 PM
I'm more nervous and worried for our country with the Bush administration in charge. All of this for three year old "intelligence".

August 3rd, 2004, 05:13 PM
You dont think it's credible info??? I agree about Bush... VOTE KERRY GET US OUT OF IRAQ BEFORE WE GET BOMBED OUT OF AMERICA!

August 4th, 2004, 08:27 AM
In my opinion, it was purely a political move by Bush to snag the headlines from Kerry. The media is failing us everywhere by shying away from tough questions regarding stuff like this.

August 4th, 2004, 10:01 AM
First post/question.

How does an armored vehicle fight the war on terror?

Those vehicles are not the targets, why did we spend $600K on something that will get cops to a site that the perps have run away from?

We are not talking about a conventional war zone here, we are talking isolated incidents.

August 4th, 2004, 10:07 AM
Second post/question.

Are these drills planned? Is this just another example of how "effective" a fire drill is that only has you stand in the elevator lobby of your office?

These "drills" seem like they are pre-planned, which kind of defeats the purpose.

Have this swoop "surge" thing happen on Wall Street at 9am, or in Chinatown at 5pm if you want to see if it works.

I doubt VERY seriously that the terrorists are going to go after central park.

As a second note. Do you think that these drills are more of a scare tactic? Do you think their primary purpose is twofold, to give the residents a feel that the cops will respond quickly to another threat, and the perps the same thing?

It scares me, actually. Makes me feel like I am living/working in an almost orwellian world....

August 4th, 2004, 12:35 PM
The parallels between the words and actions of this administration and it's trickle down effect on localities can find its equivalent in the National Socialist Party of 1930's Germany and Mussolini's rise as well.

August 4th, 2004, 04:46 PM
I saw Coast Guard boats with mounted machine guns patrolling around the East River Bridges today, also lots of police and other security down at the Stock Exchange. Despite that, things are going pretty much as usual.

August 4th, 2004, 05:09 PM
Credibility Cloud Hangs Over U.S. Terror Warnings

By Caroline Drees, Security Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration insists its terror warnings should be taken in deadly earnest, but many Americans feel political motives, faulty intelligence and the "cry wolf" factor may be clouding their credibility.

"The security of the United States and potential terror threats are being perceived by some as a tool to garner political support," said Jonathan Schanzer, a terrorism analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

"The average American doesn't know what to do when they hear these threats, and that's where the frustration and cynicism come from."

Security officials have been scrambling to convince skeptics that the latest terror alert issued on Sunday against five specific financial targets is real, alarming and no election-year ploy -- even if some of the threat information is several years old.

The White House said on Wednesday it received "another new stream of intelligence reporting" on Friday that contributed to the decision to raise the terrorism alert level, brushing aside suggestions it relied solely on the dated information.

"I think when you connect all these streams of intelligence it paints an alarming picture," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

The questions surrounding the latest warning -- the most focused and detailed to date -- highlight persistent credibility issues and frustration among some citizens, local officials and security experts over the administration's handling of terror alerts.

"I would hope they are not playing politics with this announcement," New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, a Democrat, told reporters.

"The president and our federal government have a lot of work to do in order to ensure that we all have enough confidence in our intelligence gathering agencies and the way this intelligence is disseminated to the public so that we shouldn't be even having to ask that question," he said.

The Bush administration has vehemently denied any political motives behind the alerts, saying it was doing its duty to protect the country.


Analysts say the skepticism stems from a range of factors including concerns about the accuracy of U.S. intelligence following the failure to prevent the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and discredited claims of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

They say some Americans are also frustrated by a lack of government advice on what they should do to protect themselves in face of the terror threats.

"The great danger is that it blunts the public confidence if you just have a lot of 'cry wolfs' all the time, or worse, you tell people to be more vigilant, but don't really give them any additional steps to take," said Randall Yim, head of the Government Accountability Office's homeland security division.

Many local officials say they are annoyed because they get vital information late if at all.

Newark Mayor Sharpe James, quoted in the New York Times, said he only learned that some of the latest intelligence was old from the news.

Other local officials say they are angry because the threat warnings do not come with federal dollars to fund the heightened security posture.

Embassy officials in Washington said they were never briefed on the latest security threat.

"It seems poorly communicated, or otherwise not very well substantiated," one European diplomat told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Adam Entous in Davenport, Iowa)

August 5th, 2004, 10:05 AM
August 5, 2004

The Terror Alerts

Our lives have changed so much since Sept. 11, 2001. We know that we may never again be free of the threat of terrorism. It's been a tough adjustment for everyone, and the burden on President Bush is especially heavy. Given the unprecedented circumstances and the costs of making a mistake, it's easy to understand why the administration has had so much trouble managing the way it informs the public about potential danger. But after 17 months in which alerts blinked from yellow to orange and back a half-dozen times, the White House should be past its learning curve. It isn't. The events of this week showed starkly that the system is not working.

The administration was obviously right to warn the country that Al Qaeda had apparently studied financial institutions in three cities with the idea of a possible attack. But the delivery of the message was confusing. The color-coded threat chart doesn't serve the purpose for which it was invented, and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge is hopeless as a public spokesman on this issue. The Bush administration needs to come up with a method of communication that informs the public in a calm, clear way. Perhaps most important, people need to be made totally confident that this critical matter is not being tangled up in the presidential campaign.

The alert system has always rested on a precarious balance. Local officials must have up-to-date information about possible danger. Private citizens need to know, too, so they can make informed choices and be on the lookout for trouble. But it is possible to go overboard. Ratcheting up the warning level creates huge costs for city and state governments. And if Americans are warned too often, and too shrilly, they will become inured to terror alerts.

In the past, Mr. Ridge and others have talked ominously about intelligence that they have routinely described as the most alarming since 9/11, without providing details. This week they were specific: the five financial institutions were in danger of being bombed in the "near term." The terror alert was raised to orange for those sites in New York, Washington and New Jersey. But things quickly lapsed into confusion. For three days, officials at news conferences and background briefings said their concerns were based on new information, then old information, then back to new information. Many people were scared out of their wits on Monday, cynical on Tuesday and befuddled by yesterday.

Mr. Bush should junk the color bars, which are now of use mostly to late-night comedians. Ordinary people have no way of calibrating their lives to the color ladder. It does them no good to be told to be scared, more scared or really scared, especially when they are also being told to act as if nothing's wrong. Unless the government is prepared to tell people to stay home from work, there's no reason to keep lighting the terror lamps. What we need is information that we can use, not another shot of adrenaline.

