- The new report comes after Gov. Hochul redirected $2.5 million to bolster investigations into possible terror activity
New York Governor Kathy Hochul is beefing up security in the Big Apple following an intelligence report there is an increased chance of a terrorist attack in the wake of Hamas‘ brutal assault on Israel on October 7.
The assessment, which was written by the New York State Intelligence Center, was first reported by CBS News.
The report found that due to the increased violence in Israel with the bombardment of Gaza, there has been an increase in ‘chatter’ about possible terrorism targets in the Big Apple.
‘I am working hard at the state level with the control I have. I’ll be talking about this tomorrow, about exactly what we’re doing, and how many online threats we’ve uncovered, how many have been investigated, what the outcome is,’ Hochul was quoted as saying of possible new threats.
The governor also spoke about her administration looking into ways to counter online radicalization.
The intelligence center’s report found that hate crimes against Jewish people, Muslim people and Arabs are being fueled by online rhetoric.
‘The expansion of Israeli operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and increase in civilian casualties raises the likelihood that violent extremist threat actors will seek to conduct attacks against targets in the West, with New York State being a focus.’
Terrorist messaging has placed focus on attacking ‘soft targets’ such as protests, group gatherings, and other public events,’ the report read in part.
‘Our most immediate concern is that violent extremists, individuals or small groups, will draw inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks against Americans going about their daily lives,’ FBI Director Christopher Wray said last week.
‘That includes not just homegrown violent extremists, inspired by a foreign terrorist organization, but also domestic violent extremists targeting Jewish or Muslim communities,’ he added.
In the past week, Hochul has redirected $2.5 million in funds to bolster the FBI Joint Terrorism Force across New York with State Police investigators.
Eight investigators will be placed in New York City JTTF office and one investigator to their Albany and Rochester offices. The governor’s office said there were about 30 state law enforcement officials working with the task force before the additional investigators were added, The New York Daily News reported.
‘It’s painful to me as the governor of this great state that has been known for its diversity and how we celebrate different cultures, different religions, different viewpoints.
‘It is painful to see the cruelty with which New Yorkers are treating each other everywhere from college campuses to our streets to schools to playgrounds even as they’re entering their houses of worship,’ Hochul said last week.
The governor spoke about the recent incidents that have taken place including the mob of hundreds that stormed Grand Central Terminal on Friday calling for a cease-fire in Gaza that saw more than 300 arrests.
As the busiest travel day of the year, Thanksgiving, approaches, governor said law enforcement will be present to ensure commuters can go about their ‘lives freely and without disruption.’
‘The day that Hamas attacked Israel October 7 and the rise in hate crime began instantaneously. I immediately deployed the state police to be on high alert to protect vulnerable assets,’ the governor said.
These vulnerable assets also include the city’s synagogues and yeshivas and mosques, and any other place that could be susceptible to hate crimes or violence.
The governor’s office said they have also been in contact with the US Department of Homeland Security to share information regarding potential threats.
During her address, she announced a significant increase in funding for their efforts that includes a total of $75 million – $50 million will go towards local law enforcement and $25 million in security grants.
She expressed her gratitude to state and local law enforcement officials protecting civilians during this unprecedented time.
‘State police have been out there have been embedded with local law enforcement. I have seen it with my own eyes.’
She continued: ‘I visit different places of worship and whether it’s here in New York City, it’s happening and I am grateful for their efforts.’
While last month, Hochul announced a review of the perceived anti-Semitic activities on campuses at the City University of New York.
The schools have long been a hotbed of student activism in support of Palestinian human rights, and against Israeli policies regarding Gaza and the occupied West Bank.
Some activists voiced concern that the review could chill legitimate free speech rights and make people hesitant to express political opinions.
‘I’m worried this is just another smokescreen to silence or undermine pro-Palestine activism during a time when it’s needed the most,’ said Nerdeen Kiswani, a former leader of the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine.
Hochul said the investigation will include an assessment of antisemitism on the system’s campuses, how the schools investigate antisemitism and discrimination complaints, and will make recommendations on how to honor free speech rights while protecting people from discrimination and antisemitism.