ISIS Threat: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Heavily Guarded by New York Police

ISIS Threat: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Heavily Guarded by New York Police

It’s a sign of the times I guess. The NYPD will be out in force today guarding the annual Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade against terrorists and specifically, ISIS. Three million people will attend the festivities and snipers will be on rooftops peering down on them. How comforting. Glad I’m not there. There will be mobile cameras and helicopters galore. There will be SWAT teams and heavily armed officers everywhere. Police dogs will be employed and officers on horseback will be riding alongside the parade. Plainclothes officers will mix with the crowds and radiation detectors are being utilized. Just another day in New York.

A member of the New York Police Department's Strategic Response Group outside Macy's this week as part of security preparations for the Thanksgiving Day parade. Credit Andrew Kelly/Reuters

A member of the New York Police Department’s Strategic Response Group outside Macy’s this week as part of security preparations for the Thanksgiving Day parade. Credit Andrew Kelly/Reuters

From the New York Times:

As an expected three million spectators turn their eyes skyward on Thursday morning, police sharpshooters on rooftops will be peering down for any signs of trouble at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

In addition to Snoopy and SpongeBob floating overhead, there will be mobile cameras and police helicopters, specially trained police dogs sniffing for traces of explosives and officers patrolling on horseback, said James P. O’Neill, the New York Police Department’s chief of department, its highest-ranking uniformed officer.

Observation posts, staffed by officers from the elite Emergency Service Unit, will be watching for suspicious activity; officers will use radiation detectors to seek out evidence of a dirty bomb; and teams of plainclothes officers will mix unobtrusively with revelers spread along the two and a half miles of the Manhattan parade route between 9 a.m. and noon.

“There will be a lot of police presence,” said Chief O’Neill, outlining elements of the department’s security measures at a briefing this week.

“Things the public will see and, of course, things the public will not see,” he said. “All of this will ensure that New York City has a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving, as we do every year.”

As it has for all major public events since the Sept. 11 attacks, the department will have what the chief called a “counterterrorism overlay” to its plans. For the first time, about 200 officers outfitted with heavy body armor and long rifles from the department’s new Critical Response Command, part of its Counterterrorism Bureau, will be on patrol, Chief O’Neill said.

Behind the scenes, the department will be mining its network of global contacts for all the intelligence it can glean.

After the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in France by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the department sent a French-speaking detective to Paris to join the one assigned there full time, said John J. Miller, the department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism. Those officers are working with other New York City detectives in Antwerp, Brussels, London and Madrid, he said, adding that, so far, what the department has learned about the Paris attacks has affirmed its approach to counterterrorism.

“The first thing you see from Paris is these are people who included foreign fighters, who are hardened, trained and experienced,” Mr. Miller said. “They weren’t gathered up by Twitter chats, online, in Paris; they were sent there with a specific task and targets, likely from ISIS command and control, and it was a well-organized plot.”

With a record parade crowd expected, William J. Bratton, the police commissioner, said there would be more officers on duty than in the past. He encouraged people to “come on down” to see the parade, free from the anxieties the Paris attacks have sown, and to pitch in as extra eyes for law enforcement.

“There is no threat being directed against the parade,” Mr. Bratton said.

Joshua Campbell, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, echoed that, saying in an email, “There remains no specific or credible threat to the homeland.”

Putting these times in context, Mr. Bratton recalled growing up in the 1950s, “when the big fear was nuclear annihilation,” but the precautionary exercises proved more ominous.

“I can still remember running into the basement of the school building, picking at the asbestos lining on the pipes,” he said, as members of his command staff chuckled. “Back in those days, probably getting more danger out of the asbestos than the nuclear attack.”

After the attacks in Paris, you can’t blame the authorities and the NYPD for being out in numbers. New Yorkers expect nothing less. They’ll do all they can to protect them from ISIS and their terrorist plans. I pray that nothing goes down there today and that everyone gets to have a safe and fun Thanksgiving. But the police presence is a stark reminder that we live in a different America these days and anything can and does happen at a moment’s notice. Terrorists blend in… they look like you and me. They can be children. Nothing feels safe anymore and death can come from a million directions. There may be no threat directed at the parade, but remember… there was no threat in Paris either. Eight separate attacks occurred at once. 132 died and over 350 were wounded and Paris will never be the same. So pardon Americans if they don’t take the supposed lack of a threat to heart. We all know something is coming. I just hope most of us are prepared for it and that we get the chance to fight back and win when it does.

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at NoisyRoom.net. She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - trevorloudon.com. She also does research at KeyWiki.org. You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.

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