2002-02-27 / Front Page

Vallone Jr. Pledges Aid For Anti-Terrorism Fight

Vallone Jr. Pledges Aid For Anti-Terrorism Fight

by john toscano

City Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. has promised to make every effort to secure the funding for the Police Department’s new counter-terrorism program, which Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly estimated would cost about $700 million when he testified before Public Safety Committee, which Vallone chairs, last week.

Vallone declared, "These ambitious, yet necessary, improvements to the NYPD’s Anti-Terrorism strategy will be costly. But New York City bore the brunt of an attack on the entire nation. Therefore, we will diligently pursue any grants and sources of funding sought by the Commissioner for these initiatives."

Vallone also expressed satisfaction that Kelly by appearing before the committee showed a cooperative attitude.

"Public safety remains our number one priority, and the fact that Commissioner Kelly testified at this hearing along with his top deputies shows that they are willing to cooperate with the City Council and keep the public informed as to their efforts," Vallone stated.

Joining Kelly at the hearing last Thursday were retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Frank Libutti, Deputy Commissioner for Counter-terrorism, and David Cohen, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence. Cohen previously served as Central Intelligence Agency Director of Operations from 1995 to 1997.

Kelly had stated that federal aid, grants and other sources of funding would be required to finance the department’s new counter-terrorism program totalling $100 million. He said the city’s precarious financial situation was one reason why all of these sources of money must be pursued.

Among the uses of the money outlined by Kelly were the purchase of protective equipment or vehicles to detect chemical or biological sabotage or to enhance counter-terrorism training for 40,000 police officers.

Vallone said that in trying to emphasize the importance of the anti-terrorism program, Kelly had stated, "Our goal is to create new mindset among officers, a mindset in which an awareness of terrorism is always foremost."

Kelly also testified that the department had hired McKinsey and Company, a management consulting firm, to assess its response to the September 11 terrorist attack and to help determine what, if any, lessons were to be learned from the attack. Results of the analysis are expected by May or June.

Kelly stated, "Clearly, there were things that were done September 11 that any agency who was there wouldn’t do again."

Besides the September 11 response analysis, Vallone said, Kelly spoke of ensuring a coordinated response between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, the implementation of an Office of Counter-Terrorism, the restructuring of the Office of Intelligence, and a proposed amendment to the United States Patriot Act, requiring greater sharing of information between law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

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