We would have been happy last weekend if a senior official more adept than Mr. Ridge had called a news conference to say what the government knew and what defensive measures had been taken. Instead, he spoke in apocalyptic terms, then produced an "intelligence official" who offered more detail and more alarming words, anonymously. Later that day, and on the next day and the day after, other officials spoke off the record, providing additional information that made the situation seem much more complicated.

There's a practical aspect to the terror alerts that the administration must address to demonstrate its own commitment. The higher alert levels require local governments to take enormously expensive actions, for which Washington is not paying its share. The Homeland Security Department has made it clear that New York City is the spot that comes up most frequently in terrorism-related intelligence, yet money continues to be doled out in a manner that has much more to do with elections than genuine danger. It's shocking that Washington has not followed through on its own information by underwriting the protections cities need to stay safe.

Finally, there is the matter of politics. The Bush administration expressed outrage at the suggestion that there could be any politics behind any of its warnings, but the president has some history to overcome on this issue. There is nothing more important for Mr. Bush to do every day until Nov. 2 than to make it clear that he would never hype a terror alert to help his re-election chances. It is a challenge complicated by the fact that he is running on his record against terrorism and is using images of 9/11 and the threat of more attacks to promote his candidacy. The president's credibility on national security issues was gravely wounded by the way he misled Americans, intentionally or not, about the reasons for invading Iraq - including the suggestion that the war was part of the campaign against Al Qaeda.

Some of the past terror alerts have seemed aimless and happened when the Bush administration would have benefited from a change in the political conversation. On Sunday, when the administration had grim and specific information to convey, Mr. Ridge did a real disservice to himself, his president and the public by giving what amounted to a campaign pitch for "the president's leadership in the war against terror.''

It's hard to write that off as an offhand comment. If Mr. Ridge is to continue in this role, he must stay out of the election; using him as a campaign surrogate would be disastrous for public confidence. The administration should also stop dropping dark hints about Al Qaeda's having election-related motives to attack, as if a vote against the current president were appeasement.

Americans are stone-cold serious when it comes to potential terror attacks - there is no need to worry about making them pay attention. We have learned since Sept. 11, 2001, to value every day in which nothing terrible happens as a gift and an opportunity. The Bush administration has been given the same blessing. Every morning the president and his deputies are challenged not only to renew their war against potential terrorists, but also to earn the confidence of the people they aim to protect.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 5th, 2004, 10:07 AM
Security Muddle

Thursday, August 5, 2004; Page A18

ON SUNDAY the secretary of homeland security, Tom Ridge, announced that his department had "new and unusually specific information about where al Qaeda would like to attack," coming from sources that provided intelligence of a quality "rarely seen." He provided the public with a list of five likely targets, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund buildings in Washington. Security measures around those buildings were duly increased.

On Monday law enforcement officials were telling the media -- mostly off the record -- that the intelligence showed the existence not of an ongoing plot but rather of an old al Qaeda surveillance operation dating several years. Some said it did not warrant a raised security alert and closed streets.

On Tuesday the White House restated its case, pointing journalists toward additional sources of intelligence that hadn't been revealed on Sunday. According to Mr. Ridge, "The detail, the sophistication, the thoroughness of this information, if you had access to it, you'd say we did the right thing."

The trouble is, we don't have access to that information, and therein lies the difficulty for the public, the police and the intelligence officers who are trying to reveal as much of what they know as they can, and trying to prevent another cataclysmic terrorist attack at the same time. By its very nature, intelligence is vague: If it were not, the FBI presumably would have foiled the plot and arrested the plotters. But the vagueness of intelligence puts a special burden on those who seek to convey it to the public and the police.

Much of this confusion could have been avoided if, for example, Mr. Ridge and the intelligence officials who provided the original background briefings had been clearer about the significance, age and multiple sources of the new material: both "old" surveillance information that al Qaeda gathered before Sept. 11, 2001, as well as separate, powerful evidence of ongoing operations, which could not be presented in the same detail. Part of the problem is also Mr. Ridge's inability to resist boosterism in his public pronouncements, whether through references to the president's "leadership" or to his own department's achievements. At least one part of the difficulty DHS faces in telling the public about terrorist threats, however, is not of Mr. Ridge's making: the credibility gap that this administration suffers because of past intelligence failures.

Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the intelligence officials who have described this information are apolitical professionals who believe they have made significant gains in their understanding of al Qaeda's methods in the past few days. They are not well served by a homeland security bureaucracy that continues to struggle to find a believable and useful way to communicate with the public, nor by an administration that has misinterpreted intelligence. But their efforts to protect the nation from a genuine threat should not be minimized.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

August 14th, 2004, 12:14 AM
August 14, 2004

Police Tactic Against Terror: Let's Network


Detective Goldberg, left, visits John Morici, manager of a Stop & Stor in Brooklyn, in a mundane but crucial part of an antiterror program.

In January, their mission was to speak before a mosquito sprayers' convention in Harrisburg, Pa. In April, the detectives attended a meeting of self-storage business owners in Atlanta. This summer, they were in Naples, Fla., mingling with propane gas vendors at their trade association's annual conference.

These are, admittedly, not the sort of assignments that investigators envision when they join the New York Police Department. But such missions, however mundane, have become as much a part of police counterterrorism efforts as the posting of detectives in places like Tel Aviv and Singapore, the planning for a bioterror attack or the identification of Arab speakers on the force.

Involving more grunt work than glamour, the city's counterterrorism effort has largely been built atop a nuts-and-bolts program of cultivating contacts with the businesses that might become unwitting parts of the next terror plot. Detectives visit scuba shops and hardware stores. They talk to parking garage attendants and plastic surgeons, hotel managers and tool rental companies, bulk fuel dealers and trade schools.

Police officials acknowledge that the program, which grew out of an effort two years ago to contact businesses that sold explosives, is something of a needle-in-a-haystack approach to stopping an attack or tracking down terrorist cells that may be plotting one. But in the post-9/11 world, in light of the failure of government agencies to act on a range of clues in the weeks and months before the attacks, they argue that no effort to develop this kind of early-warning system is wasted.

Called Operation Nexus, the program has focused on particular types of businesses based on intelligence that the department has culled from sources like an Al Qaeda manual for terrorist operatives and debriefings of some of the group's leaders and foot soldiers, said David Cohen, the deputy commissioner for intelligence.

Those debriefings and other evidence have suggested, among other things, that Al Qaeda has at least considered, if not plotted, using scuba divers to blow up bridges, riding in tourist helicopters for surveillance, turning trucks and limousines into rolling bombs and using special torches to cut the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge.

And Mr. Cohen noted that Qaeda members are trained to avoid the police.

