Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani
August 2, 1997

Our Strength Resolve Against Terrorism
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

On July 31, the day after the tragic bombing in Israel, officers from the New York City Police Department and members of the Long Island Rail Road police uncovered evidence of pipe bombs in a Brooklyn apartment. Investigators later determined that a potential plot existed to detonate those bombs in a subway station and on a commuter bus. Officers from the Emergency Service unit were forced to shoot the suspects who were seconds away from detonating the bombs.

The arrests were the result of outstanding cooperation between the NYPD and federal law enforcement officials. New York City's Joint Terrorism Task Force -- a collaboration among the FBI, the NYPD, and other agencies -- is recognized worldwide for its professionalism and expertise. Even though it is impossible to guarantee absolute safety, the exceptional work of the terrorism task force goes a long way toward enhancing our security.

The most important thing about the tragedy we averted in Brooklyn is the fact that it did not happen. Yet we cannot ignore that we came dangerously close to disaster. It is now our duty as thoughtful, intelligent human beings to explore what can be done to prevent tragedy and protect people in the future.

Common sense dictates that the United States government should not allow entry into this country to an individual who admits to being accused of involvement in a notorious terrorist organization. But in the case of Gazi Abu Mezer -- one of the suspects in this alleged subway bombing plot -- that was precisely what happened. This man was allowed to come into our country despite stating on his asylum application that he had been accused by the state of Israel of being a member of the militant group Hamas.

Many of the darkest moments in our nation's history have come as a result of heinous acts of terrorism. On July 31, we were seconds away from a near catastrophe. Rather than look the other way, I believe it is the duty of responsible public officials to do everything in our power to detain dangerous individuals and prevent them from entering the country.

That is why last Monday, Senator Al D'Amato and I called upon I.N.S. Commissioner Doris Meissner to clarify the reasons for allowing a man with alleged ties to a notorious terrorist organization into the United States, and ultimately, New York City. If necessary, we should revisit the laws substantiating this logic so that we can reduce the chances that any tragedies will occur in the future.

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