NYPD Photo: As the Federal trial for Najibullah Zazi and suspects who plotted to bomb New York City subway lines in 2009 proceeded, members of the NYPD, Amtrak Police and other state, regional and local law enforcement discussed security along rail lines at NYPD Headquarters Thursday. The Northeast Corridor Coalition was founded by Commissioner Kelly in 2005 following the “7/7” terrorist attacks on mass transit systems in London.
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and members of the Northeast Corridor Coalition met Thursday at One Police Plaza to review security of the railways and major transportation hubs between New York and Washington, D.C.
“Mass transportation systems will continue to be an attractive target for terrorists, but together, I know we can continue to defend this region and its all-important railways,” Commissioner Kelly said. “Terrorists have proven to be resourceful and adaptive. The NYPD carefully studies the tradecraft used in past attacks and takes note of the methods terrorists employ worldwide.”
The Police Commissioner noted the decision by the suspects in the 2009 Najibullah Zazi plot to bomb New York City subway lines, because coordinated suicide attacks on crowded cars would create mass casualties and death with the limited amount of explosives they had.
Of 14 plots targeting New York City since September 11, 2001, five have focused on its subway system or transit hubs:
A plot to disperse hydrogen-cyanide gas in the New York City subway system in early 2003 was aborted by Al Qaeda leadership.
In 2004, an NYPD undercover officer helped to disrupt a plot by lone-wolf admirers of Al Qaeda to bomb the Herald Square subway station.
In 2006, a multi-agency investigation disrupted a plot to attack NYC’s underground transit PATH train link with New Jersey.
Bryant Neal Vinas informed U.S. officials that he had provided Al Qaeda with details of the New York transit system to aid a plot to blow up a Long Island Rail Road commuter train in New York's Penn Station.
The Najibullah Zazi plotters planned to detonate three bombs on a busy subway train during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, also around the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Other programs established by the NYPD to facilitate information exchange and public safety planning include its NYPD SHIELD organization for private-sector security managers. On Friday, John Brennan, the Assistant to the President of the United States for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and Deputy National Security Advisor, will address SHIELD members at One Police Plaza.
Attendees on Thursday included representatives from the Amtrak Police Department; Baltimore Police Department; Delaware State Police; Maryland State Police; Maryland Transit Authority Police; Maryland Transit Administration; Metropolitan Police, District of Columbia; New Jersey State Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness; New Jersey State Police; New Jersey Transit; Pennsylvania State Police; Philadelphia Police Department; Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Police.
The NYPD leads periodic multi-agency security exercises – Operation RAILSAFE (Regional Alliance Including Local, State and Federal Efforts) and MASS (Multi-Agency Super Surge) – coinciding with high-volume commuting periods and holidays, during which NYPD and other officers conduct bag checks and reinforce security with high visibility patrols in major transit hubs.
The Northeast Corridor Coalition was established in August 2005.