"The next Mohamed Atta is far more likely to intersect with someone in the private sector than a law enforcement officer," he said, referring to the leader of the Sept. 11 plot.

Mr. Cohen, a former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, who oversees the program, said it is based on personal contact with people and repeated visits to various businesses. "If you take the time to talk to people, it leaves an imprint," he said.

The effort is focused largely in and around New York City, where six or so detectives have made close to 20,000 visits, returning to some businesses time and again to leave their business cards and the department's terrorism hot line number. The detectives are encouraged to spend time with the businesses, leaving an outline of what they describe as possibly suspicious activity tailored for each type of business: more than 60 altogether, said Lt. Christopher S. Higgins, whom police officials credit with developing the program from concept to reality.

At an agricultural or mosquito-spraying business, which the authorities fear could be used to spread a biological agent like anthrax, the detectives cite possible warning signs like the loss, theft or attempted theft of equipment or machine components. They tell business owners to call if they encounter evasive customers who inquire about equipment but seem to lack previous experience in the industry.

Businesses that offer used emergency vehicles for sale are told to watch for requests to buy fire or police vehicles with radios or other equipment intact. Army-Navy and uniform stores are warned to watch for people who say they are in the military or civil service but who make statements suggesting their stories are false.

"We're going to have eyeball-to-eyeball contact with that individual who may be approached by someone who wants to do harm to our city," Mr. Cohen said, noting that the business owners themselves can best spot an anomaly.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, who instituted the program, said it quickly expanded from its initial focus on explosives and marinas, at a time when there was heightened concern about terrorists using boats in attacks, to a wide range of other businesses. They include chemical and insecticide companies, livery car businesses, truck and van rentals, travel agencies and self-storage businesses, where the authorities fear terrorists could store explosives or radioactive materials for a dirty bomb.

"We're looking for anything that with a little thought could be used by a terrorist," Mr. Kelly said.

Glenn Martin, a vice president of Helicopter Applications Inc., an agricultural spraying company in Pennsylvania, said that in a presentation to the Northeast Agricultural Aviation Association in Harrisburg this year, two Nexus detectives provided companies that do mosquito-spraying and crop-dusting with some insight into what they should look for. "It just drove the point home, basically," he said in a telephone interview. "We have to be more vigilant."

Other jurisdictions, including the Metropolitan Police in London, have studied New York's program and are trying to use it as a model in some fashion, Lieutenant Higgins said. The New York State Office of Public Security recently put in place a mirror image of the city's program across the state.

In at least one instance, though, the New York City detectives have raised the hackles of law enforcement authorities elsewhere. Last year, to test the program's effectiveness, detectives called scuba shops in New Jersey without identifying themselves and made several suspicious requests, seeking to pay cash for diving lessons and to avoid the required paperwork.

The store owners called the New Jersey authorities, who were unaware of the New York detectives' actions and were annoyed that they had not been notified, an official said.

Over all, the program has won high marks. Many current and former counterterrorism analysts say an aggressive approach, devised to provide an early warning that operatives or their supporters are already at work in this country, is critical to any antiterrorism effort.

"In today's day and age, where the ramifications of terrorism are so great, you've got to prevent,'' said Larry Mefford, who oversaw the F.B.I.'s counterterrorism and counterintelligence programs until he retired last year. "You can't wait for the attack, especially when you're talking about the future and the possible use of weapons of mass destruction.

"If you don't have a system like this, you're saying by default, 'They'll never get through our defenses,' and we obviously know from our past experience that that's not realistic."

As high as the stakes are, the work itself can be grindingly dull, visiting business after business and trying to remain energized. "This is the part of the business that is unrelenting and unglamorous," Mr. Cohen said.

Lieutenant Higgins said he usually fields three teams of two detectives each day, and they are expected to visit more than a dozen sites a day. Each visit is recorded in an extensive database that tracks the contacts, listing the detective assigned, the type of business, hours of operation, those who were spoken to, and whether they have any security equipment, like video cameras, that can capture images of people who come in.

Mr. Cohen said the program is a crucial part of the city's shield even if it is hard to quantify its effectiveness. For one thing, it is hard to know whether an attack has been prevented, officials noted. For another, callers to the terrorism hot line do not generally identify whether their call was prompted by a Nexus visit.

"The risk is the farther we get from 9/11, complacency sets in, and we simply won't let that happen," Mr. Cohen said. "So we start out the day knowing that we are the bull's-eye. So how many have we stopped, we don't know. We do know a couple of things: We know we've been attacked; we know they have said very clearly they want to come back; we know we are high on the target list."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

November 20th, 2004, 09:53 PM
November 21, 2004

City and F.B.I. Reach Agreement on Bioterror Investigations


The New York Police Department, the F.B.I. and the city's health department have agreed for the first time on a set of rules that will govern investigations of suspected biological attacks in the city, detailing the roles the agencies will play as well as how confidential medical information is to be shared.

The "protocol," a six-page document that officials regard as something of a remarkable cooperation agreement, resulted in part from lessons learned in New York during the 2001 anthrax letter attacks, which killed five people in Florida and the Northeast and infected more than a dozen others in the months after the Sept. 11 strikes.

The anthrax investigations, and several subsequent inquiries into suspected germ attacks, were strained by tension between health and law enforcement officials over turf and procedures.

The accord, which was worked out in confidential, sometimes contentious meetings over the last two years, states that while law enforcement officials have the lead in investigating any terrorist crime, such investigations must be conducted jointly with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since physicians are likely to be the first to identify a victim of a germ attack.

To aid that effort, the protocol agreement details some novel compromises among agencies that sometimes have competing interests.

For instance, law enforcement officials, in the course of a bioterrorism investigation, will have access to the once typically confidential medical information of those who might have become infected. But the police and F.B.I. must keep such information confidential. And to encourage sick people to seek medical help, law enforcement agencies have agreed essentially to overlook a sick person's immigration problems or minor criminal activities.

The agreement also lays out some minor but still meaningful tactics. For example, law enforcement officials involved in interviews of patients will, by design, not wear uniforms, to avoid intimidating possible victims. And while patients will be interviewed jointly by teams of medical and law enforcement officials, physicians will be authorized to ask police and federal agents to leave the room.

"This is a groundbreaking agreement in uncharted waters," said Michael A. Sheehan, the Police Department's deputy commissioner for counterterrorism. "Both law enforcement and the public health community have made some tough compromises on what they consider sacred ground. But New Yorkers will be safer and healthier for it."

With the agreement, which was signed a month ago by Thomas R. Frieden, the health commissioner; Raymond W. Kelly, the police commissioner; and Pasquale J. D'Amuro, the assistant director of the F.B.I.'s New York office, New York becomes the first city in the nation to have adopted such a formalized protocol.

