Police Commissioner William Bratton responded to the Paris attacks by reassuring New Yorkers that the NYPD is preparing for a similar type of attack here. “We still remain the number one terrorist target in the world, we believe,” he told ABC 7 yesterday. ISIS is a highly organized and efficient terror group that has “surpassed Al Qaeda in their capabilities,” he says, whose “vulnerability is minimal.”
On Morning Joe Monday, he scolded Silicon Valley for encryption policies that shut out law enforcement. “They need to work with us right now,” Bratton said of the manufacturers of such software. “In many respects, they are working against us.” ISIS is believed to have used Sony’s PlayStation 4 game console to coordinate the attacks. “We, law enforcement, can’t see them. The have so many new elements coming at us so quickly we are moving really very fast to stay ahead of these developments,” Bratton said.
He said the department will be training to respond to ISIS’s multipronged attack strategy, and are looking into ways to contain terrorists strapped with explosives. “You have to go in because they are going to kill the hostages, that this is not hostage taking for negotiations hostage taking, hostage taking for the effect and murder,” Bratton told ABC7.
This weekend, the NYPD deployed counter-terrorism units across the city, conducting bag searches at major subway stations and even the Giants game; plus, a surge in the number of patrol officers across the city, a strong offense, he says, is still the best way to prevent future attacks.
At least 20 potential attacks have been thwarted by the NYPD in the 14 years since 9/11, Bratton explained, due to aggressive counterintelligence operations.
The surveillance will continue, and in greater intensity, despite the complaints from the city’s Muslim community, who last month revived a lawsuit against the NYPD for alleged “mass surveillance” of Muslims simply on their religious affiliation. Bratton, for his part, was unapologetic about the tactics: “I’m sorry but we are spying in terms of our intelligence gathering on people who are attempting to break the law and they are attempting to break the law in a way that is extraordinarily damaging. They want to murder people. So we are going to be very aggressive in gathering intelligence on those people and getting them before they kill innocents,” Bratton said.