As another round of 9/11 remembrances and tributes fades, New York must remember that the jihadist murderers who see themselves as following in the fanatical footsteps of Al Qaeda want nothing more than to hit us again. Their determination must inspire eternal vigilance in this city — and continued support for a remarkable NYPD counterterrorism apparatus that has protected us with ever greater effectiveness.
Sure, there hasn’t been a successful mass-casualty attack since that darkest of days. Yes, domestic terrorism is also now a serious threat. But Islamic State warriors and all those who take inspiration from their backward vision thirst for more, much more, blood.
In recent months, NYPD officials have detected what they call an unusual amount of fresh ISIS propaganda online targeting city cops and encouraging twisted followers to take aim at New York City. Two posters, one of which showed an active-duty NYPD officer, were emblazoned with the words, “Pigs! You Will Soon Pay for Your Crimes!” They also produced digitally-faked images of threatening messages in subways.
With terrorism organizations looser and harder than ever to diagram, all it takes is a few crazed and equipped people to deliver destruction. The attempts keep coming: Ahmad Khan Rahimi detonated a bomb on a sidewalk in 2016. Akayed Ullah did so in a subway station in 2017. Sayfullo Saipov used a truck to mow people down on a bike path in 2017, killing eight people and injuring 12.
The NYPD’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureaus (led by James Waters and Thomas Galati, respectively, and overseen by John Miller) do most of their work outside of the klieg-light scrutiny that shines on men and women in uniform. Their sophisticated work communicating with informants and probing public forums is often mischaracterized as spying.
We want and need the members of the NYPD on this wall.