May 4, 2011
The Department of Homeland Security and police departments around the country are taking full advantage of the unverified assassination of the late CIA asset, Osama bin Laden.
In New York, the police “super-sized” security by dispatching a bevy of cops in elite, military style gear, according to the Examiner. Militarized cops were spotted with machine guns and large trained German Shepherds throughout major hubs like Grand Central Station, the Port Authority, Herald Square, and even in New York landmarks.
Dodger Stadium and Staples Center in LA received a fresh influx of cops. “The city remains in contact with the FBI and Homeland Security on a daily basis,” reports ABC 7. “But officials say security is a shared responsibility. They are calling on everyone to report anything unusual, and they’re reminding residents that if they see something, say something.”
Public rail systems in Florida added uniformed and plain-clothes security officers on platforms and on trains, authorities told the Sun-Sentinel. At Miami International Airport, “we’ve ratcheted things up a notch,” with increased police and K-9 patrols as well as random vehicle checks, said security director Lauren Stover. Florida’s major commercial airports, like those around the nation, plan to remain on high alert indefinitely with stepped up but mostly unseen security measures, according to the newspaper.
In Portland, Oregon, the Osama fiasco was exploited to put more cops and inspectors on mass transit in that city. “What we have done is, working with the TSA, increased our presence and visibility on the system,” said Bekki Witt, spokeswoman for TriMet, the public transportation system for the metropolitan area. The added security is typical after a U.S. military action or an elevated national threat level, notes The Oregonian.
Department of Homeland Security officers were performing warrantless searches at the Palm Springs International Airport on Monday. Transportation Security Administration spokesman Nico Melendez told KPSP Local 2 that officers from the Department of Homeland Security had been scheduled prior to Osama’s alleged assassination to perform searches at the airport in conjunction with TSA. Melendez said Viper teams will be working out of the airport this week.
So-called counter terrorism experts warn that followers of Osama bin Laden will strike in retaliation for the reported assassination of the former CIA operative who died in late 2001. “Terrorists are expected to aim for more vulnerable soft targets like shopping malls or museums,” CBS New York reports.
Security consultant David Boehm told CBS the future may include security check points entering all soft targets — like the local department store. “The reason they’re called ‘soft’ is because it’s so easily accessible to anyone. There has to be security checks for the safety of all people,” Broehm said.
The increased presence of militarized cops working with the Department of Homeland Security dovetails with action on Capitol Hill. The House Homeland Security Committee examined possible terrorist threats posed to mass transit systems around the country today.
“Especially now in the wake of bin Laden’s death, we have to assume that al-Qaida or its affiliates, al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula, any of the others, any of the radicalized terrorists here at home, self-starters, if you will, loan wolves or organized terrorist operations in this country will launch a domestic attack,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, who recently held hearings on the supposed threat posed by radical Muslims.
Najibullah Zazi, the Oregon peroxide bleach would-be bomber, served as a centerpiece for King’s hearing today.
Zazi, a U.S. resident from Afghanistan, entered a guilty plea on conspiracy charges in early 2010. The government accused him of plotting to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States. It was said Zazi bought hydrogen peroxide at a beauty supply store and learned explosives techniques at a Pakistani al-Qaeda training camp.
During Zazi’s trial, the Department of Justice admitted that no operational bomb existed and veteran counterterrorism investigators said that important facts remained unknown, including whether Zazi selected a specific target, date, and recruited others to help.