Essex fells fire dept chief chat
The memorial will be open to public viewing, and ceremonies honoring veterans will take place throughout the week.
At these sessions, held at One Police Plaza, in a room known as the executive command center, Kelly is briefed on overnight developments related to terrorism. “New al-Zawahiri video, went up last night on Al Jazeera. S.” Kelly nodded, studying the report on the mosque deployments. “His report’s worth your browsing.” Morty is Mordecai Dzikansky, a New York City homicide detective, currently stationed near Tel Aviv. Cohen said, “On Chechnya, Commissioner, we got this from Boston.” He handed Kelly a document, saying something I couldn’t decipher about Russian investors. “The department sent Kelly to clean it up,” Joe Calderone, who covered the story for New York , told me. Enright and Salzone work for Cohen on Operation Nexus, the program that tracks terror-sensitive businesses. It might be a beheading, or training materials, or proof that someone actually did something.” Aly, the Egyptian-born sergeant, shook his head. The cybercops told me that each of them belonged to more than thirty separate e-mail groups, or chat rooms. Sheehan told the 9/11 Commission that he felt he was regarded as “a one-note Johnny nutcase.” Richard Clarke, the N. C.’s coördinator for counterterrrorism, in his book “Against All Enemies,” describes Sheehan’s fury after one White House meeting, in 2000: “ ‘What’s it going to take, Dick? His conversation is full of “bomb curtains” (an Israeli invention, made of Kevlar—all vulnerable commercial windows should have them) and “clamshell” road barriers (also known as Delta barriers, a design refined by the N. It was Sheehan who, in a letter to the Port Authority last year, raised the N. The standoff was inadequate, Sheehan said, and there was too much glass near the ground. attack, and that has caused the city to revise the traditional approach. Pulaski, a commanding officer in the counterterrorism bureau, gave me an example: “A tanker-truck collision, a spill, it’s an accident anywhere in the country, but not here in New York City. D.’s antiterror grid, it has a slightly “X-Files” feel. D.’s contingency planning now includes the devolution of decision-making, in an emergency, from One Police Plaza to eight borough command posts around the city. “Not only are bioagents hard to detect, they’re hard to put yellow tape around,” she said. “We had sharpshooters, bomb dogs, drug dogs years ago,” Esposito went on. “I’m even going to be a police captain for a couple of hours later this month, just to see how the precinct works.” On the other hand, in Sunset Park, where Rimawi is on the board of an Islamic school, relations with the precinct are not so warm. Suspects under arrest are routinely asked whether they are citizens, and their answers are sometimes turned over to federal authorities. After 9/11, we have more.” Hardening the target: that’s the term of art for the overarching goal of local counterterror work.
“I put Hercules out on three Shiite mosques for the day.” Hercules is a set of police antiterror teams. Dzikansky told me, when we met, that he’d been on the scene of thirteen suicide bombings in Israel, and that he learns something every time. He was in Istanbul within hours of the bombings of the city’s synagogues in November of 2003. (Document fraud is permanently high on the antiterror worry list.) “Two hundred arrests so far. We flipped some people, but it’s very labor intensive. “We arrested a lot of people.” Kelly went to law school at night, and got a master’s in public administration from the Kennedy School, at Harvard. officers who have been to Iraq with the National Guard or with the Reserves are debriefed upon their return. “I have to assume it’s going to come out bad,” he said. in 1994, and was issuing parking tickets when the counterterrorism bureau found him, in 2002. D.’s cyberintelligence specialists: a detective and a sergeant, both born and reared in Egypt, and a detective born and reared in Iran. “You know you passed the test when suddenly somebody gives you a password to a chat room you didn’t know existed.” He went on, “We’re familiar with the tradition, the background, we speak the slang.” “Also, we’re cops,” Reza said. Sometimes it’s not what they’re saying, it’s what they’re not saying. He worries about infrastructure protection—roadways, financial systems, the water supply. He was in Somalia in the early nineties, when Al Qaeda trained and supplied local militiamen who attacked American peacekeepers. ’ “ Sheehan says that, even when he was at the State Department, he was often in New York. I., was the head of the local Joint Terrorism Task Force then. As closely as Sheehan watches developments in Yemen and the Philippines, most of his work is profoundly local. It’s in an even more obscure spot than the Coney Island center, and it sees very little telltale traffic in and out. A mannequin representing a victim was rushed past me to a portable outdoor shower, where it was scrubbed with long-handled brushes while an instructor barked suggestions: “More water! cannot order a quarantine, of course, but we can help enforce one. Indeed, it is believed that Issa al-Hindi’s reconnaissance team used the tour to case its target. Our people have trained with the Police Department, the Fire Department, on C. The official said, “Now, guess who the Feds are.” I saw two young white men in dark suits standing stiffly against a wall, failing utterly to blend into the scene. In 2003, Al-Farooq was implicated in a case in which the Justice Department accused a Yemeni sheikh of funnelling twenty million dollars to Al Qaeda. In the end, the sheikh was convicted of providing material support to Hamas, not Al Qaeda, and no mosque officials were charged. Zein Rimawi, a Palestinian who helps run the Islamic Society of Bay Ridge, in Brooklyn, and who was also at the pre-Ramadan conference, is loudly critical of some police operations, including the Herald Square subway bombing plot, which he considers entrapment. He also said, however, that relations between local Muslims and the police vary from precinct to precinct, and that in his precinct, the Sixty-eighth, things could not be better. D.’s relations with the city’s Muslim communities today are a challenge comparable to its dealings with the black community in the past. “There was no history of real or perceived abuse,” he said.
