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NYC preps for ‘elevated threat environment’ on 20th anniversary of 9/11

Police officials say the city will have “robust security” around Ground Zero

By David Luces
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

New York — As the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks nears, the city is taking “extraordinary precautions” to ensure the safety of those visiting Ground Zero. City officials are preparing for an “elevated threat environment” on the day of the anniversary, Saturday, though there are currently no specific or creditable threats.

During the mayor’s daily press briefing Wednesday, Martine Materasso, chief of the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau, touted a “robust security overlay” for the upcoming ceremony.

“There will be measures in and around the World Trade Center site that the public will see and there will be many that they won’t,” she said. “This plan has been in development for many months. We will be using all of our counterterrorism resources to ensure a safe event.”

Explosive detection canines, heavy weapons teams, explosives detection instruments, license plate readers, radiological and chemical sensors and surveillance cameras will be utilized. Uniformed officers will be at the World Trade Center site as well as a bomb squad.

John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, explained the reason behind “the elevated threat environment.”

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“We’ve seen the call to action this year be louder and better organized from terrorist groups than we have seen in prior years,” he said.

In addition to Saturday’s anniversary, Miller also cited American troops being pulled out of Afghanistan, the return of the Taliban, and the recent suicide bombing at the Kabul airport.

There has also been “significant propaganda” from al Qaeda, including a new issue of the terrorist group’s magazine, “Wolves of Manhattan,” that glorifies the hijackers, according to Miller.

“We have a major anniversary coming up and the eyes of the world will be on New York City, which means we have to take extraordinary precautions to protect all New Yorkers, said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

He added that they have an “extraordinary counterterrorism capacity” and there will be deployments all over the city in the days leading up to Saturday.

“We are watching, because we know the ways of the terrorists,” de Blasio said. “We understand this anniversary is going to be on their minds too.”

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