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De Blasio Administration Orders Security Overhaul After Brooklyn Bridge Flags Incident

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A security overhaul at key terror targets in New York City has been ordered by the de Blasio administration after vandals breached the security at the Brooklyn Bridge earlier this week to replace American Flags that sit at the top.

As CBS 2 political reporter Marcia Kramer reported, there is already a massive increase in security at the Brooklyn Bridge.

New security cameras and numerous police officers, including authorities from the counterterrorism squad, are on foot patrol after American flags atop the bridge towers were stolen and replaced with white-washed versions. The administration has also ordered helicopter flyovers.

But all of that is not enough for Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, who are worried that the breach shows vulnerabilities in the city’s counterterrorism system that could provide opportunities for al Qaeda and other terror groups, Kramer reported.

Now, there are plans to ramp up security at other iconic sites around New York City.

“The NYPD has already implemented increased security measures on the Brooklyn Bridge, and multiple agencies are collaborating with the police on further measures that will increase the safety of this and other key facilities,” First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris said in a statement.

Shorris is running the city while the mayor is on vacation in Italy.

Security experts applauded the move, Kramer reported.

“Obviously if they’re now discussing a change and improvement in the security at these bridges, clearly that indicated that security was lacking to begin with,” said security expert Manny Gomez.

For security reasons, officials would not disclose the precise nature of the upgrades or exactly where they will be instated.

But experts say recent security lapses not only at the Brooklyn Bridge, but also at One World Trade Center are wake up calls for the city to re-evaluate security at all iconic New York City targets.

“We’ve become complacent in the last decade since 9/11 and we definitely need to look internally at security and tighten it,” Gomez added.

Meanwhile, the NYPD apparently has some new clues to help identify the culprits who switched the flags, CBS 2 reported. Small samples of DNA from the flag and the covers that were used to block the bridge spotlights have been recovered.

Detectives are also studying cellphone transmissions from the bridge as well as license plates of vehicles that were on the bridge at the time.

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