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Cuomo orders heightened counterterrorism steps

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday he has ordered a "greatly increased" National Guard deployment to protect transportation sites as part of an "across-the-board" boost in security measures amid a rising global terrorism threat.

Speaking at his midtown Manhattan office, Cuomo said New York would spend tens of millions of dollars more in the "short term" to deploy "a coordinated increase in security and law enforcement personnel," because "this city and this state are at the top of most target lists."

There were no specific, credible threats against the state or the city, he said.

Penn Station, other Long Island Rail Road stations and the city's major airports are among sites that will see increased and more visible security by the Guard, MTA police, State Police, Port Authority Police and other agencies. The heightened measures are expected to last for several months at least, Cuomo said.

"This is the new normal," the governor told reporters. "This is something we have to live with in New York."

Cuomo said there would be additional call-ups of National Guard and Air National Guard members but did not provide figures.

Cuomo said he and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have been working on a joint plan to protect the metropolitan area since President Barack Obama's announcement of an expanded air war against Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria. The bistate plan will be announced Monday, he said.

"New York is a possible target of a terrorist attack, either in retaliation for actions this country may be taking or as an offensive gesture," Cuomo said. "Our responsibility is to make sure we're doing everything that is prudent to be ready, to be prepared and to anticipate."

This week U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warned that the Islamic State wants to attack the United States. Officials also warned of continuing threats from al-Qaida and other terror groups.

Intelligence and counterterrorism experts have been seeking to find and monitor New Yorkers and others from the United States who may be fighting alongside jihadis.

Cuomo said some of the ramped-up security efforts are already in place, including police dogs doing bag checks at hubs managed by the Port Authority, increasing patrols of the World Trade Center site and bridges and tunnels, and more cops monitoring airports.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is spending more for police overtime, the governor's office said.

Cuomo made yesterday's announcement flanked by leaders of the State Legislature, who said they were in agreement with the governor's decision to boost security spending.

"Fighting terrorism is a dangerous duty overseas, and it's a dangerous duty at home," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan).

An NYPD spokesman said the city appreciates any security resources the governor deploys.

Separately, Long Island MacArthur Airport Commissioner Robert Schaefer said security there was enhanced recently for the Sept. 11 anniversary, but the airport hasn't gotten other directives involving the National Guard or the governor's office.

Cuomo warned New Yorkers to expect a perpetual threat.

"Do I think it will ever go away?" Cuomo said. "No, I don't think it will ever go away."

With Anthony M. DeStefano and Sophia Chang

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