News / USA

US Lawmakers Examine Terrorist Threat to Mass Transit Systems

From left: TSA Administrator John Pistole, NYC Police Department Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism Richard Daddario, and Chicago Transit Authority President Richard Rodriguez, testify on Capitol Hill, before the House Homeland Security Committee, M
From left: TSA Administrator John Pistole, NYC Police Department Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism Richard Daddario, and Chicago Transit Authority President Richard Rodriguez, testify on Capitol Hill, before the House Homeland Security Committee, M
Cindy Saine

In the aftermath of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden's killing by U.S. forces, a number of U.S. lawmakers are expressing concern about the possibility of a retaliatory strike by al-Qaida supporters.  The House Homeland Security Committee examined the terrorist threats posed to mass transit systems in big cities across the United States.  

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, a Republican from New York, expressed the anxiety felt by many Americans after the killing of Osama bin Laden that some kind of retaliatory terrorist attacks may be in the works.

"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 kinf. "And to me clearly, if we are talking about potential targets, no one is more of a potential target than our mass transit systems."

After President Obama announced late Sunday that U.S. commandos killed Bin Laden, several major cities such as New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles deployed larger than usual numbers of policemen and security agents at airports, subway and rail stations, and other locations.

Richard Daddario is the Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism with the New York City Police Department.  He agreed that mass transit systems around the world have been targeted many times since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

"Post 9/11 hundreds of acts of terrorism have been directed at transit systems around the world, including in London, Moscow, Madrid and most recently, Minsk," said Daddario. "In New York City, plots have been directed at the PATH[rail system] and subway systems."

Several people at the hearing recalled the plot to detonate homemade bombs in the New York City subway system by Najibullah Zazi.   Zazi was arrested in 2009, has plead guilty to terrorism charges and faces life in prison at his sentencing set for June.  Daddario said that terrorists aim to make people afraid to use public transportation, which makes it difficult for them to go to work,visit friends, attend cultural and sporting events and to in effect, just live a normal life.

John Pistole is the Administrator of the Transportation Security Adminstration, responsible for overseeing transporation safety across the United States.  Asked if there were heightened threats to mass transist sytems since the killing of bin Laden, Pistole said:

"There are no specific threats to mass or rail transit right now, in the U.S.," said Pistole.

But Pistole said there is no reason for public officials or for citizens to be less vigilant or less aware of potential threats.

"The bottom line is, we are concerned today, just as we were yesterday, and will be tomorrow, that terrorists are trying to hurt us, or try to kill us, in any means and mode that they can, and recognizing that transportation is one of those key vulnerabilities," he said.

At a time of debate on dramatic cuts to government spending programs, the police commissioners present at the hearing and most of the lawmakers from both major political parties said it would make no sense to cut any federal funds for security for mass transist systems.  Congressman King said the human and economic costs of a successful terrorist attack would far outweigh any money saved on security for mass transit.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid