New York City

After attacks, Cuomo announces new counterterrorism measures

December 8, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
NYPD anti-terror officer patrol outside the Javits Center before the New York City Marathon on Nov. 2, following the deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11, when a man driving a car killed eight cyclists in lower Manhattan. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

In 2017, dozens of pedestrians and cyclists were run down by vehicles in New York City, Barcelona, London and Stockholm; bombs were planted in London, Manchester and St. Petersburg; and mass shootings took place in Las Vegas, Texas and Paris.

In light of these attacks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday that the state is launching a new counterterrorism advisory panel led by three security heavyweights. The panel will draw up recommendations for action in time for the governor’s State of the State speech.

Kenneth Wainstein, former Homeland Security Adviser to President George W. Bush, will be chairing the panel. Wainstein served as general counsel of the FBI and then as chief of staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller, where he was involved in “myriad sensitive national security and criminal enforcement matters,” according to the governor.

The panel also includes Raymond Kelly, the former New York City Police Commissioner under both Mayors David Dinkins and Michael Bloomberg. Kelly is the longest serving police commissioner in the city’s history.

The third heavyweight on the panel is Lisa Monaco, former Homeland Security Adviser to President Barack Obama. Monaco served as chief of staff to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller and later as Assistant Attorney General for National Security, responsible for leading nationwide terrorism investigations and prosecutions.

“We are fortunate to have three of the world’s leading counterterrorism experts assist us in our efforts to remain vigilant as we work to adapt our security measures to the evolving tactics of those who seek to do us harm,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Wainstein has already started an in-depth evaluation of the state’s counterterrorism assets, authorities and overall effectiveness, Cuomo said. The evaluation will result in recommendations for improved coordination among the state’s counterterrorism authorities and strengthened security at airports, bridges, tunnels and other major assets.

The state has made numerous commitments to thwart terrorists. Earlier this year, the governor announced more than $220 million in federal grants that will support counterterrorism and emergency preparedness activities at the county level, as well as another $39 million to strengthen counterterrorism protections at ports and on transportation systems.

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Other initiatives include Homeland Security’s Operation Safeguard exercises at businesses and organizations, and the State’s Citizen Preparedness Corps program.

NYC gives advice in emergency situations

In related news, New York City’s Office of Emergency Management has prepared a handy guide which tells those confronted by unexpected events what to do in an emergency (see https://plannownyc.cityofnewyork.us/).

For example, in answer to the question, “How do I survive an active shooter?” the website recommends:

     1: Avoid: Have a clear path? Run.

     2: Barricade:  If you can’t get out, pile furniture against a door. Be quiet; silence your phone.

     3: Confront:  If you and others are in the open with nowhere to hide and no way out, use what you can to defend yourself — throw things, etc. — until first responders arrive.

The website also provides guidance to questions from, “How do I stop bleeding?” to how to “Breathe and remain calm,” and how to keep your phone charged in an emergency.

The governor reminds residents to report activity that seems suspicious to the state’s Counter Terrorism Center tip line at 1-866-723-3697 or by email at [email protected]

Tips can be submitted to the FBI’s New York bureau at fbi.gov/nyctribeca or call 1-800-225-5321 and select option 1.

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