Richard A. Falkenrath, President Bush's former deputy homeland security adviser, said that he knew of no comparable agreement at the federal level and that New York was ahead of other cities in trying to systematically sort through the roles of public health and law enforcement officials in a potential bioterrorist attack.

"This is in the public interest to do," Mr. Falkenrath said.

A copy of the internal protocol was provided to The New York Times. It provides for joint training of law enforcement and public health officials that is scheduled to start in January.

The agreement has not solved all outstanding issues. For instance, it does not state when and how quickly public health officials must notify the F.B.I. and police if they come across someone who may be infected with a dangerous germ. Officials said that law enforcement and public health officials were still discussing which germs should require immediate notification and joint investigations as part of a separate agreement, a so-called "annex" to the broader agreement.

According to a draft of the annex, the city's health department is to provide immediate notification of the detection of illnesses that could involve nine pathogens, including germs that cause anthrax, plague, and such virally induced, highly infectious diseases as smallpox and Ebola. But the Police Department is trying to broaden that list to include germs that also cause Q fever and tularemia, which though naturally occurring, have also been studied by several countries for use as potential germ weapons.

In areas of disagreement concerning the specifics of how the joint efforts will work, law enforcement and health personnel may rely on what one official called the document's "creative ambiguity."

"A lot of this has to do with trust that has developed between the people who have worked together on bioterrorism investigations," said Dr. Dani Margot-Zavasky, a physician with the Police Department who helped draft the accord.

Phil T. Pulaski, assistant chief of the Police Department's counterterrorism bureau, said the accord reflected an effort to institutionalize that trust, along with the techniques and procedures that have developed over time. The accord was hedged and filled with qualifiers because of what he called the "knucklehead factor" - the "one-in-one-hundred chance that someone will try to wave this document around to assert authority in a spirit that was not intended."

The effort to draft such rules actually predate the 9/11 and anthrax letter attacks of 2001, some officials said. William A. Zinnikas, the weapons of mass destruction coordinator for the F.B.I.'s New York office, said he and Marcelle Layton, his counterpart from the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, began discussing the need for such guidelines in 1999.

"It was derived from a common acknowledgment of the problems we would all face if an incident of bioterrorism were to develop in New York City," Mr. Zinnikas said.

But the effort did not move at a "lightning pace" until after the 9/11 and anthrax attacks, Mr. Pulaski said. "Before that, there was just no immediacy."

The communication gaps, turf disputes between departments, fear of sharing information, and other complications highlighted by the anthrax letter attacks, a crime that remains unsolved, were reinforced by other, less well publicized bioterrorism scares, officials said.

Law enforcement and public health officials referred specifically to an investigation in the summer of 2003 of a suspected case of brucellosis, also known as undulant fever, a disease that can be caused by a biological attack but that is usually acquired from consuming unpasteurized dairy products.

Accounts of the tension vary, but officials said that after a Syrian man checked himself into a New York hospital and seemed to be suffering from an illness that could have been deliberately induced, the medical staff resisted turning over to the police potentially relevant information about him and his case. The police, according to two separate accounts of the case, reacted by pursuing the investigation very aggressively at the hospital.

Encouraged by the health department, the medical staff at the hospital finally began cooperating more fully. Both the medical investigators and the police eventually concluded that the man had acquired brucellosis, which is not contagious person-to-person, naturally during a vacation back home.

Some physicians continue resisting the growing trend in New York and at the federal level toward joint investigations by medical and law enforcement officials, and, in particular, the sharing of sensitive medical data that identify individuals by name.

Victor Sidel, a past president of the American Public Health Association and the New York City Public Health Association, expressed concern that such information-sharing might dissuade sick people from seeking medical help and hence, encourage the chances that infectious agents might spread throughout the city.

"I find the provision of such medical information inimical to human freedom and medical care," he said. Based on a reporter's description of the protocol, which has not been made public, he said he feared that the agreement negotiated between law enforcement and public health officials might jeopardize civil liberties and fail to provide the security it claims to bolster.

"There must be a balance between human freedom and counterterrorism," he said. "And an agreement like this steps over the line."

Public health and law enforcement officials disagreed, saying the accord contained many acknowledgments of the need to safeguard sensitive patient information and to underscore the fact that while physicians and police may have common goals, they continue to have separate cultures, rules, and requirements.

"We are not an agent of the police," said Dr. Frieden, the health commissioner. He noted that under the agreement, medical records would continue to be controlled by public health officials. "Our documents do not become declassified," he said. "Unless there is a bioterrorist event, that information is essentially sealed from the public, permanently and forever."

He said that "99.999 percent of the time," the health department carried out its mandate to protect public health without Police Department help. But in certain rare cases, he added, "I make the determination that police help would be valuable."

"Many of us are queasy about sharing health data with anybody, because we take confidentially of health data very seriously," said Dr. Frieden, who oversees the nation's largest municipal public health department of some 6,000 people and an annual budget of $1.5 billion. "There has never been a breach of this confidentiality as far as I know."

But after the Sept. 11 and anthrax attacks, "we all became much more aware of the circumstances in which the police and health departments must work together," he said.

The document acknowledges what Dr. Zavasky and Assistant Chief Pulaski called the differing approaches and concerns of each community. The document notes that all parties to the accord recognized the "potential chilling effect" that the presence of law enforcement officers might have on patients being interviewed and on medical professionals. It states, "it is understood that joint investigations remain essentially a public health epidemiological investigational activity," and that the health department is "not an agent of law enforcement when conducting investigations."

Nevertheless, securing access to sensitive patient data is sometimes critical, said Mr. Sheehan, the police counterterrorism deputy director, because it may help spot a bioterrorism attack more quickly and by limiting the spread of a deadly germ, save hundreds, and potentially thousands of lives.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

February 23rd, 2005, 08:46 AM
February 23, 2005

New York's Hidden Team on the Trail of Terrorism


The Police Department's counterterrorism office, on Coney Island, focuses partly on radical religious groups overseas that are considered possible feeder organizations for overtly terrorist groups.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/l.gifast August, shortly before the Republican National Convention, New York police officials grew concerned about a Pakistani immigrant from Queens who had begun telling his friends that he was going to plant a bomb in the subway station in Herald Square.

A group of Police Department analysts quickly built a profile of the immigrant, drawing on confidential informants, surveillance and links with other law enforcement agencies around the world. Although he did not have ties to known terrorists, the analysts discovered, he had moved from idle threats to making sketches of the station and talking about buying explosives. Within a few days, the immigrant and an accomplice were arrested on a conspiracy charge, and their case is pending.