also has officers based, these strange days, in Singapore, Britain, Canada, and France.) He went to Russia to learn what he could from the school massacre at Beslan, in September, 2004. Two big brick boulders.” “Le Cirque’s a little above my pay grade,” Sheehan said. The police, along with the Fire Department and other agencies, would simulate a jet crash in the water off the end of a runway at La Guardia, with the cause of the crash unknown. “Following people, jumping in cabs, keeping radios in whiskey bags,” he said. We go into the worst chat rooms.” “We’re always being tested,” Maged, the detective from Egypt, said. We got investigative backgrounds, looking for bad guys on the street. And yet there is not much about his job that resembles traditional police work. He supervises constant, intensive training—his bureau trains city, state, federal, and regional instructors, and also key corporate security divisions. Sheehan, like Cohen, has been thinking hard about Al Qaeda for a long time. ‘Does Al Qaeda have to attack the Pentagon to get their attention? in 2001, became security director of the World Trade Center, and a few weeks later was killed in the terror attacks. When things went to hell in Egypt in 1990, it showed up here.” Among other things, he was referring to the fact that Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the leader of the foiled 1993 “landmarks” bomb plot against major New York buildings and tunnels, came to the United States in 1990, having escaped a brutal crackdown on Islamists. Charles Kammerdener, the commanding officer of the special-operations division, met me in his office. “In the old days, it was basically a perp in a building in a tactical situation,” he said. I have a helicopter up with a video downlink and snipers.” Outside the old airbase headquarters, there were subway cars parked in the scrub, swarming with guys in huge blue hooded suits—a simulated chemical attack. response, and some “have all the equipment—they can enter the hot zone.” He added, “We’ll work with the chief medical examiner, going through the bodies, in case they’re suicide perps.” John Colgan, a deputy chief in the counterterrorism bureau, said, “We’ve got a seventeen-page protocol on C. I went to talk to James Esposito, the New York Stock Exchange’s senior vice-president for security. It’s like a bad dream, and it won’t go away.” “ ‘Groundhog Day,’ “ said his deputy, Sam Cocozza, who is ex-N. There are cops everywhere you look, including a full N. There are still plenty of tourists milling around, although the top attraction in the area, the Stock Exchange tour, has been shut down since September 11th. Without frightening the public, they’ve just been quietly going about their business. We were on our way to one of the “undisclosed locations” of the metropolitan antiterror effort. That’s partly the cost of living, and partly the ferocious competition with the N. Sheikh Rahman preached at Al-Farooq in the early nineteen-nineties, and until 1994, according to the , the mosque openly raised money for Osama bin Laden. He has been a chaplain at a jail on Rikers Island for fifteen years, and he said that his advice to younger Muslims concerning the police is “Don’t ever take the officer as your enemy.” He also said that Al Farooq’s relations with the local precinct—the Eighty-fourth—were “very sweet.” But then he made the disconcerting observation that he himself was still not sure who the September 11th hijackers were, or even if they were Muslim. I., which he believes targets for harassment Muslim community leaders who decline to become informants. What they used to suffer, we are suffering now,” he told me. The relationship with black New Yorkers went back, he said, “many, many years.” The Police Department’s relations with Muslims, Kelly said, weren’t even an issue before September 11th.
