NYC Counterterrorism Officials On ‘Alert’ At Christmas
NEW YORK (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) – In a city recognized as a prime target for terrorism, some are fearful the Christmas holiday will be anything but peaceful in New York City, and authorities are on high alert for possible terrorist activity.
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell with travelers at LaGuardia Airport
But as CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reports, officials are stressing that there is no intelligence about an active terror plot.
Still, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly acknowledges that the city is at the top of al-Qaeda’s “to-do” list, and that becomes doubled during the Christmas season.
But, he said, this is the new normal – and that there is nothing in the intelligence gathering that suggests any form of terrorist activity is definitely going to happen.
“We’re certainly vigilant, we’re on alert,” Kelly said. “We have no specific information about threats to New York City.”
Sources in the FBI agree with Commissioner Kelly. As far as they know, nothing specific is aimed at New York. This has become an important time of year for counter-terrorism officials, especially since the so-called “underwear bomber” tried to blow up a plane heading for Detroit around this time in 2009.
WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
Richard Sheirer, formerly of the city’s Office of Emergency Management, admits that Christmas is a prime time for terrorism efforts.
“It’s that time of the season,” he said. “If you look back historically at what’s happened since 9/11, this is a very active time,” he said.
WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau on increased New Haven Line security
Officials are on high alert at transit hubs around the city. They are looking closely at containers and bottles carried by airline passengers, as well as cargo containers – especially after the recent UPS/air cargo scare in New York City.
Privately, the NYPD is particularly concerned about subways and railroads. But publicly, this is what you will hear:
“There’s no indication of a specific threat to this city at this time.”
Commissioner Kelly will tell you if you see something that doesn’t appear quite right, tell an officer.