The analysts who helped build that case, as it happens, were not police officers. They were civilians, part of a group of eight hired over the past two years to educate the department about terrorist tactics and help search for threats in the city.

They are far from typical police recruits: all of them arrived at the Police Department with advanced degrees, and several have done stints at Ivy League universities and the Council on Foreign Relations. One speaks fluent Arabic and has years of experience in the Middle East; another speaks Armenian, Romanian, German and Spanish and has a background in intelligence.

Together, they represent a new facet of police work in New York: understanding the roots of terrorism.

The analyst program, which several terrorism experts said was the first of its kind in the country, was conceived by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly in late 2001 as one phase of a broad antiterrorist effort that has already transformed the department. On any given day, 1,000 department employees work directly on terrorism-related issues, including active investigations and biological-weapons drills. The department now has its own liaison officers working full time in Britain, France, Israel, Canada and Singapore, all of them filing daily reports on developments there.

One challenge, though, has been figuring out what to do with that flood of information.

"I knew in putting these things together that we needed professional analysts to synthesize the information coming in from a variety of sources," Mr. Kelly said recently. "So we reached out."

The first civilian analysts were hired for the department's intelligence division in 2003. The division is housed in a two-story office that is discreetly hidden above a busy Manhattan shopping mall. (The department asked that the exact location be kept secret.) There are now five analysts based there, working alongside Arabic and Farsi linguists, dozens of police detectives and liaison officers from other city and state agencies.

Most of their time is spent sorting through the vast sea of data that comes in every day from a variety of sources: confidential informants, interrogations, surveillance of criminal suspects and the department's telephone tip line, which receives as many as 150 calls a day.

"Someone's taking pictures here, someone else is buying canisters there; we have to put it together and figure out what it means," said Laura J. Mendelson, an analyst who has worked in the intelligence division for two years.

Ms. Mendelson is the only analyst who has clearance to see classified federal government documents. Her colleagues' access to the government's most important information is limited for now, but they are expected to receive clearance soon, said David Cohen, the Police Department's deputy commissioner for intelligence, who worked for 35 years at the Central Intelligence Agency.

Ms. Mendelson has worked in the Middle East and North Africa and speaks fluent Arabic, an advantage in ferreting out information from the city's Arab immigrants.

Another analyst worked previously at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a third was hired after he impressed Mr. Cohen with a presentation at Columbia University on terrorist financing.

Three of the analysts work in the counterterrorism division, based on Coney Island. Their work is more academic, focusing not only on terrorist attacks but also on radical religious groups, mostly based in the Middle East and South Asia, that are widely considered feeders for terrorist organizations.

"The thought is that a lot of these groups are steppingstones to more radical groups," said Madeleine Gruen, one of the counterterrorism analysts, who earned a master's degree studying with one of the world's foremost experts on Al Qaeda, Rohan Gunaratna.

Even the analysts' reports, though, are far more pragmatic than anything a university would produce. They include reviews of major terrorist attacks throughout the world, and all of them end with sections titled "Implications for New York" and "Best Practices."

The analysts earn $55,000 to $75,000 a year, depending on their experience, said Mr. Cohen, the deputy intelligence commissioner.

The department plans to hire more analysts soon and to build a career ladder for them, with a pay scale similar to the one offered in the State Department, said Michael A. Sheehan, the deputy commissioner for counterterrorism.

All of them could earn far more working for private security companies, as some of them did before coming to the Police Department. But several analysts said working for the city has been much more rewarding.

"Our mandate is to contribute to the fight on the front lines," Ms. Gruen said. "It's not just about finding out the motives and ideology of the guy who puts a bomb in a garbage can; it's about finding out what kind of bomb he used."

Terrorism experts say the New York analysts are as good as those being hired by the federal government.

"Fighting terrorism is largely about information, and the N.Y.P.D. has been out front in making sure they harness that information," said Bruce Hoffman, an authority on terrorism and the director of the Rand Corporation's Washington office. "The civilian analysts have been essential to that."

In some ways, Mr. Hoffman said, the New York department is ahead of the federal government.

After terrorists struck at a Madrid train station last March 11, New York had four of its officers at the scene that evening, long before the F.B.I. team arrived.

F.B.I. officials resented that, and sometimes believe that New York is too eager to do everything on its own, said two former federal officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

New York police officials say they do not always get what they need from the federal government and cannot afford to wait. The day after the Madrid attack, for instance, police officers back in New York were already conducting modified antiterrorism drills based on the information gleaned by the department's officers in Spain.

The civilian analysts helped out in that effort, assessing the reports from Madrid and then writing a report on that attack's lessons for New York.

Ultimately, the goal is to spread the analysts' expertise to as many police officers as possible, Mr. Kelly said. To that end, the department opened a counterterrorism library at the Coney Island office. It is still small, and it has not yet been made available to officers outside the counterterrorism division.

On a recent morning, several of the division's own officers were sitting in a screening room at the library, watching a documentary about terrorist attacks in Israel and Iraq. In the next room, a detective was staring at blueprints for a building on the Upper East Side, working on a traffic plan that would provide better protection from car bombs. On the tables, books lay scattered: "Jihad," "America's Achilles' Heel," "A Historical Encyclopedia of the Arab-Israeli Conflict."

One of the division's commanders, Capt. Joseph Cordes, stood nearby taking it all in.

"In August of 2001 I was a cop in a detective bureau doing narcotics," he said, "and what I knew about international affairs came from Time magazine. Now all of us have to get schooled up real quick on international terror."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

January 25th, 2006, 07:26 PM
Wall Street Journal

'Ring of Steel' for New York?

To Protect Lower Manhattan, Police Study London's Effort: Cameras, Controlling Access

AS NEW YORK law enforcement agencies and businesses consider how to improve security as part of the plan to rebuild lower Manhattan, they are looking to London for ideas on guarding against potential terrorist attacks and fighting crime.

The hallmark of London's strategy is what officials call "the ring of steel." The phrase refers to closed-circuit cameras and narrow roads that encircle the City of London, the neighborhood that houses London's financial district as well as such historic sights as St. Paul's Cathedral. The narrow roads create just a few entry points to the area that police can block off, if necessary, while cameras scan for wanted vehicles and monitor traffic and people entering and exiting the area. The neighborhood also has its own police force.

The New York City Police Department is considering erecting a similar "ring of steel" around lower Manhattan. Paul Browne, NYPD's deputy commissioner of public information, says that while it is "still too early in the process" to comment on specifics, police officials are most interested in the elements of the "ring of steel" model that involve using more closed-circuit TVs and introducing controlled entrances and exits into the area.

