Reporting Rich Lamb
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While Mayor Bloomberg says there’s no specific threat against the Big Apple after the death of Osama bin Laden, the NYPD was taking no chances. Bomb-sniffing dogs and officers carrying automatic rifles were patrolling transit hubs across the city.
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“I’m pretty scared about it. I think it’s a fairly high possibility, yes,” said Jill Fickling of Roosevelt Island.
“I stop and think, you know, you always worry, you always got to look around and make sure. You know, you pay attention to what’s going on around you and then you hope for the best,” said Anthony Barbaro of Canarsie.
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has no choice but to take a more pragmatic approach.
“We are certainly not taking any chances. Our assumption is that bin Laden’s disciples would like nothing better than to avenge his death,” he said.
“Obviously on top of the priority list is the possibility of a dirty bomb or, God forbid, a full-blown nuclear event,” he said.
“It’s a little trepidation, obviously after what happened Sunday night, but what are you going to do? You got to keep living, right?” said Mike Randolph, MTA volunteer.
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U.S. counterterrorism officials were said to be monitoring internet chatter from a stunned al Qaeda network. An intelligence source told CBS News that law enforcement officials were concerned terror operatives may be directed to come to the us to carry out a plot, or that a so-called “lone wolf” with no official terrorist group affiliation may carry out an attack without direction against the sheer number of available targets in our region, from train terminals, to tunnels, bridges, and our water supply, just to avenge bin Laden’s death.
“And the problem is we don’t know who these people are. We don’t know where they are and we don’t know when they’re going to strike us,” said security expert Bob Strang.
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He pointed out a place like Grand Central Terminal, one of several possible targets under the watchful eye of the NYPD. Other targets include the tunnels underwater, the bridges spanning across and the train system underground. Also, there are symbols like the Statue of Liberty, or even our water supply.
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“I mean there are 50 things, right within a few miles of New York City, that are potential targets for terrorists,” Strang said.
Or, as was the case one year ago with suspected terrorist Faisal Shahzad parking his bomb-laden SUV in Times Square, the target could simply be generic.
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In the end, Strang said the best protection is the public on alert.
“If they’re on the train, if they’re in Penn Station or Grand Central, and they see something, they’ve got to tell somebody,” Strang said.
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“It’s a little trepidation obviusly after what happened sunday night. But what are you gonna do? You gotta keep living, right?” said Mike Randolph, MTA volunteer.
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On Long Island, police say the fact that there are a lot of shoppers could make the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City – and others – targets for terrorists.
“They do have their own security, but, of course, we’re going to put extra people, that can be seen, some in uniform and some that can’t be seen. Kind of covert officers,” Nassau County police Lt. Kevin Smith told WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall.
He says there are no credible threats and advises everyone to go about their normal business, including shopping at the mall.
“We don’t want people to be afraid, alright, just because of this event that took place,” said Smith. “I mean, people really have to understand that, you know, for the most part, we’re working with the intelligence communities around us.”