Reporting Marcia Kramer
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s stunning new information about why the NYPD has the weapons and the training to shoot airplanes out of the sky. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly spoke out Wednesday about the city’s efforts to fight terror.
Al Qaeda and the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, caused the city to buy big guns –.50-caliber rifles capable of shooting a plane out of the sky. It’s part of the NYPD’s plan to protect New York City from a bio-terrorist attack.
“We didn’t want to be totally defenseless in a situation where two o’clock in the morning you have a crop duster airplane that’s flying over New York City distributing anthrax,” Kelly told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
Kelly said that right after the 9/11 attacks. When Moussaoui was arrested, investigators found documents in his possession indicating Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were contemplating using crop dusting planes to wage an attack here — not only with anthrax but other toxins.
“We have since then had that on our radar screen,” Kelly said. “We have trained our, our crews, our flight crews to use a .50-calibre weapon. They go to Fort Dix, New Jersey, where they actually train to fire those weapons from aircraft.”
But the NYPD doesn’t need to be in the air to fire the heavy projectiles — accurate from up to two miles from a target.
“You can fire these weapons certainly from the ground, from the boat, from a helicopter, but we do … and we practice firing these weapons from all of those areas,” Kelly said.
The police commissioner tried to tread carefully, not wanting to disclose sensitive terror-fighting plans. The following was his response when asked if the guns can take out a jetliner.
“Look, I don’t want to get into that level of specificity, obviously. It’s very powerful weapon and as I say it would only be used in extreme circumstances,” Kelly said.
The commissioner said that any decision to have the NYPD take to the skies to shoot down a plane will be made in conjunction with the mayor and federal officials.
The FBI said that in the event of another attack, the Department of Defense has other assets at its disposal. They include fighter jets that, if need be, can vaporize a plane in the air.
It turns out the NYPD may have to duke it out with the feds over who has more firepower.
An online report says that federal officials have shoulder-launched Stinger missiles in the city. The missiles are capable of flying 11,000 feet in the air at speeds of more than 400 mph and can bring down a hijacked jet.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
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