"In creating the plan for the World Trade Center site, we are looking at best practices around the globe as we seek to create a new state-of-the-art security model," James Kallstrom, counterterrorism adviser to New York Gov. George Pataki and designer of the new World Trade Center site's security plans, said in a statement last week. Mr. Kallstrom declined to comment beyond the statement.

The NYPD declined to say which lower-Manhattan streets, if any, may be narrowed. It is unlikely New York City officials will allow a separate police force to cover lower Manhattan, an area defined by police and the Downtown Alliance, a nonprofit group comprising companies and business owners, as south of Chambers Street and between the Hudson and East rivers. While recent discussions have focused on lower Manhattan, a law enforcement official close to the situation said the NYPD's plans may extend to midtown Manhattan as well.

New York officials have been looking at London systems since last summer, after suicide bombers attacked London's subway system and a bus on July 7. Cameras captured time-stamped photos of the bombers as they entered the subway, and others who attempted a similar crime a few weeks later, and helped identify the suspects. A team of New York police officers visited London for five days in September and were given access to the City of London's security and investigative procedures and talked to officers, according to James Hart, the City of London's police commissioner.

Similarities between lower Manhattan and the City of London are likely to help authorities with their planning. Both neighborhoods are about a square mile in area. Some 300,000 commuters travel through each area daily. Both are global financial hubs, with banks and stock exchanges that remain targets for terror attacks.

In both cities, the subways are major funnels bringing people into the neighborhoods and vulnerability points. Closed-circuit cameras monitor the London Tube, as the subway is called. In New York, the subway system went further than the rest of the country -- though still not as far as London's -- when it unveiled a $212 million project with Lockheed Martin Corp. in October 2004 to install 1,000 closed-circuit cameras with 3,000 sensors. The project, which isn't expected to be completed until 2008, includes command centers that will monitor the cameras in real time. The subway has 1,000 cameras already.

The New York police have 3,100 closed-circuit cameras in 12 housing projects and additional cameras in select parts of the city, including lower Manhattan. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said that the city should install additional cameras. Police say the cameras have slashed crime rates by double digits in the housing projects. Mr. Kelly declined to comment for this article.

London implemented the ring of steel in 1993, after Irish Republican Army bombings struck the city and other areas in the early 1990s. Many of the measures in London largely go unnoticed. The City has 16 entry and 12 exit points where the roads were narrowed and marked with iron posts painted a decorative red, white and black. The posts also deter truck bombs. Recent upgrades include extending the security zone to the north and west, and adding cameras, Mr. Hart says.

At each entry point, a camera screens license plates and feeds the data to a computerized system that can flag stolen or wanted vehicles. If a wanted car is spotted, a control room at police headquarters can be alerted within four seconds. Last year the system read 37 million plates and identified 91,000 positive matches for wanted vehicles. Nearly 550 arrests were made as a result. In London, "you're always on CCTV somewhere," says City of London police constable Phil Rudrum.

A network of closed-circuit cameras are mounted on the sides of buildings or on poles. The images are streamed live to police headquarters in the City and are monitored around the clock.

Civil liberty concerns have been raised but following IRA bombings in the 1990s, many Brits haven't raised civil-liberties objections to the cameras.

"The trade-off is that the prevention and disruption of terrorist activity is certainly worth the risk," says Mr. Hart, adding that the force has pledged that the monitoring system won't be used to prosecute minor crimes such as littering.

Such measures, though, will face privacy concerns in New York. To bolster its objection to the potential for the government to use photos invasively, the New York Civil Liberties Union last summer sent 10 college students to count surveillance cameras in the city.

They found the number of cameras in lower Manhattan had increased to 1,300 from 446 in 1998. These are mostly private surveillance cameras owned and operated by building owners and shops. The group says it plans to recommend to the New York City Council and state legislature limits to how the city uses CCTV photos.

"The NYPD has to develop policies that protect individual privacy and that do not turn us into a surveillance society where people have to worry that every move is being captured on camera," says Donna Lieberman, executive director of the liberties group.

The NYPD's Mr. Browne disputes the notion that surveillance data would be misused. "Our interest in cameras is for crime suppression," he says.

The City of London's police force is separate from the rest of London, which is serviced by the Metropolitan Police Service, also known as Scotland Yard. The United Kingdom government is weighing whether to merge the two, a move the City of London and businesses oppose.

Many investment banks in the City of London appreciate the presence of a special police force. One cold gray afternoon this week, for example, Mr. Rudrum, the constable, walked his beat, checking in with security officers at each building where he stops. His stroll takes him past a pub and then Merrill Lynch & Co., where he also visits with security.

Security experts from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have also been involved in the discussions.

Just weeks after the London bombings, Mr. Hart met in Manhattan with security experts from the investment firm, which is building a 2.1 million-square-foot headquarters near the site of the World Trade Center.

"We regularly report possible terrorist and criminal activity to the police and receive a first-class response," Goldman Sachs Managing Director Paul Deighton wrote in a letter of support for the City of London force. "Normally a police officer will be at our offices within two minutes of our making a telephone call."

January 26th, 2006, 08:34 AM
I read the first few paragraphs, and the thing that comes to my mind first is that, although this may provide security against terrorist attacks, it makes NYC sound more like a military base or prison than a city.

Scares me a bit....

May 6th, 2006, 03:55 AM
May 6, 2006
City to Lose Man Who Led Terror Fight

Michael A. Sheehan, the Police Department's senior counterterrorism official who for three years has been a principal force behind the city's programs to prevent and respond to a possible attack, will leave his post later this month, police officials and Mr. Sheehan said yesterday.

A retired Army Special Forces colonel who served two stints in the White House as a member of the National Security Council, Mr. Sheehan, 51, will be a distinguished fellow at New York University's Center on Law and Security and teach at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in 1977.

He said he also planned to write a book about the challenges facing America's counterterrorism efforts — and how the many misconceptions about the threat diminish the country's ability to address it effectively. At the same time, he said, he will work in the financial services industry as a security consultant.

In addition to his military career, Mr. Sheehan was the top counterterrorism official at the State Department and helped oversee peacekeeping efforts with the United Nations. Citing his 33 years in government, he said yesterday that he wanted to continue to serve, but in a different way.

"It's time for me to go to a different level," Mr. Sheehan said, "and for the first time in my life, I'm going to be able to write and speak and enter the public policy discussion and hopefully bring a little added value to that discussion in an nonpartisan way."

