- New York increased security around the city following the death of Major-General Qassem Solemani on Friday outside Baghdad’s airport
- On Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference with NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and John Miller from NYPD Counterterrorism
- Officials have said there is no specific or credible threat against New York at this time but given the city’s history of being a target extra precautions are being taken
New York increased security following the assassination of Iran’s top military commander, Major-General Qassem Soleimani in a drone attack outside Baghdad’s airport early Friday morning. The New York Police Department said it has taken immediate steps to protect key locations in the Big Apple, but there is no specific or credible threat at this time.
New York Increases Security
After news broke of Soleimani’s death, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet he had spoken with NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea and Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism of the NYPD John Miller about “immediate steps” to take to “protect key NYC locations from any attempt by Iran or its terrorist allies to retaliate against America.” Blasio ended the tweet with, “We will have to be vigilant against this threat for a long time to come.”
Have spoken with Commissioner Shea + Dep Commissioner Miller about immediate steps NYPD will take to protect key NYC locations from any attempt by Iran or its terrorist allies to retaliate against America. We will have to be vigilant against this threat for a long time to come.— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 3, 2020
There Are No Credible Or Specific Threats At This Time
On Friday afternoon, Blasio, Shea, and Miller held a press conference discussing the heightened security in New York. “Our world changed last night,” Blasio said. “I wanted to gather everyone together to talk about what this means for New York City. What this means to our people.”
While New York knows better than any city in the country the damage that can come from a terrorist attack, Blasio claims America is currently in a different reality and facing a threat like never before. He went on to say America and Iran are in a de facto state of war. A de facto state of war is when two countries are actively engaging each other without declaring war.
Blasio encouraged residents to be more vigilant but continue with their lives. “So the fact that we face a new threat cannot and should not change peoples’ lives. It should simply make us more vigilant and aware that we are all in this together,” Blasio said before passing the mic to Shea.
“To reiterate, there are no credible or specific threats at this time,” Shea said. Shea said the NYPD has been and will continue the practice of “target hardening” around the city. One thing New Yorkers can expect to see with the heightened security is more uniformed officers, “many with long guns at sensitive areas, critical structures, and of course continuing dialogue with our community leaders,” Shea said.
“So, let me just start where everybody else started, which is we have no specific credible threat emanating from the actions taken yesterday,” Miller said. Both Shea and Miller reminded New Yorkers to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity. “We really depend on people because they know what’s normal on their street, on their block,” Shea said.
I Am Just Reminding People
Blasio reminded New Yorkers that New York has a history of Iranian proxies scouting and targeting different targets. “Hezbollah and others have made it a point over the years and it’s been identified, disrupted and been talked about publicly,” Blasio said. “So I am not divulging anything that hasn’t already been said. I am just reminding people.”
Neither Shea or Miller went into specifics on what locations will see heightened security but they did say many of the areas are already treated similarly. Blasio stated there may need to be bag checks at some places but not violating citizen rights would be a priority. A promise many hope will be kept.
My message is if they were ever to attempt directly or indirectly an attack on New York City they would bring horrible horrible results on their own people.New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
If You See Something Say Something
On Friday, the NYPD made a post to Facebook urging New Yorkers “to remain vigilant, and if you see anything suspicious, please call 1-888-NYC-SAFE.” The post also reiterated that while the NYPD is continuing to “monitor the events in Iran and across the region for any further developments,” there is “no specific or credible threats in New York City.”
The NYPD continues to closely monitor the events in Iran & across the region for any further developments. While there are no specific / credible threats to #NYC, we’ve deployed additional resources to key locations.— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) January 3, 2020
As always, if you see something, say something. 1-888-NYC-SAFE pic.twitter.com/JwL0mojnsS
While there are no specific or credible threats to #NYC, we have adjusted our daily counterterrorism deployments based on recent world events.— NYPDCounterterrorism (@NYPDCT) January 3, 2020
We always ask the public to remain vigilant – If You See Something, Say Something.
Report suspicious activity to our #NYCSAFE hotline pic.twitter.com/qZvwmS3PkB
After the press conference, Blasio spoke with Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle of MSNBC where he reiterated that New York has a history of being a target and proper measures are being taken. Since the announcement of Soleimani’s death, Blasio has voiced concern over the fact that this is a state-sanctioned enemy with deep connections to terrorist groups around the world.
When asked by Ruhle if New York is prepared for a cyberattack from Iran, Blasio said New York has a “very advanced cyber command” in hopes of being prepared for any cyberattacks. However, Blasio pointed out that Iran has very “effective” cyber attacks. The Mayor believes if America gets into a “shooting war” with Iran, “then you can expect things like cyber attacks on a level we’ve never seen before and unfortunately Iran is a serious serious adversary when it comes to cyber.”