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NYPD OPERATIONS RETURN TO NORMAL FOLLOWING “DIRTY BOMB” THREAT

By Gary L. Olds
Christian Action Network
08/14/07

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NEW YORK – The New York Police Department began reducing its extra security precautions, one day after ratcheting up counterterrorism measures following last weekend’s unsubstantiated threat against America’s largest city.
 
Paul J. Browne, NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner, stated the NYPD had mobilized hundreds of anti-terrorism cops and increased its deployment of radiological monitoring devices throughout the city on street, water, and air patrols.  NYPD choppers, boats, and special trucks searched the city for radioactive devices, and checkpoints were set up throughout the city – at the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and various locations in lower Manhattan, including the Financial District, even as police brass assured New Yorkers the threat was not verified.
 
The response was prompted by an Israeli Web site report that online posts were made – following a video featuring an American member of al-Qaeda who threatened foreign diplomats and embassies across the Islamic world.
 
Brown noted that the NYPD routinely uses radiological monitoring devices as part of it counterterrorism activity.  The measures were “strictly precautionary,” he said.  “The police department engages in radiological monitoring as part of its routine counterterrorism coverage.  The increased radiological monitoring that was put in place last night, including checkpoints, was scaled back this morning before noon.”  Brown indicated several monitoring devices will remain in place.
 
Brown also stressed the terror threat, picked up on a Jerusalem-based, English-language Web site with links to Israeli intelligence, was uncorroborated and that the city’s alert status remained at “orange” or high – one step below the highest level of “red” or severe.  However, the response was significant with an alert radius of 50 miles around New York.
 
The threat was picked up on http://www.debka.com, which posts commentaries and analysis on terrorism, intelligence, security, and military and political affairs in the Middle East.  Although the site has solid links to the Israeli intelligence and military communities, its record for accuracy is considered only “so-so.”  Debka monitors picked up a rush of suspected Al-Qaeda chatter last Thursday, with one communication accusing Americans of the “grave error” of failing to take seriously the videotape released by American al-Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn last week.  Gadahn, a 29 year-old Californian, indicted on a charge of treason, is thought to be in hiding in Pakistan.  “They will soon realize their mistake when American cities are hit by quality operations,” the message said. 
 
Another message said the attacks would be carried out “by means of trucks loaded with radioactive material in America’s biggest city and financial nerve center.”  A third mentioned New York, Los Angeles, and Miami as targets.
 
“The attack, with Allah’s help, will cause an economic meltdown, many dead, and a financial crisis on a scale that compels the United States to pull its military forces out of many parts of the world, including Iraq, for lack of any other way of cutting down costs,” it said.
 
There was also a message which speaks obliquely of the approaching attacks easing the heavy pressure America exerts on countries like Japan, Cuba, and Venezuela.
 
Gadahn, also known as “Azzam the American,” made threats that U.S. embassies would be attacked.  “We shall continue to target you at home and abroad, just as you target us at home and abroad,” Gadahn said on the tape.  “…and these spy dens, and military command and control centers from which you plotted your aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq shall continue to be legitimate targets.”
 
Top counterterrorism officials, including the FBI, were deeply skeptical of the report, saying the threat “was not terribly credible.”  An FBI spokesman said it wasn’t mobilizing any agents in any of the cities mentioned in the report.
 
NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg said the police measures were nothing out of the ordinary.  “These actions are like those that the NYPD takes every day…precautions against potential but unconfirmed threats that may never materialize.”
 
Despite the dubious credibility of the August 8 Internet threat, law enforcement authorities were quick to react since this latest threat comes in the wake of several terror-related developments, including al-Qaeda’s success at regrouping in Pakistan, the large number of video propaganda releases by al-Qaeda’s media wing, the release of old films of terror kingpin Osama bin Laden giving speeches, the discovery of two car bombs in London, and the Glasgow Airport attacks.  Additionally, a growing number of clips has been disseminated of late over al-Qaeda sites instructing the faithful how to design remote-controlled gliders, pack them with explosives and launch them against predetermined targets.
 
NYPD also confirmed to Reuters that additional information was received indicating a dirty bomb may go off on Friday evening around 34th Street in Manhattan where the Empire State Building, Madison Square Garden, and Macy’s Department store are located.
 
More than a dozen cops stopped vehicles near a checkpoint at Bowery and Canal Street in Manhattan so an eight-member radiological detection team could scan them.  The process slowed traffic to a crawl, but few motorists complained, understanding the need for the precautions.
 
“This is fine.  In fact, it’s great,” said electrical worker Kenny Rodriguez, 38, of Brooklyn, who was moving some furniture in a truck.  “They’re protecting us from all the bad things that could happen,” he said.  “I have no problem with it.  It’s keeping us safe.”
 
“The police presence was huge…that sends a message,” said Jermaine Lloyd, 32, a security guard from the Bronx.  “I don’t mind if it takes longer for me to get home as long as I feel safe.”

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August 16, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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