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NewsNew York

Counterterrorism measures reviewed as tensions rise

A member of the NYPD stands outside of

A member of the NYPD stands outside of One Penn Plaza following a Bi-State Meeting on Regional Security and Preparedness, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. Credit: Charles Eckert

Counterterrorism measures in the region are under review in light of heightened tensions between the United States and terrorist networks aboard, and preliminary findings on preparedness will be ready in 10 days, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday.

"To the extent we have to increase resources, we will. To the extent we have to increase personnel, we will," Cuomo said.

He and Christie addressed reporters after emerging from an hourlong meeting in midtown Manhattan with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and federal, state and local law enforcement and public safety officials.

They cited brutality exhibited by the Islamic State, and President Barack Obama's announcement last week that the United States is leading a coalition to weaken the Islamic State through airstrikes and support for the Syrian opposition as an impetus for the bi-state review.

Johnson did not describe any imminent threats, but said he believes terrorist groups will continue to try to strike the United States.

"The terrorist threat is more decentralized. In many ways, it is more complex," he said. "There are al-Qaida affiliates who have in the past -- in the recent past -- made attempts to attack the homeland. We have no reason to believe that they have discontinued those efforts."

Cuomo said the international terrorist network is "more sophisticated than it's ever been" and no longer consists of just al-Qaida, but also Hamas, Hezbollah, the Islamic State and al-Shabaab.

"When it comes to terrorism, we have suffered much and we have learned much," he said, citing the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 9/11 attacks as examples. "And we would be in a state of denial if we did not say, with what's going on internationally, that the risk of a threat to us has increased."

New York City has been and remains a top terror target, de Blasio said.

Johnson warned of "the potential for domestic-based attacks" such as the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

The Department of Homeland Security has established relationships with community organizations to "reach individuals here in the homeland who may be tempted to turn toward violence," Johnson said. The agency has also discussed concerns about profiling individuals, he said.

Johnson said he and state and local officials decided last week at the 9/11 anniversary ceremony to hold a counterterrorism meeting. He lauded the "partnerships" in the New York-New Jersey region.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro and city Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito also attended the meeting.

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