NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Fortress New York.
That’s what it seems like out on the streets of the city on the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on America.
Drivers on the roads are witnessing numerous police checkpoints pulling vehicles over for inspection. Countless uniformed officers are out on the streets.
The heightened measures follow a warning by authorities of a specific, credible but unconfirmed threat against New York City and Washington, D.C. Authorities believe three individuals may have been tasked to create mayhem using car bombs or by targeting area bridges and tunnels.
Concern is so intense, that the New York City Office of Emergency Management took the unusual step of sending out a notification explaining that numerous sirens may be heard throughout the city due to the 9/11 Moment of Remembrance at 1 p.m.
“There’s no new information,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb prior to the ceremony.
CBSNewYork Special Report: Remembering 9/11/01: 10 Years Later
At least two of the three purported operatives may be U.S. citizens, officials said. So far, there’s been no evidence those operatives have managed to get other operatives into the United States, officials said Saturday.
Osama bin Laden himself mulled a strike on the U.S. on the 10th anniversary. During the raid on his compound which left the terror mastermind dead, Navy SEALs recovered a treasure trove on intelligence, including a notebook in which bin Laden wrote about such a plan. And that sentiment was echoed by a foreign tipster, who has previously been reliable and accurate.
Therefore, security presence on the streets is massive. Heavily armed police and bomb dogs are at work. An intricate web of surveillance cameras is scanning key areas. Less visible: Bi-lingual undercover officers and intelligence analysts. Information is being fed into the NYPD’s new high-tech security operations center in Lower Manhattan.
Authorities were hunting for two dark green Chevy vans stolen from a World Trade Center site contractor. On Sunday, Kelly told 1010 WINS one of the vans had been found.
“Two construction vehicles that were stolen in Queens, one of them was recovered. It had about $70,000 worth of tools in it and the tools were gone,” said Kelly. “So the investigators’ assumption now is that the vehicle was taken for the tools.”
Another white Econoline van with Oklahoma plates was stolen from a self-storage facility in Jersey City. Phone lines and alarms were cut at the site of the Econoline van theft.
“Authorities are worried about retaliation following the death of bin Laden, so they have to take it seriously, even though it hasn’t been corroborated yet,” said CBS National Security Analyst Juan Zarate.
There are radiation detection boats in the waters. Cameras have been placed all over lower and Midtown Manhattan. Cops have their heavily armored CATs – Counter-Assault Tanks – parked at key locations.
“There’s no shortage of people… who are willing to give up their lives for the cause,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
New Yorkers aren’t the only ones on edge. Concerns about terrorism remain constant. In a CBS News/New York Times poll, 67 percent of Americans say the death of Osama bin Laden didn’t make them feel any safer. 57 percent say subway security measures are insufficient. 27 percent say they feel airports are safer. 20 percent say bridges and tunnels are, and just 14 percent say area nuclear plants are safer.
The New York Police Department has dramatically beefed up its anti-terror arsenal. Kelly told Kramer about the department’s new assets.
“We actually have the ability to put a small submarine, not manned… and check the part of the boats that are submerged,” Kelly said. “We have a new boat on order.”
“We envision a situation where we may have to get to an island or across water quickly so we’re able to transport our heavy weapons officers rapidly,” Kelly added.
The NYPD also has 1,000 anti-terror cops with tanks and weapons, carved out of the department after 9/11. The network of surveillance cameras also continues to grow.
“We have to do things differently. We know that this is where terrorists want to come,” Kelly said.
What do you think of the security measures for the anniversary? Sound off in our comments section.