New York and New Jersey have agreed to coordinate intelligence-gathering and information-sharing as part of a plan to step up security in the wake of terror threats overseas.
The "memorandum of understanding" signed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie comes nine days after the two met in New York with national, state and local law enforcement to map out an improved terror plan in response to ISIS' threats.
Last week, a post on an ISIS message board titled “To the Lone Wolves in America: How to Make a Bomb in Your Kitchen, to Create Scenes of Horror in Tourist Spots and Other Targets” encourages readers to attack sites throughout the country, including Times Square.
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Earlier this week, the extremist group purportedly released a new audio this week that warned Americans "you will not feel secure even in your bedrooms." Officials have said there is no specific threat to the tri-state area, and are intensifying security out of an abundance of precaution.
The bi-state agreement to substantially increase security at transportation hubs and critical infrastructure in the metropolitan area is effective immediately. Over the next 100 days, law enforcement and military personnel will join forces within the metropolitan area to engage in counterterrorism operations by increasing visibility, inspections and surveillance on and at trains and train stations, airports, landmarks, and bridges and tunnels, according to the plan.
Specifically, the Port Authority will intensify its oversight of the areas it patrols, including conducting more regular security checks on PATH trains and in the stations, and running K-9 directed patrols twice daily. The National Guard's Joint Task Force presence will more than double to 500 military personnel in the area. New York State Police troopers will be assigned to train platforms and on trains, which authorities said has only been done sporadically in the past and never to the degree called for under the current plan. The MTA will increase uniformed officer presence by up to 50 percent at high volume stations, conduct more frequent bag checks and increase perimeter checks at stations; New Jersey Transit Police will employ similar tactics.
The two states will also participate in a joint emergency exercise in the coming months and continue to evaluate methods for increased intelligence and emergency coordination.
“The New York City area has always been a top target for terrorists wishing to spread hatred and fear, and we would be in a state of denial to say that what is going on internationally has not raised that danger,” Cuomo said.
"We know that our people and assets remain a target in the minds of depraved individuals around the globe, even in the homeland, and we are gravely committed to protecting and defending ourselves against the threat," Christie added.