New York always seems like a prime target for maniacs and madmen, but with two terrorist attacks in the Big Apple since Halloween, authorities aren’t taking any chances. While no credible threat has been reported to the Times Square revelers, officials are stepping up security measures just in case.
The security precautions that will be taken by the New York Police Department to protect the revelers are expected to be unprecedented. Typical security measures, like using sand trucks and blocker vehicles on nearby cross streets and a mix of plainclothes and uniformed officers, will be deployed as always, but other steps, such as increasing security at nearby parking garages and closer surveillance of large rental trucks, are also being put in place, city officials said, according to local ABC station WABC.
Police officials are expected to make more detailed disclosures about their plans on Thursday.
John Cohen, a former counterterrorism coordinator for the Department of Homeland Security and current ABC News contributor, said that it is “not surprising at all” that security is being increased this year “based on how the threat facing the country has evolved.”
“It’s very possible that our traditional intelligence techniques for detecting threats are not well suited to uncover potential attacks,” Cohen said, adding that it means that more precautions are necessary.
“In the current threat environment, the public plays a major role in both helping to detect potential attacks and being prepared in the event they find themselves at a location where an attack is unfolding,” Cohen said.
I have to agree with Cohen that our usual methods of gathering intelligence are woefully inadequate for these kinds of attacks. It’s very difficult to gather information that’s simply existing inside of the warped mind of a deranged ideologue willing to kill for their religion.
That said, the precautions are warranted. Times Square on New Year’s Eve is probably the most attractive target imaginable to terrorists. Thousands of people in one place, a party atmosphere that at once lowers people’s guard and probably exemplifies American excess, what’s not to like if you’re a jihadi?
Among the precautions being taken is tougher security on rental trucks, a favorite weapon of terrorists in this day and age, and at parking garages.
Just knowing about these procedures will probably dissuade a potential terrorist from this as a target, which is good. However, it seems they’re also looking primarily at attacks that have already happened as a guide for what may happen in the future. That’s limiting to some extent.
But that also assumes we’re being told about all precautions, which I suspect isn’t the case. For example, I suspect there are snipers from the NYPD SWAT team that will be positioned surrounding Times Square in case someone gets froggy and wants to pull a Las Vegas-style attack that haven’t been mentioned.
That’s just speculation on my part, mind you, but only a fool would tip their hand and let a potential attacker know everything. After all, if you know ahead of time, you’ve got time to circumvent those measures.
Let’s all just pray that none of these measures are tested and that we have a peaceful and pleasant New Year’s Eve.