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Expressing Support For Prompt Response To Attempted Terrorist Attack In Times Square

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 1320, a resolution which commends the vigilance of the many individuals, first responders, law enforcement, and homeland security personnel for helping prevent what could have been a very deadly terrorist attack in Times Square last weekend and bring into custody the person who has admitted responsibility for this failed attack. I am pleased to be an original cosponsor of this resolution.

When Faisal Shahzad drove his bomb-laden SUV into Times Square on the evening of Saturday, May 1, 2010, New York City and all America were once again reminded of the thin line between security and tragedy.

This attack was just the most recent of 11 attempts since September 11, 2001, to visit terror on New York City. I cannot say enough about the efforts of the New York Police Department, its local partners, and the Federal agencies, particularly the FBI, that have worked to prevent these incidents and keep the City safe.

The resolution highlights how two vigilant citizens, Mr. Lance Orton and Mr. Duane Jackson, saw something and said something to an alert NYPD officer, Wayne Rhatigan, who secured the scene and the safety of those who were at what has been called the ``Crossroads of the World.''

We are also indebted to the New York Police Department and its Bomb Squad, the Fire Department of New York, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other homeland security and law enforcement personnel for helping to foil this attack and capture the guilty terrorist.

Unfortunately, even after these 11 wake-up calls, not everyone recognizes that New York City is the nation's top terror target and that we must do everything possible to ensure the safety and security of New Yorkers and those visiting this great City. New York simply cannot be expected to prevent terrorist attacks alone. Protecting New York City is not a local issue. It is a national issue; a national security issue.

What if the bomb that Faisal Shahzad parked in Times Square had detonated, and included radiological or nuclear material? How many lives would have been lost? How long would it have taken for New York's economy--and the nation's economy--to recover?

One of the best ways to stop that nightmare scenario would be to properly fund the Securing the Cities Program, which is the only Federal program of its kind to establish a ring of radiological detectors on bridges, tunnels, and mobile platforms in the region to prevent a radiological or nuclear attack. Unfortunately, the Administration has eliminated funding for this key program, even though in January 2010 the House of Representatives passed my legislation to authorize and fund the program.

New York City Mayor Bloomberg testified in the Senate this morning and stated: ``Since 1990, there have been more than 20 terrorist plots--or actual attacks--against our City. That's why it's so critical for Congress to fully fund homeland security programs like the Securing the Cities--and to take other steps that will help us fight terrorists and make it harder for them to attack us.''

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly stated on Sunday that the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative has yet to be extended to Midtown Manhattan because of the lack of Federal funding. With just $50 million, this ``Ring of Steel'' would give the NYPD a force multiplier throughout Midtown and allow it to expand its reach across the entire city.

The Administration has also proposed eliminating the Coast Guard's Maritime Safety and Security Team in New York City, weakening the City's defenses against a waterborne attack. The Administration has also proposed cutting funding for New York City-area mass transit and port security.

The stark reality is that New York City is the number one target for terrorists. New Yorkers live under constant threat of attack. But the Federal government can minimize those threats by properly funding counterterrorism initiatives based on risk and fund programs in the places they are most needed, like New York City.

Mr. Speaker, I urge our colleagues to support this resolution to show our gratitude to the brave and selfless efforts of the first responders and everyone involved who helped turn into a triumph what could have been a tragedy.


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