Bloomberg: NYC ‘Symbol Of America’ For Terrorists


bloombergNYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he’s going to Washington to make a case for additional homeland security funds. The mayor spoke today at an event with members of the bomb squad that defused a bomb in Times Square on Shabbos.

He said New York is the symbol of America “where terrorists come and we need to have homeland security funds.”

He said Saturday’s incident in Times Square proved the need. A suspect, Faisal Shahzad, was charged Tuesday with trying to blow up a crude device inside a parked SUV amid tourists and Broadway theatergoers.

The mayor and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly are scheduled to testify Wednesday at a U.S. Senate hearing on terrorists and guns.

You only have to look at all the recent attempted attacks on U.S. soil to know that New York City continues to be the major target for terrorists.

So what can be done to keep the city safe?

The city’s Lower Manhattan Security Initiative is a broad plan that uses a massive surveillance system, including cameras, license plate readers, and more on-the-ground officers. The mayor and police commissioner want to expand it.

“We have a program that we hope to have funded where we will take our Lower Manhattan Security Initiative which consists of about 3,000 cameras and migrate that program up to Midtown Manhattan,” Kelly said on Tuesday.

It’s not difficult to understand why.

The Times Square scare, the subway bomb plot, 9/11 and before that the car bomb in the parking garage of the World Trade Center.

New York, more than any other American city, is in the cross-hairs of terrorists. But the federal government cut New York security funds by $48 million.

“We remain a prime target for terrorists. That’s something that all New Yorkers understand, and it’s something that we need Washington to understand as well,” Bloomberg said.

Terrorism expert Anne Marie McAvoy says public diligence isn’t enough to keep the city safe.

“We need to have the technical ability to try to track these people, to catch them fast, to try to catch it before it happens rather than having to rely on a street vendor to come to the police and say that they see something unusual. And that takes money,” McAvoy said.

But how far is the public willing to put up with increased intrusions into their privacy?

CBS 2 HD asked New Yorkers: “What do you think about things like random pat-downs, purse checking, that sort of thing?”

Resident Laura Aswad: “I’m completely against that. I think that’s a total invasion of privacy and personal space.”

Resident Benny Villaquiran: “If we’re on the subway and there’s a camera looking at us or there’s camera’s on the street, it’s fine.”

Resident Robert Clotter: “Me, personally, I would have to say security is more important.”

The funding cuts by the federal government started back in 2006 under the Bush administration. Both New York and Washington saw a 40 percent reduction, while cities like Jacksonville and Sacramento, which have never suffered terrorist attacks, saw increases.

{CBS Broadcasting/Noam Newscenter}