Adams holds counterterrorism security meetings

Adams holds counterterrorism security meetings
Mary Altaffer

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Mali, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams last Friday held the first of what he said will be a series of ongoing counterterrorism security meetings.

“New York City continues to be an attractive target to those who want to harm America, and the terror attacks on Paris have made clear that there is a new norm for which we must be prepared,” said Adams, stating that the security meetings is aimed at hardening “the soft targets in our borough.”

He said over 20 entertainment venue owners in the borough met with him last Friday, as well as leadership from the New York City Police Department (NYDP) and New York City Office of Emergency Management “to share best practices and receive access to basic training services.

“While there is currently no credible or specific threat against our borough, local establishments must prepare to expect the unexpected,” Adams said. “Whether big and small, they must factor this potential into their business plans.

“We all need to stay one step ahead of those with ill will against us in this marathon race of good versus evil,” he added. “We will never surrender to fear in Brooklyn and New York City, and we should proceed with life in America’s fourth-largest city confident in and committed to safety.”

The recent attacks in Paris and Beirut and the downing of a Russian airliner in Egypt were the first results of a centrally planned terrorism campaign by a wing of the Islamic State leadership that oversees “external” targets, said the New York Times on Monday, attributing its information to American and European intelligence officials.

The paper states the Islamic State’s overseas operations planning cell offers strategic guidance, training and funding for actions aimed at inflicting the maximum possible civilian casualties, but leaves the task of picking the time, place and manner of the attacks largely to trusted operatives on the ground.

Carrying out attacks far from the Islamic State’s base in Iraq and Syria represents an evolution of the group’s previous model of exhorting followers to take up arms wherever they live — but without significant help from the group, the Times said.

“And it upends the view held by the United States and its allies of the Islamic State as a regional threat, with a new assessment that the group poses a whole new set of risks,” the paper said.

It said one possible motivation of the change in strategy by the Islamic State, also called ISIS or ISIL, is to seize leadership of the global jihad from Al Qaeda — from which the Islamic State broke away in 2013.

The Times said the attack on the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali on Friday was probably carried out by two Qaeda-linked groups, suggesting, as one senior European counterterrorism official put it, “The race is on between ISIS and Al Qaeda to see who can attack the West the best.”

American and European intelligence officials said they based their new assessment of the external operations structure on intercepted communications, the Islamic State’s own propaganda, and other intelligence, according to the Times.