Mayoral front-runner Christine Quinn refused to criticize President Obama over reports that the federal government has engaged in widespread monitoring of Americans’ Internet activity and telephone calls–arguing that surveillance is crucial to the city’s safety.
Letters containing a substance that tested positive for ricin have been sent to both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the head of his gun control advocacy organization, the New York Police Department announced this evening.
“Anonymous threats to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in letters opened in New York City on Friday and by the director of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns in Washington, DC on Sunday contained material that when tested locally, preliminarily indicated the presence of ricin,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told Politicker in a statement.
As President Barack Obama’s opponents pile on in the aftermath of multiple recent controversies–notably his reaction to the Benghazi attacks, revelations that the Internal Revenue Service focused on conservative-aligned nonprofits and the Justice Department’s unprecedented snooping on press communications–one local congressman wants it to be known that he is also not pleased.
To wit, Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and southern Brooklyn, released a lengthy statement this afternoon blasting Mr. Obama for “bringing Chicago-style politics to the White House.” This style of underhanded rule, Mr. Grimm said, has resulted in a presidency that is “the most secretive, deceptive, and divisive we’ve seen in modern times.”
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who led the city through 9/11, accused some in Washington of being in “denial” about the risks posed by terrorism and said that Democrats too preoccupied with “liberal ideas” are putting public safety at risk.
Speaking at a fund-raiser for Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota last night, Mr. Giuliani, who made an unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2008, said that New York City remains a target, and that government must be ever-vigilant to stave off the next attack.
During his press conference announcing that Boston Marathon bombers intended to target Times Square, Mayor Michael Bloomberg slamed “special interests” he accused of trying to block the city from installing crime-fighting surveillance cameras.
“The role that surveillance cameras played in identifying the suspects was absolutely essential to saving lives, both in Boston, and now we know here in New York City as well,” Mr. Bloomberg told reporters at City Hall.
“We’ve made major investments in camera technology–not withstanding the objections of some special interests,” he continued. “And the attacks in Boston, I think, demonstrate just how valuable those cameras can be.”
Law & Order
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the country’s interpretation of the Constitution will “have to change” to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.
“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex world where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
King of the Hill
With the news that two of the suspected terrorists from last Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing have roots in the Russia’s Muslim-dominated Chechnyan region, Long Island Congressman Pete King says the United States “can’t afford to be politically correct” with its immigration policies anymore.
“I do believe that whether it’s Chechnya or whether it’s really any countries from areas where there is fighting going on–particularly terrorist fighting–that we have to be extra careful, extra scrupulous,” Mr. King argued during a PIX 11 interview earlier this afternoon. “That would include, to me, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Somalia [and] obviously …. somebody of a Chechnyan background. All of that, to me, we can’t afford to be politically correct and say that somebody coming from a country where there’s a Muslim war going on is the same as somebody … from Switzerland, for instance. There’s a difference.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have canceled his morning radio appearance today in response to the ongoing manhunt for a suspect involved in Monday’s deadly bombing attack on the Boston Marathon, but another top New York official, Governor Andrew Cuomo, scheduled his own radio interview on The Capitol Pressroom soon after. Mr. Cuomo directly addressed the high-profile situation in the Bay State by employing a phrase he previously used to describe climate change in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy: “the new normal.”
“It’s a terrible situation in Boston. And, unfortunately, … one gets the sense that this is more reflective of the ‘new normal,’ if you will,” he explained. “So much of society is changing so rapidly. We talk about a ‘new normal’ when it comes t0 climate change and adjusting to a change in the weather patterns. ‘New normal’ when it comes to public security in a post-9/11 world. Where these random acts of violence, which at one time were implausible, now seem all-too-frequent.”
This afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gave a press briefing to update the public on the city’s security efforts in the wake of yesterday’s deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon. And, while stating there are no specific threats connected to the Boston incident, Mr. Bloomberg ominously warned about “special interests” shaping the city’s security policies in a way “that the terrorists are waiting for.”
“The N.Y.P.D … has helped deter and thwart numerous terrorist attacks on our city in the past,” Mr. Bloomberg explained. “But we must remain vigilant for the future. And we are vigilant. The fact is there remain people who want to attack us. The moment we let our guard down, the moment we get complacent, the moment we allow special interests to shape our security strategies is the moment that the terrorists are waiting for.”
President Barack Obama may have been reluctant to use the term “terrorism” to describe yesterday’s deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon, but Long Island Rep. Pete King, who up until recently was Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, thinks there’s no doubt.
“Clearly, this was a terrorist attack,” Mr. King said on Morning Joe today. “You had the multiple explosions. You had someone who was able to penetrate security. Amateurs don’t do that, so this was well-planned and coordinated. It was a terrorist attack. It’s a question of who did it, … it’s too early to say. Obviously we have to consider whether it was Islamic jihad. It could also be white supremacist, it could be anti-government people.”