Mr. Sheehan, an intensely energetic man whose slim frame belies a forceful personality, had a military career that included stints as a counterinsurgency adviser in El Salvador and a Special Forces commander in Panama.

At the Police Department, as the deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, he oversees about 220 officers and investigators. Their responsibilities include protecting the city's infrastructure — from roadways and the financial system to the water supply. He helped develop and put in place a training program to deal with chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

Among those investigators are about 110 detectives assigned to the F.B.I.-N.Y.P.D. Joint Terrorist Task Force. He said one of his main accomplishments was working to help change the culture there from one focused on law enforcement to one directed toward intelligence gathering.

It was also Mr. Sheehan, whose strong objections to the plans for the Freedom Tower, rooted in his deep concerns about security at the planned building, forced its redesign. He was a driving force behind the department's program to search bags in the city's subways, which began in July 2005. "As he did the nation, Mike Sheehan served the N.Y.P.D. beyond measure," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said in a statement yesterday. "No one worked harder or with more professionalism or expertise. He helped transform the Police Department so it could combat terrorism and better protect New York."

Mr. Sheehan's departure leaves open a major position in the department, which has made preventing terrorism and preparing for another possible attack perhaps its highest priority.

Bruce Hoffman, a counterterrorism expert at the Rand Corporation, called Mr. Sheehan's time at the Police Department "one of immense stewardship." He said Mr. Sheehan's broad experience would make it hard to replace him.

"There are few people in the country, let alone the world, that really have his knowledge and understanding of terrorism as a phenomenon and from the diversity of perspective he brought to bear on it," he said. "So it's a big pair of shoes to fill."

One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Mr. Sheehan's replacement has not yet been selected, said the leading candidate among several under consideration was Andrew C. McCarthy, a former assistant United States attorney in Manhattan who led the prosecution of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who was found guilty in 1995 of conspiring to blow up New York landmarks. Mr. McCarthy also took part in other terrorism investigations in New York after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mr. McCarthy, now a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, would not comment except to say, "It's always an honor to hear your name bandied about in a situation like this."

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

May 21st, 2007, 04:57 PM

Attack-proof power line to be installed under NY

Mon May 21, 2007 1:10PM EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Consolidated Edison, Inc and American Superconductor Corporation have agreed to put a superconducting power line under midtown New York that should lead to a sturdier power grid able to withstand extreme weather and attacks.

The move is part of an effort by Con Ed to upgrade the power grid in New York. A power outage in Queens, New York last summer, and the August 2003 blackout that hit parts of the U.S. Northeast, Canada and the Midwest, have raised concerns about power delivery in New York's financial district, seen as vital to the nation's economy.

The Department of Homeland Security will fund up to $25 million for the nearly $40 million superconductor cable, it calls "Project Hydra," after the mythical Greek monster that grew back multiple heads when one was severed.

The cable will link two substations in Manhattan. The department said the project could lead to further deployment of the technology which also suppresses power surges.

"We have asked AMSC and Consolidated Edison to demonstrate superconductor solutions in New York City that will serve to keep our centers of commerce on line under all conditions - including grid events related to severe weather, accidents or terrorist attacks," Jay Cohen, the Department of Homeland Security's undersecretary for technology, said in a statement on Monday.

High temperature superconducting cables made with ceramic materials can carry 10 times more power than traditional cables, but are costly and face technological challenges.

Superconducting cable must be cooled with liquid nitrogen to -382 degrees Fahrenheit (-230 Celsius). At that point, conductivity resistance falls, allowing the cables to carry the extra power.

The New York project will be carried out in two stages with deployment of the cable by 2010, a spokesman for American Superconductor said.

September 23rd, 2008, 04:23 PM
Rail Security Drill Involves 150 Amtrak Stations

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/09/23/nyregion/23sweep-600.jpg Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times
Officers from the Amtrak Police Department, Transportation Security Administration, Homeland Security and New York Police Department during the morning rush hour in the Amtrak area of New York Penn Station on Tuesday.

By MATTHEW L. WALD (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/matthew_l_wald/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: September 23, 2008

Amtrak (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/amtrak/index.html?inline=nyt-org) and the Transportation Security Administration (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/t/transportation_security_administration/index.html?inline=nyt-org) deployed officers from about 100 local police departments to 150 train stations in 13 states and the District of Columbia during the morning rush on Tuesday in a drill to familiarize law enforcement personnel with the rail system and to practice working together. An Amtrak spokesman said some travelers were asked for identification and some were told to open their bags for inspection.

In many cases, the exercise meant mostly that more police officers were present in Amtrak and commuter rail stations, although some commuters may not have noticed. In some stations, police dogs were present.

Officials said the drill, along the Northeast corridor from Virginia to Vermont, was not in response to any threat, but was meant to demonstrate how the authorities could respond to one, or to an actual attack. Participating agencies included police departments from small jurisdictions, like Kingston, R.I., and Old Saybrook, Conn., Linden and Metuchen, N.J., Lower Merion, Pa., and Harpers Ferry, W.Va., as well as from big cities, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

Around 7:30 a.m. in Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Station, no security checks were evident. Passengers boarded commuter trains to Washington without showing tickets or any identification, as usual.

At Union Station in Washington, a few blocks from the Capitol, there was a noticeable increase in the security presence. Transportation Security Administration officers who said they were ordinarily assigned to Ronald Reagan (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/ronald_wilson_reagan/index.html?inline=nyt-per) Washington National Airport across the Potomac River stood near a busy Starbucks, watching the throng of passengers who had just arrived on an Acela from New York. "It’s national rail security day," one officer said cheerily, as if it were a new holiday. He said he was not authorized to give his name to the press.

But the security arrangements were low-key. An Amtrak police officer surprised passengers in a waiting area by quietly asking them to show her their tickets. Several passengers arriving on a southbound train said they had noticed nothing unusual at either end of their journeys.

A spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, Christopher White, said some of the law enforcement personnel were in plain clothes, and some of the deployments were a few minutes in one station, a few minutes on a train and a few minutes in another station.

Participants drilled on a variety of tasks, he said, including looking for bombs near the periphery of train stations, where crowds might flee after an explosion within the station. Attacks on mass transit in Madrid and London were bombs exploded more or less simultaneously, not sequentially, but, Mr. White said, "We need to prepare for scenarios we haven’t seen in the past.”

“Having the local police get involved intimately with Amtrak and T.S.A. is a great force multiplier,” he said.

At Amtrak’s security office, Edward S. Phillips, the deputy for operations, said that 121 law enforcement agencies had promised to participate but that it was possible that some did not. “If you’ve got four duty cops in your town and there’s a fire, then you’ve got to go to that and you don’t show up,” he said.

