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

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs