NYPD Commish Kelly: Terrorism Is Always About Trying To Sell Fear

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Investigators are looking for the source of a frightening posting that was found online warning that al Qaeda may be targeting the city, again.

Investigators are trying to figure out why this was posted online and who posted it. The graphic shows a father and son walking along an empty New York City street and says “Al Qaeda — Coming Soon Again In New York.”

“They always try to sell fear. That’s what terrorism is all about,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports

Police said the graphic was posted in the “artwork and design” section of an overseas website that has featured al Qaeda material in the past.

Sources told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer the threat appeared on what they call a “tier-one” website, possibly based in Indonesia, that is frequently used by jihadists and al Qaeda terrorists to exchange information, recruit members and incite actions

Kramer: “What are these websites used for basically?”

Kelly: “Propaganda. They put out propaganda. They want to keep the message out there. They want to keep the issue out there. They want to give us a certain amount of angst and anxiety.”

Sources also said that based on linguistic patterns and other postings by the same person or group of persons authorities believe the author is a well-funded Eqyptian. Law enforcement experts are trying to discover if the threat is some call to action.

“We know that the al Qaeda approach is sort of let a thousand flowers bloom. Do what you can do to the extent that this type of message encourages that, yeah, inciting events has been an al Qaeda theme for quite a while,” Kelly said.

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“The Internet is, as we used to say, the new Afghanistan,” Kelly said. “That’s where training happens, that’s where radicalization happens. It has been a very valuable tool for terrorists.”

Kelly said the NYPD has been aware of the website for a while, but said this latest posting is not connected to anything specific against the city.

“We are still obviously very much concerned about the origination of this message, but it’s not tied to any threat,” he said. “There’s nothing operational about this.”

The post comes as the NYPD has been criticized for spying on Muslim businesses and mosques in the metropolitan area.

Security expert Bob Strang said intelligence experts must consider the deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and the Middle East when analyzing the image.

“Take a look specifically at Pakistan and Iran and you can see why this is a concern,” said Strang. “Because al-Qaeda has had an opportunity to refinance, regroup, reorganize to train without disruption and that’s a concern for us.”

“The photo alone is a warning that we’re still on the radar screen,” he added.

Although some admitted this makes them uneasy, many New Yorkers insisted they still feel safe.

“It’s more al Qaeda propaganda. They’re obviously trying to install fear in us before. They’ve been unable to deliver on their threats so I’m not that worried,” added Klaus Boschen of the Upper West Side. “There’s no point in being afraid.”

“What am I going to do, pack up and leave? I’ll put my faith in the NYPD to thwart off any threats that may be real,” added Upper West Side resident Christopher Martinez.

“I think people need to be educated more that these things can happen,” said Midtown resident Ronny Sulimani.

Both the NYPD and the FBI are continuing to investigate the posting. One source said that while the graphic itself is not a explicit threat, it is scary.

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