Police Counterterror Official Touts Importance of Local Role
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Cities across the country should adopt the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism strategies because the federal government can’t protect them, the police department’s top counterterrorism official said yesterday.
“The Founding Fathers did not design our system of government to maximize the operational efficiency of the security agencies,” the deputy commissioner of counterterrorism, Richard Falkenrath, said. “The federal government cannot provide the security the American people need in their hometowns.”
Mr. Falkenrath, a former deputy Homeland Security adviser who has held counterterrorism positions in the federal government and academia, said America still has many unprotected targets and the NYPD is leading the effort among municipalities to mitigate the threat of terrorist threats at home.
“It’s incredibly hard to do that, and it’s sort of thankless because you are out there imposing costs on people that are trying to go about their lives, make money, and working the economy for a rather abstract goal, which is to prevent fewer extremely high payoff targets,” he said. “You are reminded of it every day about some new target that is vulnerable.”
The Mumbai train attacks in July highlighted the benefit of the NYPD counterterrorism system, he said. A police detective stationed in Singapore immediately flew to the Indian city and filed a brief to police headquarters in Manhattan.
The brief was “more detailed and interesting than any post-attack brief I ever got in the White House,” Mr. Falkenrath said. “This was unfiltered, straight from the city of Mumbai.”
The police have detectives stationed in nine countries, including Israel and Australia.
Mr. Falkenrath was appointed last month after Michael Sheehan left the position to begin work on a book. Mr. Sheehan also took positions at New York University School of Law