today before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental
Affairs, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (pictured) said he wanted to take out that "formidable capacity to adjust tactics while attacks are underway."
also discussed the complications of media coverage that could disclose
law enforcement tactics in real time. This phenomenon is not new. In
the past, police were able to defeat any advantage it might give
hostage takers by cutting off power to the location they were in.
However, the proliferation of handheld devices would appear to trump
that solution. When lives are at stake, law enforcement needs to find
ways to disrupt cell phones and other communications in a pinpointed
way against terrorists who are using them.
now, Kelly said, the NYPD is taking a whole range of measures to stop
another Mumbai-style spree — from working with private businesses to
interdicting boats to training recruits in heavy weapons to installing a spycam network across downtown Manhattan.
But Charles Allen, the Department of Homeland Security’s top intelligence official, confessed to the Senate panel that "response to a similar terrorist attack in a major U.S. urban city would be complicated and difficult."
chaos the attacks created magnified the difficulty of mounting an
appropriate response. First responders, in order to deal with such a
crisis, must first and foremost have adequate information on what is
occurring as well as the capability to mount a rapid and effective
response that minimizes the impact of the attack. In Mumbai it was not
immediately clear to authorities whether there were multiple attack
groups or a single group. The attackers were able to exploit the
initial confusion because of the indiscriminate firings to move on to
new targets. While preparedness training for this type of attack may
not have prevented it, the effects likely could have been mitigated and
reduced if authorities had been prepared and had exercised responses to
terrorist attacks across all levels of government. Within the United
States, our national exercises incorporate not only federal interagency
participants, but also include regional, state, and local authorities,
in order to identify potential gaps in our responses.
[Photo: NY Daily News]