Six years after the World Trade Center towers were brought down, the New York City Police Department remains on the alert for a new terrorist attack, maintaining a counter-terrorism division with nearly 1,200 officers.
The division was set up in January 2002, three months after 9/11. It now has a budget of $203 million, and is divided into a variety of units.
One unit employs native speakers of foreign languages including Arabic and Urdu to monitor jihadi Web sites. The transportation unit’s duties include watching bridges, tunnels, and roads.
The division even has a scuba team that dives under ships in the harbor to check for bombs attached to a ship’s hull, and a helicopter unit that uses infrared cameras that can spot heat sources – including nuclear material – inside a ship or read license plates from high in the air, MSNBC reports.
Police in the division regularly patrol Muslim neighborhoods, and monitor the police surveillance cameras that keep streets and parks under constant observation.
Last year NewsMax reported that the city had installed 500 new surveillance cameras around the city. Cops also rely on private security cameras.
“We devote almost 1,200 police officers every day to our counter-terrorism initiatives,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told NBC News.
“No other city can do that, but no other city sees itself in the position that we do.
“We have been attacked here twice successfully,” he noted, referring to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing as well as 9/11, “and there have been other plots against the city. So we are doing a lot.”
And David Cohen, a 37-year CIA veteran who heads the counter-terrorism division’s intelligence unit, said: “In my view there’s no question that on any given day, there’s somebody out there who’s talking about the possibilities of an attack on New York – what a plot might look like, what the elements might be.
“Every day, I wake up in the morning just assuming someone out there is having that conversation with someone else. Every day.”
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