New York City, and the West in general, are at greater risk of terrorist attacks than at any other time since 9/11, and citizens and the government need to take heed, former New York Gov. George Pataki said Monday on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV
"We just see this global network of extreme Islamic groups committed to attacking us and our citizens anywhere in the world," said Pataki, a Republican. "We've had a porous border and ISIS is well funded, and if they choose or have chosen to fund people coming across the border of this country, they may well be here.
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"As to the specific actions the city and state are taking to protect the subways
, all I can say is that when I was governor, whenever we had a general awareness of a heightened risk, we would enhance security, and I have to believe that the NYPD is tremendous, the New York state emergency response and state police are tremendous, and that they are taking the appropriate steps.
"I no longer can tell you specifically what they're doing, but I know they're very good, I know they're aware of this threat, and I have no reason not to believe that they're doing what's appropriate."
He's hopeful that the complacency Americans may have been lulled into before the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS)
and the "barbaric treatment of Westerners" has been extinguished.
"The threat of al-Qaida is not gone, the threat of Islamic extremism is very real and very present," Pataki said.
"They want to target Westerners and Americans, so I would hope that since we've seen that, the American people would understand that we can't go back to a Sept. 10 mentality.
"This is a serious effort to kill Americans, kill Westerners, and disrupt our way of life, and we have to deal with it. We can't simply enjoy the luxury of saying we're an ocean away. We're not, this is global."
Pataki had strong words for President Barack Obama and his plans to trim the military.
"How can this president talk about continuing to wind down our military, scale back our military, when the global threat, the immediate threat of Islamic terrorism and the long-term challenge of Chinese military nationalism are very real? We need to turn that around and start rebuilding our military and not dismantling it."
If reports that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has scaled back the NYPD's counter-terrorism intelligence unit are true, that is also cause for great concern, Pataki said.
"Intelligence is the key," he said. "We don't want to respond to a crisis. We want to prevent an attack in the first place, and to do that, proactive intelligence gathering and policing is critical, and if those reports are accurate, that the NYPD intelligence monitoring and gathering has been scaled back, then that is something that is horribly wrong and increases the risk."
De Blasio "more than appears to lean far left, I think he is far left," said Pataki, who said he is also worried about reports that de Blasio doesn't have security clearance from the government "due to some of his prior actions."
"The idea that the mayor can't be briefed on the latest intelligence as to security threats is enormously troubling to me," he said.
Pataki noted that he follows politics and public policy closely, but said he'd refrain from commenting on whether he plans to seek the White House in 2016. With all that's going on in the world, Pataki said, he's very interested in participating "in some way in trying to change the direction of the country and give us confidence and optimism about the future."
"This is America. Every one of us should believe that tomorrow's going to be better, that our kids are going to have better lives, and sadly, today, too many Americans don't feel that. So, we'll see what happens, but on speculating about possible candidacies, we'll see down the road."
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