Queens And City Prepare For Another Terrorist Attack – QNS.com

Queens And City Prepare For Another Terrorist Attack

At the start of the work week, the city braced for the possibility of terrorist attacks on its financial institutions, including one in Long Island City, after the director of the Department of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, raised the terror alert to a high risk Sunday.
During his press conference, Ridge stated that intelligence over the last few days indicated that terrorists were planning imminent attacks on three
of the nations cities, New York, Washington, D.C., and Newark in northern New Jersey.
Though the five-tier alert system had been raised to orange before, Ridges announcement, unlike past ones, offered specific targets that terrorists were planning to attack.
In New York City, financial institutions, including Citigroup buildings and the New York Stock Exchange, were named as possibilities, with car or truck bombs as the likely attack method.
"What is extraordinary about these particular sites is the considerable detail and quality of information regarding those sites," said Ridge. He also encouraged employees of and residents near the targets to continue in their normal routine despite how "sobering and as difficult as this news is."
Though New York City did not raise its terror level, since it has been on high alert since the September 11 attacks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly responded with the deployment of police to the named targets, one being Citigroup in Long Island City, to the citys trains and subways, and to bridges and tunnels heading to Manhattan. Kelly also said more plainclothes officers would be patrolling these locations.
A released statement from NYPD also urged corporate and institutional security directors to review their security systems and parking installations. The statement also told security at private institutions to be vigilant of trespassers, loiterers and unexpected deliveries.
The presence of NYPD at the Citigroup building at Court Square One in Long Island City was noticeable Monday morning, while workers trickled into their offices, despite the high-risk warning. Only one entrance was available to employees, and security checked all employees identifications and searched bags.
Built in 1989 and encompassing 1.4 million square feet, the financial institution houses 4,800, making it the largest private sector employer in Queens. In July, Mayor Bloomberg and Citigroup announced plans to build a 14-story, 475,000-square-foot building in Long Island City to hold an additional 1,500 employees. Calls to Citigroup were not returned.
Councilman Eric Gioia, whose district encompasses the Citigroup building, said he felt safer knowing NYPD was on the case. "New York has the best police officers in the world and I have faith that these brave men and women will do all that they can to keep our families, neighborhoods and cities safe," he told The Queens Courier. "During uncertain times, I am happy to know that we can rely on the hardworking members of the 108th and 114th Precinct who are on the lines protecting our community."
A representative from Olympic Glove and Safety and Guardline Fire Safety, two companies that handle homeland security products and have contracts with state police and repair equipment for NYPD and ConEdison, noted that they have received a barrage of calls since the announcement, some of which have come from the private sector.
"There has been an incredible influx of orders for gas masks and things of that nature," said Josh Goldstein, vice president of Olympic and president of Guardline. "Even before the alert, just the idea that we had a convention coming here changed a lot. What tends to happen is when the alert gets raised, the private sector starts getting involved. The recent events plus the upcoming convention are making everybody very, very aware."
Goldstein went on to say that residents in many affluent communities in Queens, including Malba, Whitestone, Bayside Gables, Howard Beach, Forest Hills, Belle Harbor and Neponsit, are frantically calling in orders. "We have been besieged with rush orders for gas masks, chemical protection suits, respiratory equipment, goggles and gloves. People are especially concerned with their children and are especially pleased with the fact that every item is available for children as well as adults."
With a heightened threat level, Councilman Peter Vallone, chair of the City Councils Public Safety Committee, used the opportunity to criticize the low amount of federal funding the city received for homeland security and its police.
"How many more terrorist plots against this area have to be discovered before the federal government stops playing pork-barrel politics and starts protecting us?" he told The Queens Courier. "However, despite this fact, the NYPD under Ray Kelly is as prepared as possible."

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