One year after Queens would-be terrorist Najibullah Zazi confessed to a plot to blow up the city’s subway system, Metro takes a behind-the-scenes look at what’s being done to keep New York safe.
“There’s a lot of stuff that goes on that most people don’t know about,” said Glen Klein, a retired New York City police officer. “There are threats every day, but a lot of things you don’t hear about.”
When Klein was in uniform, for example, he was sent out on “Hercules” patrols, three to six times a day after 9/11.
“Our assignment was to go to high-profile locations — Penn Station, Grand Central, once even the Feast of San Gennaro,” said Klein. “Let them see us with the loaded guns and heavy equipment. Let the public see us, and if there were any guys with bad intentions they would see us, too.”
Including Zazi and the Times Square bomber, the NYPD has foiled 11 serious terrorist plots since 2001. Another former cop, 20-year NYPD veteran Mike Codella, said he came across “dozens” of Middle Eastern informants during his time on the force.
“Most of them are already part of the community — they’re in the mosques, already in the clubs, in the neighborhoods. They come in on their own and say they want to work for the government,” said Codella, who wrote “Alphaville,” a book about his undercover work in the NYPD. “Some want to make money — informants are paid. But some of them actually do it just because they love America.”
The NYPD still does Hercules patrols today, said Klein, and has expanded them to “Torch” patrols underground, the armed police officers and K-9 units you’ve seen in the subways.