Transcript: Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton Provide Update on Counterterrorism Measures in Times Square

November 18, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio: As you know, a video was released earlier today by ISIS, portraying scenes of New York City, portraying scenes of Times Square, where we are now, and Herald Square, in an obvious attempt to intimidate the people of New York City. 

I’m here this evening with Commissioner Bratton and other leaders of our police department and the men and women of our department who patrol Times Square to make very, very clear that the people of New York City will not be intimidated. We understand it is the goal of terrorists to intimidate and disrupt our democratic society. We will not submit to their wishes. 

The people of New York City, as you can see, right now, are going about their business, even at this late hour. I want to encourage all New Yorkers to continue to go about their business normally. 

It’s important to note that there is no credible and specific threat against New York City. NYPD has been working very, very closely with the FBI and our other federal partners – and I, again, repeat, there is no specific and credible threat against New York City. 

So it’s crucial that people go about their normal business, recognizing the NYPD is providing extraordinary protection to the people of this city – 35,000 members strong. And just in this last week, we’ve initiated the first wave of our new Critical Response Command, which will grow to 500-plus officers, specifically dedicated to anti-terrorism activities. These officers, who have been assigned in the last months, will be specifically trained, equipped and armed to handle any terrorist threat. It will be part of our overall efforts at the NYPD to prevent terrorism in coordination with our federal partners. 

So the people of New York City can rest assured that extraordinary efforts are being made every single day to keep them safe. 

This is the finest police force in this nation. For 14 years since 9/11, this police force has consistently protected this city against terrorist threats – and it will continue to do so. 

I want to say one other thing before I turn to Commissioner Bratton. We remind all New Yorkers that we can depend on the NYPD. And at the same time, every resident of this city can help the NYPD. We have a phrase “if you see something, say something” – that phrase is very meaningful. If you see something you think is suspicious – a package left unattended – or if you hear information that you believe the NYPD should have, please immediately call 9-1-1 or alert a police officer. That kind of information, those leads can be very, very helpful to the NYPD and help them do the good work they do. 

With that, I’m proud to introduce our commissioner, Bill Bratton. 

Commissioner William Bratton, NYPD: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. 

Echoing the mayor’s comments that there is, as we have repeated frequently, no city in America that is better prepared to defend and protect against a terrorist attack. We work tirelessly to ensure that, continuously upgrading our capabilities and our systems. 

The events of today that have raised concern – being quite frank with you, there is nothing new about that video. New York obviously remains one of the top terrorist targets in the world. That video, our review of it – it looks like it has been hastily produced. It is a mishmash of previously released video. We believe it’s a compilation of videos going back to one in August that was directed against Germany, one in October directed against Israel, and 19 seconds of about a five-and-a-half minute video released today had scenes of New York. 

In New York, we understand that we are a terrorist target. It reflects the importance of this city. Understanding that, this city places great importance on the safety of New Yorkers and the almost-60-million visitors who will come to this city. 

As we move into this time of year of great celebration and great activity in New York – the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the lighting of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, the holiday celebrations that will bring millions into this city – people can feel comfortable coming into this city, enjoying themselves. Celebrate, be aware, but do not be afraid. 

The NYPD will protect you. The NYPD, working in close, close cooperation with the FBI and our other government colleagues, and with the great, great assistance of the residents of this great city – that we will keep us safe. 

We cannot be intimidated – and that’s what terrorists seek to do. They seek to create fear. They seek to intimidate. We will not be intimidated and we will not live in fear. 

Mayor: Thank you. Thanks, everyone. 

Commissioner Bratton: Thank you.

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