But he said that as a result of this drill, “Now our electronic rolodex is quite robust. If we were to receive information of a credible threat, we could mount something like this within 12 hours, maybe even faster.”

Future drills, he said, would include undercover agents playing the role of terrorists, acting in ways that should arouse the suspicion of the police.

The Amtrak police chief, John O’Connor, said in a statement that “without question, this operation provided the longest wall of security ever mobilized along the East Coast."

Darnell Donahue, who was boarding a train to Boston at Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan on Tuesday morning, said he did not notice the additional security “until I came to get in line and saw that there was a big line to get on the train.”

“It doesn’t necessarily make me feel any safer,” he said, “but it doesn’t hinder my feeling one way or the other about taking the train.” He added that the effort was good for the “peace of mind” of tourists or visitors as much as anything.

But at the American Civil Liberties Union (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/a/american_civil_liberties_union/index.html?inline=nyt-org), Barry Steinhardt, director of the group’s technology and liberty program, said sending police officers to ask for identification “may be interfering with the right to travel, which is constitutionally protected.”

“What do you do if someone refuses to present identification?” he said. “Prevent them from getting on a train?”

He added, “You have to ask yourself if this isn’t just security theater.” A would-be bomb planter who saw the police stopping travelers could simply walk to a different station or a different entrance to the same station, he said. “The train system is just too wide open for this to be effective.”

Among the participating agencies was the Transportation Security Administration’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, whose name is abbreviated as VIPR and pronounced viper. Amtrak said they were deployed “at undisclosed locations to enhance security activities through the use of specialized detection technologies that identify anomalies considered suspicious.”

Amtrak and the Transportation Security Administration have previously conducted drills at single stations, in which they have run passengers through portals that detect explosives. At times, Amtrak has put police officers on trains coming in and out of Pennsylvania Station in New York to check passengers’ identities and, on occasion, inspect their luggage.

The security administration has also conducted security checks at ferries and bus stations.

Emily S. Rueb and Scott Shane contributed reporting.


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

April 23rd, 2010, 09:50 PM
Citing security concerns that bikes might be secret pipe bombs, NYPD officers clipped the locks of hundreds of bikes along Houston Street ... in preparation for President Obama's speech at Cooper Union. The bikes were unceremoniously put in the back of the truck. There was no prior notification of the bikes needing to be cleared along the route by NYPD and onlookers were not given information as to what would become of the bikes. Happy Earth Day! (http://www.thisisfyf.com/2010/04/happy-****ing-earth-day-hundreds-of-bikes-trashed-for-obama-visit-.html)

How long before hapless pedestrians are locked up for no reason other than 'concern' they might be suicide bombers...

September 12th, 2011, 06:24 PM
The day after - Memorial open to the public

More mobile police units have sprung up. This one on South End Ave will guard a bus off-loading area for Fargo People.
http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/235/terrorism01.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/710/terrorism01.jpg/)

Mini barrier blocks near the memorial exit. A good chance to be interviewed here as you leave the memorial. Don't know how long that will last, though.

I Feel sorry for the 90 West folks.
http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/6083/terrorism02.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/195/terrorism02.jpg/)

http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/4381/terrorism03.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/199/terrorism03.jpg/)

Would you fellas turn around and say, Cheese. Oh, and arrest that woman for wearing those shoes.
http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/5734/terrorism04.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/7/terrorism04.jpg/)

Very nice trees.
http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/340/terrorism05.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/31/terrorism05.jpg/)

http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/3205/terrorism06.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/155/terrorism06.jpg/)

Police everywhere.
http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/8885/terrorism07.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/198/terrorism07.jpg/)

A storefront disguised entrance to a top-secret vast underground Anti Terrorism Command Center.
http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/1818/terrorism08.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/62/terrorism08.jpg/)

September 13th, 2011, 10:58 AM
A storefront disguised entrance to a top-secret vast underground Anti Terrorism Command Center.
http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/1818/terrorism08.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/62/terrorism08.jpg/)

Come on, I take you to back!

You like what you see, I promise!!!

October 5th, 2011, 11:37 AM
I liked the announcement the other week about shooting down airplanes.....

January 25th, 2012, 09:42 AM
Boneheaded and probably worse ...

Police Commish Ray Kelly Admits Involvement
With Anti-Muslim Film, Says He Regrets It

New York Magazine (http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/01/police-ray-kelly-anti-muslim-film-regrets.html)
By Brett Smiley (http://nymag.com/author/brett smiley)
January 25, 2012

After copping a flimsy excuse denying his involvement with the explosive anti-Muslim film The Third Jihad (http://www.thethirdjihad.com/exclusive_clips_test.php) that the NYPD used for training purposes (http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/01/nypd-training-included-anti-muslim-movie.html), Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has admitted through a top aide that he cooperated with the filmmakers and agreed to be interviewed for it in 2007, and was interviewed. He added that it was a mistake. Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne also changed his story after the film's producer contacted the Times with details of Kelly's interview. It's now undisputed that the interview took place at police headquarters in March 2007.


NYPD Training Included a Scary Anti-Muslim Propaganda Film

New York Magazine (http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/01/nypd-training-included-anti-muslim-movie.html)
By Joe Coscarelli (http://nymag.com/author/joe coscarelli)
January 24, 2012

One year ago, the Village Voice reported (http://www.villagevoice.com/content/printVersion/2337684/) that NYPD training included "a spectacularly offensive smear of American Muslims" in the form of "a full-length color feature, with more explosions than a Transformers sequel and more blood-splattered victims than an HBO World War II series." The department's spokesman Paul Browne brushed it off at the time as some "wacky movie" that was shown only "a couple of times when officers were filling out paperwork before the actual coursework began." That isn't really true! As the New York Times reports today (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/nyregion/in-police-training-a-dark-film-on-us-muslims.html?_r=2&seid=auto&smid=tw-nytmetro&pagewanted=all), the film, titled The Third Jihad, was seen by at least 1,489 officers.

January 25th, 2012, 10:23 AM
Well, 1,489 officers is like, what, half the force now?

January 25th, 2012, 10:43 AM
Something like 4.4% of the current NYPD force (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101011130748AAHLRdQ).

But how many ill-informed hot heads would it take to mess things up (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandals_and_allegations_of_the_New_York_City_Poli ce_Department) in any given situation?

January 25th, 2012, 11:04 AM
They don't need any help from instructional videos.

September 10th, 2012, 08:26 AM
Stage props for the next act of Security Theater.

http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/3549/security03.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/222/security03.jpg/)

September 10th, 2012, 10:25 AM

More "decorative" blockage.