Increased Security At Empire State Building, World Trade Center & Other Sites

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police in New York City have beefed up security at iconic locations like the Empire State Building and World Trade Center amid online “chatter” about terror threats.

The NYPD is also increasing security at houses of worship and increasing counterterrorism staffing.

Summer tourists are flocking to the Empire State Building as usual and noticing the additional police presence.

“More security than normal, yeah,” one Australian tourist told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “We were here about five, six years ago. There’s a big difference.”

She and other tourists said they feel safe despite the global terror threat.

“That could happen any time with or without the warning as far as I’m concerned. Look at the Boston attacks. That marathon, nobody was expecting that and it happened,” a visitor from Ontario told Diamond. “I think our generation has grown up seeing so much of this that it’s almost something that you just, it’s a known fact. When you go out, this is a risk.”

The NYPD has boosted its security presence at city landmarks, transit hubs and houses of worship in response to the terror alert.

The police department said the extra security is not an indication of a new threat, but out of an abundance of caution.

“I feel pretty safe here in New York City. I’ve seen lots of officers on duty on street corners,” Boston resident Anita Thomas told Diamond. “We travel a lot as a family and it’s an unfortunate thing when a terrorist attack occurs but it’s not going to stop me from doing what we love to do.”

The State Department says U.S. diplomatic posts in 19 cities in the Muslim world will be closed for the end of the week.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the decision to keep the embassies and consulates shuttered is a sign of an “abundance of caution” and is “not an indication of a new threat.”

CBS News security analyst Juan Zarate, former Deputy National Security Adviser to President George W. Bush, told “CBS This Morning,” the plot is “reminiscent of the plot in 2010…to attack European sites.”

“People were worried about Mumbai-style attacks coming from the al Qaeda core,” Zarate said, adding, “It never materialized but officials were worried that they actually had operatives in place. And, that’s a great concern here.”

Lawmakers said the intercepted chatter suggested that a major terrorist attack was in the planning stages. One lawmaker said the chatter was specific as to certain dates and the scope of the operation.

“This is the most serious threat that I’ve seen in the last several years,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia told NBC’s “Meet the Press Sunday. “Chatter means conversation among terrorists about the planning that’s going on — very reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11.”

Diplomatic facilities will remain closed in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, among other countries, through Saturday, Aug. 10. The State Department announcement Sunday added closures of four African sites, in Madagascar, Burundi, Rwanda and Mauritius.

The U.S. has also decided to reopen some posts on Monday, including those in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Baghdad.

The Obama administration announced Friday that the posts would be closed over the weekend and the State Department announced a global travel alert, warning that al-Qaeda or its allies might target either U.S. government or private American interests.

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