(The ground rules of my presence precluded questions.) News broadcasts from stations around the globe, including Al Jazeera, were playing silently on monitors in the room, along with live videocasts of traffic on New York’s streets and highways. Kelly hired him in 2002 to revamp the Police Department’s intelligence division. “I’ll never forget when he arrived at the precinct. They were deported ten days later.” He rubbed his eyes. “It’s impossible to calculate, and I don’t spend much time thinking about it. Nexus squads visit about two hundred business concerns a week. “It can take a long time to work your way up the ladder,” Maged said. We’re just trying to understand, so as to increase protection here.” After learning that the Madrid train bombers parked their van a few blocks from the station, and carried their bombs by hand to the trains, the department ordered that the security perimeter around subway and commuter-train stations in New York be expanded by two blocks. learns from London’s tragedy will flow from the investigation now under way. Kelly backed Sheehan, Mayor Bloomberg backed Kelly, and the plans for the site were eventually redrawn. In other American cities, fire departments still have the command role in hazmat incidents. Our intel shows that Al Qaeda’s instructions to its people are ‘Get your hazmat license, get your tanker-truck license, and we will use them as weapons.’ So any tanker spill here is presumed to be criminal in nature, and it’s investigated as such until proved otherwise. Because if the scene is just cleaned up as fast as possible, we may miss the evidence of a terror crime in progress. Even if he’s killed, we want to go through his pocket litter, find out who he’s meeting. There’s no sign on the building; if you don’t know where to look, you probably won’t find it. This system got an unplanned tryout during the big summer power failure in 2003. I visited a facility known as the “shadow command center,” which will replace N. “They’re not like other crime scenes.” Recently, she told me, “a number of us have been studying the issue of quarantine—what can be done, legally, in the United States. Donna Lieberman, of the New York Civil Liberties Union, told me that she sees “lots of room for improvement” in the N. It can help to know what’s happening thousands of miles away, but a densely layered system of municipal defense is a terrorism deterrent of a special type. There are obvious limits to what local cops can prevent.
A big precinct map of the city hung on the wall next to an illuminated map of the world. There is no other program in the country even slightly like it now. A couple of us were there, and here comes this guy down the block. He carried an attaché case, not a hair or anything even slightly out of place. You could tell they’d sent in the A team.” Kelly is a strange kind of tough guy, though. I’ve gotta be thinking about the next thing.” Behind Cohen’s desk stood a bin of large rolled maps of New York’s neighborhoods, with handwritten tags attached: “Significant Concentrations of Pakistanis,” “Significant Concentrations of Palestinians.” A map of Iraq was pinned to the brick wall above the bin. Since the program was launched, in 2002, they’ve been to more than twenty thousand. “At first, it might be just some guy in Texas talking with some guy from Saudi, anti-government shit. But it takes a lot of time—months, maybe years—to get this kind of trust.” I asked the cybercops how they communicated with other security services. A.” “Or I call Kelly, depending what it is,” Cohen said. D.’s man in Scotland Yard, was on the Tube, on his way to work, when the London bombs went off. D.’s response was similar on the day of the Madrid train bombings, last year. The revelation that a small businessman saw the Madrid terrorists’ preparations but figured that it was just a petty crime in progress and didn’t bother calling the cops was seen as a reason to redouble Nexus, so that no New York shop owner will ever be that blasé. once darkly observed, after a botched attempt to assassinate Margaret Thatcher, “We only have to be lucky once; you will have to be lucky always.” Subway systems, moreover, are hugely vulnerable. In the subways, more closed-circuit cameras and more—not fewer—station attendants would seem to be indicated. On the day of the London blasts, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the Brooklyn Battery and Queens Midtown tunnels, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, disconnected cell-phone service in the tunnels, calling it a counterterror measure. The quoted a Port Authority official as saying that the N. Sheehan stared ruefully at the papers on his desk, and pushed away the remains of a takeout lunch. “They’re both aggressive organizations, and that’s fine,” he said. But New York City is at an exceptionally high risk for a C. We want to prevent the next incident.” Much of the counterterrorism bureau’s work is done at a facility in an obscure warehouse district in Coney Island. Pass through the solidly built, monitored, and remote-controlled door, however, and you’re in a bustling, gleaming, windowless, oddly cosmopolitan world. We’ve got a lot of Catholics in this department.” (I had already noted, in a restroom at the facility, a well-thumbed copy of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Islam.”) O’Rourke said, “We’re trying to get our analysis influenced with the proper cultural perspective, because we’re a long way from southwest Asia. As Sheehan told a symposium of terrorism experts at One Police Plaza last year, “I don’t know what I can do about somebody bringing a nuclear bomb through the Port of Newark. You can drive yourself crazy thinking about that.” The attack plans for September 11th did not originate or mature locally, and nothing about them would necessarily have appeared on the radar of even today’s extended, hypersensitive, metropolitan terror-detection system. Other law-enforcement or national-security agencies might have caught and stopped them, but that was the point—that is exactly why New York has stepped up its defenses.