Authorities arrested suspected car bomber, Faisal Shahzad in just 53 hours, but the incident highlighted some glaring security gaps and yesterday led New York’s elected officials to bang the drum for more federal funds to fight terror.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg testified on Capitol Hill yesterday to call for money for surveillance cameras and screening for radiological or nuclear devices. Officials also asked for help funding the Securing the Cities initiative, which would put a ring of radiation sensors in the tri-state area.
“Since 1990, there have been more than 20 terrorist plots — or actual attacks — against our city,” Bloomberg said. “The car bomb the NYPD found in Times Square on Saturday night was not the only attempted terrorist attack on our city since 9/11. And sadly, it won’t be the last.”
Cameras aren’t the answer, said Charles Strozier, director of the Center on Terrorism at John Jay College: “The goal in counterterrorism is to prevent. Cameras do nothing to prevent.”
And the subway system is just too vast and porous to protect with technology.
“You need intelligence and cooperation” among federal intelligence agencies and local law enforcement — a major problem before the 9/11 attacks. The quick arrest of Shahzad was “an example of the police, counterterrorism task force and citizens doing exactly the right thing.”