The department of homeland security and the fbi have issued some warnings for new york city. Terrorists may exploit the 9 11 memorial, even though there are no credible threats against the united states. So joining us this morning is former state senator michael balboni, who was in office during 9. 11 was also appointed the first chairman of the senate homeland security committee, so good morning to you, michael, thank you for being here this morning good morning, thanks for having me, so i want to get right to it because, as the chairman of of the homeland security Committee, you werent really in charge of enacting, so many laws and procedures to keep new york safe and then the rest of the country followed those models. How safe do you think we are today because of those very laws? So i think the new york city police department is probably the finest police department um in the western world, and we have invested so much in terms of training, equipment, intelligence and matter of fact, one of the things that the people perhaps dont appreciate is that the Counterterrorism tactics have also been utilized to fight crime, in other words, intelligence, intelligence, led policing, going to finding out who has guns and and has a spillover effect, a positive spill or effect into finding the folks who are committing crime in terms of the terrorist threat. Since 9 11 weve, this city has seen 51 terror actions or plots and um out of those.
Most of them were ideologically driven 34 of them, but what were seeing going forward, unfortunately, is a diversification of the hate that were seeing. Attacks against immigrants, weve seen racially motivated attacks, and so whats happening now is that the nypd and the federal agencies have to pivot. To take a look into this, but the big question is what is the state of the cat of terrorism from the world perspective right and, and i think that gets to how the terror threats have been evolving, especially moving now to cyber attacks. We saw that, with the colonial pipeline, weve seen a lot of companies that have been attacked. How is it that our law enforcement agencies are pivoting to protect against those types of threats, so the cyber security has been basically put into uh um, an industry, in other words its uh with the energy sector or its with the food sector? Now its what youre? Having is – and this is what president biden has talked about is youve got to now have a more collective defense. Youve got to share intelligence as to the cyber threats that occur more effectively across all sectors, and what hes also started talking about is something that no presidents ever done before. Hes actually talked about a specific strategy and how you protect networks. But this is also coming down to the local law enforcement agencies that you know, typically its always been about the fbi and the secret service.
But now its coming down to places like the nypd and surrounding police departments that have to also pay attention to the cyber threat. So so, michael, let me ask you this because um the nypd came out yesterday, i said new york is at a as a bit of a heightened alert as we approach the 20th anniversary. No, no credible threats to new york city right, but new york city is always a threat. Weve seen terror attacks. Three years ago we remember eight people killed um when a suspect rammed a truck into a bike path. Steps from the 911 memorial. When you look at whats happening overseas in afghanistan, suicide bombers in kabul, how does that change? How were looking at preventing things this saturday? So the leaders of al qaeda and isis have been decimated in the in the past couple of years. They really have not had had the ability to get a full uh footing and inspire folks to follow their lead yeah. Unfortunately, the fall of kabul uh inspired the the attack you had on the population there at the airport, and this is a shot in the arm to the remnants of the isis and um al qaeda effort. And so what we worry about is that this information thats out there in the world wide web, did you take it, and now it inspires. Somebody whos sitting here saying that i still want to carry on this fight and thats, really where the heightened threat is another 911 style attack.
Nobody in the intelligence community believes that thats possible right now. However, nobody can say it cant happen, and so it means constant vigilance, which has been everything that the police departments in new york and major cities have done throughout the united states and michael. I know we look back at the dangers that we have faced here in new york city, but were also very forward facing the pandemic, forced all of us to rely a lot more on our devices, and we get a lot of those emergency notifications there. How is that actually making us vulnerable as a population so yeah its the manipulation of information? Thats? Really one of the big big concerns you know, as we saw in the colonial pipeline attack, you had a the ability of malware to come in and basically ransom off. The ability to operate a network well that could possibly happen in information networks as well and and thats. Why? You know part of the challenge that everybody has is figuring out how to close the exploits that are out there, but the attackers are constantly evolving their attacks. So its never a destination of security, its just a journey, it keeps evolving over time, but you really have to apply resources and strategies towards understood uh, michael balboni. I appreciate your voice and explanations this morning appreciate you joining us.