NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With Iran threatening retaliation for the U.S. airstrike in Baghdad, New York City authorities are responding by deploying additional resources to what they call “sensitive locations.”
The news comes after a Thursday night U.S. airstrike in Baghdad killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic.
The strike drew a vow of “harsh retaliation” from Iran.
The Defense Department blamed Soleimani for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, and said he was behind recent attacks on coalition bases in Iraq, including one on Dec. 27 that killed an American defense contractor.
While officials are saying there is no specific threat to our area, they are stressing if you see something, say something. They rely on people to report things out of the ordinary in their neighborhoods.
The NYPD says it already has top potential targets covered and a lot of what they’re doing, they can’t say.
“I think it’s really important for New Yorkers to understand that we’re now potentially facing a threat that’s different and greater than anything we have faced previously,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.
Watch: NYC Officials Discuss Tension In Baghdad —
While de Blasio and NYPD officials say no one knows what could happen next, they have thought of this scenario before.
“This is something that has been in the making, if you will, in terms of deployments at strategic locations, particularly with Iran,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
They say New Yorkers will see more uniformed officers with long guns and potentially bag checks in subways, but they’re not going to divulge everything.
“The best way to deal with an adversary like this is keep them off-guard and be able to move our assets agily and change our strategies as needed,” de Blasio said.
“If you see something, say something” is especially important.
“Whether that’s someone trying to illicit information in an unusual way about the security of different location, whether that’s the testing or probing of security or access at a location, whether that’s a government location, critical infrastructure, symbolic target, suspicious photography, observation surveillance,” said John Miller, NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism.
“We ask New Yorkers to remain vigilant and anything at all out of the ordinary, 888-NYC-SAFE, please call,” Shea said.
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced that the National Guard will be deployed to New York City airports.
The New York Power Authority is conducting checks and patrols on all utilities, and the New York State Office of Information Technology Services is performing checks on all cybersecurity details.
Manny Gomez is a former special agent for the FBI.
“A cyberattack is always a concern because the perpetrators don’t have to be here. They can be overseas remotely, so that has always been a concern. The NYPD along with the FBI, of course, are always trying to gauge the vulnerabilities of our cyberspace and putting in protocols in place to try and prevent that, so I don’t think that they’ll be able to successfully, at this point, launch a cyberattack,” he said.
U.S. intelligence officials say Iran was behind a 2014 cyberattack on American casinos. It resulted in stolen credit card data, social security numbers and driver’s license information.
Seven Iranians were accused of hacking into dozens of American banks in 2012 and 2013. One of those men also repeatedly gained access to computer systems of the Bowman Dam in Rye in 2013, though he never gained control of the dam.