NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio and police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Wednesday night that New Yorkers will not be intimidated by a newly-released ISIS video that shows scenes of the city.
The mayor said the goal of terrorists is to “intimidate and disrupt a democratic society,” and New York City will not allow any such thing.
“We will not submit to their wishes,” de Blasio said at a news conference in Times Square late Wednesday night. “People in New York City, as you can see right now, are going about their business – even at this late hour. I want to encourage all New Yorkers to go about their business normally. It’s important to note that there is no credible and specific threat against New York City.”
The video, which was posted by several sources Wednesday afternoon, began with remarks by French President François Hollande following the terror attacks in Paris this past Friday, as well as threats and remarks from militants.
In what appeared to be a threat directed at the U.S. toward the end, Times Square was shown along with New York City taxis, the Times Square location of TGI Friday’s, and the Herald Square location of the Gap – interspersed with what appeared to be a man preparing an explosive device and strapping it to himself.
The video does not show a suicide bomber or militant in New York.
Bratton emphasized late Wednesday that the video did not represent any new threat.
“To be quite frank with you, there is nothing new about that video,” Bratton said.
He said the video appeared to be “hastily produced,” and seemed to be composed of a “mishmash” of clips – including an August threat against Germany and an October threat against Israel – and 19 seconds out of the approximately 5 1/2-minute video showed scenes of New York.
De Blasio emphasized that this past Monday, the NYPD unveiled an elite new counterterrorism squad. Officials said the officers have received elite training in what amounts to armed warfare against any terrorist who would try to hit New York City.
By the end of the year, there will be 560 members in the unit. The unit will be up and running by New Year’s Eve.
Bratton repeated that while New York remains a top terror target, it is also better prepared than any city in America to defend against a terrorist attack.
He emphasized the importance the NYPD places on maintaining safety for New Yorkers, and the almost 60 million visitors who come into the city each year. He said the NYPD will be on the watch in particular amid such major activities as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, and other holiday celebrations.
“Be aware, but do not be afraid. The NYPD will protect you. The NYPD, working in close, close cooperation with the FBI and our other government parties, and with the great, great assistance of the residents of this great city, that we will keep it safe,” Bratton said. “We cannot be intimidated, and that’s what terrorists seek to do. They seek to create fear. They seek to intimidate. We will not be intimidated, and we will not live in fear.”
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said earlier Wednesday night that the public must continue to be proactive.
“We set that idea that we are on a heightened state of alert, and we expect from the public that the thing they might have called about, but it was probably nothing, but they were actually going to call that time. So yes, we’re getting more calls, we’re going on more runs, we’re looking at more suspicious packages, we’re checking out more specific people when we get a call about a specific individual. But that is what we’re looking for, and that’s what’s what we do,” Miller said on CNN.
Governor Andrew Cuomo also released a statement, emphasizing the enhanced security measures the state has put into place.
“I want every New Yorker to know that their security is our absolute highest priority. The video released by ISIS today contains old footage of New York, and there is no specific terrorist threat to New York at this time,” Cuomo said in the statement. After the Paris attacks, I directed state agencies to enhance their preparedness out of an abundance of caution and remain in close contact with local and federal authorities, including the FBI and NYPD through the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and that vigilance continues today.”
Cuomo noted that the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, the State Police, and the state National Guard have all been on alert for any suspicious activity. He added that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police have been watching over bridges, tunnels, railroads and the World Trade Center site, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has increased its patrols and surveillance in the mass transit system.
“I encourage all New Yorkers to remain alert and report any suspicious activity, while at the same time not letting this disrupt their daily lives,” Cuomo said in the statement. “Remember that the terrorists’ goal is to let fear win – New Yorkers never have, and we never will.”
The FBI also released a statement saying it was working with the NYPD to investigate any threat information and keep the city safe.
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell questioned a few people on how they felt about the video, with mixed responses.
“I’ve never worried about coming to New York in my entire career,” one woman in New York from Portland, Oregon, said. “This trip I thought twice about.”
Another man seemed undaunted.
“I feel about as secure as I can be,” one man said. I don’t think there’s much more that needs to be done.”