Protecting New York City on New Year's EveBy Hal BrownUpdate: Thankfully there was only one violent incident on New Years Eve in Times Square. Story here.
Pictured: NYC Police flag with DOJ seal added
...it hit me that had the Capitol been protected the same way Times Square is protected on New Year's Eve I doubt the insurrectionists would have been able to invade the building.
I have no doubt that there are many people out there, some who may have been in the mob on January 6 and some who would have liked to have been there who have thoughts about doing something violent to express their outrage that the coup failed.
We know that two MAGA men planned to attack the Knoxville, TN FBI office but were arrested before they could follow through. One of the men was the fourth rioter to enter the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
There is no certification of an election to try to thwart on New Year's Eve. There is only an opportunity for would-be MAGA terrorists to make a huge statement to show to the nation on a night of celebration their outrage that, as they believe, the election was stolen and that Biden is president rather than Donald Trump.
There is an enormous law enforcement challenge about how to prevent violence during the country's most watched New Year's Eve celebration.
Not only does law enforcement have to protect Times Square but I have no doubt that they are well-aware that would-be terrorists know that with the concentration of law enforcement in a several block area there are violent extremists who might think of buildings to target that they believe would be more vulnerable and have real or symbolic meaning to these people.
I am confident that for months the task force threat assessment team has been closely monitoring the activity of would-be terrorists. I am also confident that they are doing a better job than those who should have known that there would be a violent insurrection on January 6th.
I also don't take as gospel the assurance, or reassurance, coming from NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell because any so-called credible threats, if they exist, might still be under investigation. I believe that this team, as opposed to those assessing the threat of violence preceding January 6th, have a broader and more realistic definition of what constitutes a credible threat.
There may be people who want to try to do something destructive to a building that they think represents the criminal justice system in New York which they may rightfully think is Trump's enemy. Some of them may have hinted at this in ways that could have been picked up by law enforcement and then either given up or tried to "go dark" as they actually worked on a serious plan. We can only hope they didn't elude law enforcement.
The New York City Police Counterterrorism Bureau will doubtlessly be working with the federal law enforcement anti-terror team which was augmented after J6. Here's Attorney General Merrick B. Garland's Domestic Terrorism Policy Address which describes the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.
Making the New Year's Eve challenge even more difficult, as if it isn't arduous enough, is that routine policing has to go on with the added burden of protecting businesses from opportunistic burglars who may think stores elsewhere in the city won't be as protected as they'd be on a typical night.
Recent blog posts: