NEW YORK (PIX11) — On the eve of the anniversary of the terror attacks by Al Qaeda that left so many Americans in despair and confusion, there are additional terror threats being pursued by the president, the NYPD commissioner and other security professionals working for New York’s safety. Ironically, some of those threats almost make 9/11 seem like a simpler time, from a law enforcement perspective.
“Not only do we have Al Qaeda,” security expert Robert Strang told PIX11 News, “we have Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, ISIS and we now have groups that are in Europe, all over the United States, and we never know when they’re going to attack.”
Strang referred to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, among other terror groups. He’s the former chairman of New York’s Anti-Terrorism Task Force, and now oversees security for a wide variety of major corporations,
The former Justice Department special agent is now, in private practice, keeping close watch on what Bill Bratton, the NYPD police commissioner, is watching out for. Bratton is directly responsible New York City’s 8.5 million residents, and he also oversees security for the more than 20 million people who live, work and visit New York and its suburbs on any given day.
On Wednesday, Bratton spoke at a business forum about terrorism challenges that his department, and the rest of the country, face. He specifically mentioned ISIS and its methods of trying to attract more fighters.
“They are in also a position to inspire” potential recruits, Bratton said about the radical Middle Eastern terror group, by “the increasing sophistication of their media outreach in the Internet.”
He referred to well produced videos by ISIS of its members carrying out acts considered repugnant by any decent person, such as the beheading of innocent U.S. journalists, or mass executions of hundreds of Iraqi Security Force personnel, or the taking of Syrian military bases by force.
Those kinds of propaganda are attracting people who want to do harm in New York and elsewhere in the U.S. and around the world. The people attracted by such propaganda can come from anywhere in the world as well.
“Americans and Europeans are traveling back and forth to the Middle East,” said Strang, “especially to Iraq and Syria. They’re getting training, they’re learning to make bombs, they’re learning how to raise funds” to finance their acts of terror.
Through his Wednesday evening address to the nation about ISIS and terror threats to U.S. interests, President Barack Obama seeks to calm concerns about more attacks. But possibly the strongest word to ease worries New Yorkers may have about terrorism here comes through an analysis of local terror fighting capabilities.
“We have a thousand police officers assigned just to terrorism alone,” Strang told PIX11 News. “We have two professionals, Bill Bratton and John Miller, who make sure all of the information is shared. We have almost our own CIA based here in New York City.”